Sunday, May 04, 2008

Grand Central Movie Shoot - "Duplicity"

Every now & then I like to put up a post that affirms that yes, despite my fixation on boating & gardening & animals & outdoorsy stuffs, I do indeed live in New York City. Today's is definitely one of those - I think I'm going to start tagging these "New Yorky".

Anyways, here's the story. 3 miles is actually not all that long a paddle, so I found myself home again earlier than I'd somehow expected, and with more energy too. Had originally been planning to run up to CT to see TQ tonight (Sunday night)(the work week is going to be miserable so I can't have him come down), but last night worked better than I expected.

So that's how I found myself in Grand Central this morning.

It was easy to see something unusual was going on - this little group was the first thing saw as I was coming off the platform:

Walked past them & out into the terminal to find it full of bright light, people in spectator mode, with these giant luminescent cubes floating in the air above their heads. "Ah", I thought. "Art. A Happening, perhaps. I should take A Picture for The Blog". So I did.

The flash went off. I don't usually use it but I had used it to take a picture of something fun inside the Empire Kayaks shop, and the Optio always leaves the flash in whatever mode you last used. So - FLASH - and a minute later some zit-faced squit of a kid is yelling at me - "NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY!"

I yelled right back - "WELL HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO KNOW THAT???" - but ZFS is off on another mission - but now I know exactly what's going on - it's another movie shoot and zit-faced squit was probably some fresh-outta-film-school kid working as a production assistant on his Very First Shoot. I've heard they get a little full of themselves on their first few gigs.

Yep, sure enough:

The giant luminous cube aren't art, they're lights, and Duplicity is a movie.

Now, I run into movie shoots all the time & ordinarily I couldn't give a brant's you-know-what about 'em:

But that's because I'm usually on my way home, or to work, or running errands, generally en route from Point A to Point B. Today, I was en route to an Irish music festival on the Hudson River, but there was no great rush - what the heck, why not stop & watch for a while? Not just every day they turn Grand Central into a film set. I've already heard someone ask where "Julia" is - even I know who that is.

Clearly a pretty major flick. Yeah, I'll accept that sign, allow myself to be herded about as they need to clear areas, and YES despite giving ZFS a little lip, I had turned the flash off (just thought he could have been a little more polite - I did notice that every other person on the set knew how to say "please", which made the being herded much less annoying).

Can't have a scene in Grand Central Station without commuters - so here are a bunch of extras. Actormuters. The gent in the green shirt is giving this group of actormuters their instructions for the take. They are "Background".

When the guy in charge yells "Background", they all start acting like busy commuters hustling to catch their train. Here they are rehearsing:

Rehearsal done, very good, now wait some more.

And here are the real commuters watching the extras acting like commuters.

The shot that the extras have been rehearsing for centers on this staircase.

Beside the staircase - sooooo much stuff.

BTW, does that production assistant look maybe a little tense?

Well, aside from trying to get masses of some of the most notoriously uncooperative people in the US to cooperate - well, I think my work schedule sucks sometimes but it's 11 am on a Sunday and these folks? They've already worked a 9-hour day here. Yuck. I got to talking to one of the extras who'd noticed I'd been hanging around taking a lot of pictures & she said the extras had gotten there at 4 - but the crew had had to get there at 2 a.m.!

Oh, boy, look at the intensity here in the bystanders' gallery...

there's a movie star around here somewhere, the actions about to start, but first a quick break to appreciate the aesthetics of Grand Central...

OK, back to the set...and they're rolling, and there goes "Background" --

And there's a movie star!

It's Clive Owen!

He strides determinedly up the stairs! And that's the whole take!

He comes back down the stairs on the other side - He heads over to the bank of monitors & director's chairs I'm standing near -

he joins a group of people -- probably directors, or Directors of Photography -- there

And then he sat down --

And then he watched himself go up the stairs.

Rinse, lather & repeat. I watched about 3 times. I think I proved today that I do not have the makings of a papparazo. Yes, I confess - 3 takes were enough, I totally failed to wait for Julia Roberts to make her appearance --

There were some other wonderful performers I didn't want to miss!

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