Wednesday, January 31, 2007
How to Make a Scene
On the way back from dinner in downtown Los Angeles last Saturday night, we saw the road in front of the hotel was closed and my husband surmised all the cranes, lights and ramps were setting up for overnight road work. Oh no, I said, this is LA. Someone’s shooting something.
I was right. It was a crew for an upcoming remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and that night they were filming a pivotal crash scene. Another gawker and I befriended the set’s security officer, who gave us a bunch of his call sheets as souvenirs. Mine were scenes for an ABC show called The Nine (“The Nine? What the hell is that?” the cop gruffly huffed as he handed over the pages.) I also got sheets for an upcoming Will Ferrell movie called Blades of Glory. I let the other woman have the ones for this particular film because she’d already been standing around for 2 hours by the time I arrived.
We chatted with one of the stuntmen, who explained both the “hurry up and wait” approach to filmmaking and how that night’s scene was being blocked out. He also introduced us to Nicole Kidman’s body double, a woman named Debbie who it turned out was the now-call-sheet-less cop’s second cousin by marriage. (If nothing else, you see, I’m thorough in my reporting.) A local came up to us to say he’d just seen a crew filming a car chase on the next street over; however, he was here now because they were done. Someone then told us the actress was injured earlier and had to take it easy that evening. (My E!-watching daughter confirmed this in a later phone call.)
Sunday we slept in and then took our time heading to breakfast at a neon-enhanced IHOP. The area again was full of itinerants. Some panhandled; some politely opened doors and smiled at everyone. One guy in particular caught our attention as he sang show tunes at the top of his lungs to great effect with a hollowed out parking garage as his megaphone. You could hear him all the way around the corner.
We later headed to the Staples Center for the Lakers vs. Spurs game, and the homeless howler was still at it. I didn’t bring my camera for fear it would be confiscated at the door. Too bad. There was plenty to shoot (besides a few less hoops by the Lakers than San Antonio in overtime).
After grabbing our bags back at the hotel, we decided to take the subway to Union Square. It was such a cinch that we kicked ourselves for not doing it sooner. But we would have missed a lot of action traveling through those subterranean tunnels. So, maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing. I wished we could have stayed another night to watch them shoot another scene by helicopter. The hotel had issued a warning to guests that the choppers would be close to the building, perhaps unsettlingly so. In addition to catching another glimpse of a movie in the making, I was most curious how they’d handle the homeless guy belting out Broadway tunes well into the night.
[Note: Opening photo is from the inside of the Disney Concert Hall.]
Read Part 1 of our trip here.