Jamestown resident extra in commercial starring Vikings quarterback
A Jamestown resident is in the background of the Pizza Ranch television commercials featuring Kirk Cousins now airing around the region.
Bryan Stromberg, owner of the Jamestown Pizza Ranch, is a Minnesota native and a self-described "huge Vikings fan." When he found out Kirk Cousins was hired as a spokesperson for the company in the fall of 2018, he decided he wanted to be involved.
"I've been in Pizza Ranch for 20 years," he said. "When I heard about this, I called the marketing director and asked for a favor."
Stromberg said Pizza Ranch's corporate offices told him the casting, including extras for the background of the commercials, was being handled by a professional casting company. Then the marketing people at Pizza Ranch sent pictures of Stromberg from his Facebook page to the casting company for consideration.
"It was pretty incredible," Stromberg said. "I got a call from the casting company saying I was approved."
Once approved as an extra, Stromberg traveled to the Pizza Ranch at Crystal, Minnesota, last spring for a day of shooting.
"We shot in early April," Stromberg said. "I had to be super quiet about it. I couldn't even tell my family which was tough. They are huge Viking fans too."
What followed was a long day of hard work.
"We shot three 30-second commercials during about 10 and a half hours of shooting," Stromberg said. "... It made me think it seems glamorous to be an actor, but it's not for me, not a career I'd want."
One particular commercial took about 50 takes before they got it perfect.
"I was so sick of hearing the same lines over and over again," he said. "Everybody was pretty grumpy by the end but Kirk Cousins."
Stromberg said he is visible as the person behind Cousins in the buffet line in one commercial and is standing at the beverage dispenser with his back to the camera in another.
"I'm still waiting for calls from Hollywood after my big break," he joked.
The experience did give Stromberg a chance to meet and spend time with the Vikings quarterback. Because he was about the same height as Cousins, Stromberg served as his stand-in while lights and cameras were adjusted between shots.
"We had lunch together," Stromberg said. "He didn't really want to talk football. He's a real class act."
Stromberg said he got a chance to see behind the scenes at the production of a TV commercial and meet one of the players he enjoys watching as well as make some connections.
"I visited with his agent and publicity person," he said. "They're going to do their best to have Cousins come to Jamestown when he does store visits after the season."