behind the scenes

Life As Amy Poehler’s Parks and Rec Stand-in Sounds Super Chill

Parks and Recreation - Season 6
How do we get this job? Photo: Chris Haston/NBC

Industrious as she is, Amy Poehler can’t be everywhere. At times, that can be an issue — for example, on the set of Parks and Rec, where she was often needed to help block out shots. So for four years she had a stand-in, Hadley Meares, who recently wrote about the experience for Atlas Obscura. Meares describes her career as “a moving piece of furniture” and emphasizes the patience required: “if you don’t like being stared at or prodded, standing in is not the job for you.” She also shares a specific story about knowing when not to wander across Andy and April’s front lawn when they’re filming, no matter how bad you have to pee:

I got up and started walking on the lawn, positive that I was safely out of camera view, when I noticed that Chris Pratt was staring at me, looking very confused. “Why on earth is he looking at me?” I thought, “shouldn’t he be focusing on acting?” But slowly Amy turned to stare at me, then Rob Lowe, then Jim O’Heir. What was going on?

Then I heard the second assistant director hiss, “Hadley, Hadley get out of the shot.” I looked over, and everyone was motioning for me to move. I panicked and ran to hide under a bush on the side of the house, utterly mortified. The director yelled cut, and everyone started laughing. Not only had I walked right through the shot, I was completely visible on-camera as I crouched under the bush!

Aside from having the Parks and Rec cast and crew collectively laugh at her expense, the perks of her job included: knowing she’ll age gracefully (thanks to six hours of makeup testing for future Leslie on the series finale), getting to occasionally stand in for Chris Pratt and Christie Brinkley, hanging out with Bill Murray’s dead body (sort of), and having her torso once double for Lucy Lawless’s on the show. What a life!

Meet Amy Poehler’s Parks and Rec Stand-in