Moment #7 on this list of favorite New York times is when I unintentionally happened upon my first film shoot. I think the city is one of Hollywood’s favorite backdrops; however, in my opinion, there are way too many movies set on destroying it (ahem, Day After Tomorrow & Cloverfield, to name a measly two).
Since that inaugural moment I’ve watched MTV film out my apartment window (I Just Want My Pants Back), walked by fake destruction on the streets of Midtown (I Am Legend), saw July 4th banners hung in my neighborhood in April (The Bounty Hunter), snooped by a manufactured Atlantic City boardwalk 6 blocks from my house (Boardwalk Empire), left work early at the chance of meeting Joshua Jackson at a local bar (Fringe) and passed by live sets of various Law & Order productions at least half-a-dozen times. I watched Jerry Orbach sleuth his way down Indian Row. R.I.P.
But the first flick I witnessed filming live was set on the edge of Washington Square Park. I walked by at night (What are all those bright lights for?!?), slowed to stop and realized, with the unapologetic dingdingding(!) of a kid on Christmas morning… it’s a MOOOOOOVIE! I stood and watched the same scene film over and over and over again. The back of the director’s chairs said Synergy (They actually use director’s chairs in real life!) and the scene at hand consisted of a guy driving up to an apartment building in a schmancy sports car to pick up his smokin’ hot date.
Guy = Topher Grace
Smokin’ Hot Date = Scarlett Johansson
Okay. Okay. So I never actually saw Topher and Scarlett. I saw their stand-ins marking the scene for proper dimensions and lighting and what-not. (This is necessary, ya see, it’s part of the real, professional process.). But, if truth be told, I didn’t actually realize they were the leading stars until the movie trailer was released months and months later. And I even had a hard time recognizing that because at some point between filming and release they changed the title from Synergy to In Good Company.
But on that one random weeknight I got to watch plenty of bored movie assistants guard the set, ignore their walkie talkies, chain smoke and eyeball the catered late-night spread. I stood in the cold gawking at unimportant minions work on a movie I knew nothing about, starring people that sure didn’t look like anyone famous to me… and it was awesome.
Look closely at minute 1:47 below. Scarlett, looking well-put-together and warm in her red coat, is walking toward Topher’s car (off camera). THAT’s the scene I watched for over an hour. THAT’s the scene that had me star struck without stars. But once again my VIP seats to the New York City show were awfully comfy. I could sure get used to this.