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Hollywood East: Day Three

"Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes
I'm afraid it's time for goodbye again
Say goodbye to Hollywood
Say goodbye, my baby"
-- "Say Goodbye To Hollywood," lyrics by Billy Joel.

Walking to Thursday's "Lovely Bones" shoot -- the second of two days director Peter Jackson and company spent filming scenes in Royersford -- I passed a lawn on Main Street that had a plastic-bag-wrapped local paper with the page-one headline, "Shooting Stars." Below the headline was a photo of the young girl at the wheel of the red Mustang convertible. It occurred to me that someday, the young people gathered to watch the filming may have children and eventually grandchildren, and may well say to them, "You know, once, a long time ago, there was a big movie filmed right in your grandma's town!"

People like me stayed on the scene till production "wrapped" at 11 Wednesday night, and 1:45 a.m. the next night, for that kind of reason. How often, I heard many of them say to one another, does something like this happen here? I called my hubby and son to come to the set for half an hour so they could share in the experience.

This last day was the best for me because, thanks to my quick trip to the mall to get a good pair of binoculars, I was able to really see Peter Jackson on the set -- directing Mark Wahlberg, watching everything, talking with actors and crew. He was well bundled up in a puffy jacket and pale knit cap, which was good because Thursday night was bitterly cold. I could also see Wahlberg jumping up and down between takes to try to keep warm.

His big scene that night, as the young murder victim's father, was to hand out flyers about his missing daughter, and then run in the street and get hit, or nearly hit, by an oncoming car. Each time he did a take, at the edge of the car he would crumple and vanish out of sight -- presumably onto a mattress or other soft surface.

Another scene that night featured a white Jeep Wagoneer driving up the street toward us at 4th and Main, then stopping on its mark. Each time, we heard two quick "beeps" from the car -- possibly the driver's greeting to us watching. Then the car backed up down Main Street to do the scene again. I felt sorry for the poor stunt driver who had to keep re-enacting this, until a Royersford cop told me it was actually actor Stanley Tucci, who plays the murderer, Mr. Harvey. I raised my binoculars and saw that the cop was right when he said you'd never have recognized him; he was heavily made up (looked like he had pale hair and a mustache -- nothing like his headshot on the Internet Movie Database!).

I'm told Rachel Weisz, who plays the victim's mother, was also at the shoot at least one of the days, but I never saw her, and never saw a scene she was supposed to have been in. (But while I was buying binoculars -- which I absolutely recommend you have for future movie shoots because they make all the difference! -- I understand they shot a scene involving a bus stopping at the depot, with extras getting on and off. Maybe she was in that scene.)

The truck that sprayed water that night to make the road look wet for the film had a little fun with the gathered audience -- driving quickly to make it look like the truck would run right into us, even though we knew it wouldn't.

Shortly after midnight, to the great delight of the very large crowd that had gathered at 4th and Main, Mark Wahlberg again walked up to talk to the audience and sign autographs. He signed pieces of paper, at least one copy of "The Lovely Bones" book, and even somebody's shirt! There was a flurry of flashbulbs popping; I wanted to take a picture, too, but didn't. (But I'm glad Lori got one!) After he went back down to the set, most of the bone-chilled (pun intended) crowd dissipated. Which meant they missed the wonderful moment that came just a few minutes later: Someone rolled a cart of a tall stack of hot Giovanni's pizzas down toward us, which I assumed was just going to keep rolling till it got to the actors. But no -- an announcement was made that the pizza was for us "from the movie"! This was great stuff -- watching Peter Jackson and Stanley Tucci while noshing on free movie pizza! I ate three slices -- that was my dinner that night.

At about 1 a.m., after the cold had deepened and I was pretty much numb, my jaw dropped to hear filming might (and did) go another 45 minutes! This is probably why Peter Jackson has three Oscars and I don't.

At last, we heard encouraging news and asked, "Is that a wrap?" The PA said, "It's a wrap" and I said, "Hallelujah!" Shortly after that, I was home in my own bed -- shivering with chills despite my blankets, but it was all worth it!

Miscellaneous Fun Stuff:

At the gas-station set, the "Britelube Motor Oil" cans were not only empty, but some also had slits in the lid -- they were actually donation cans!

The white Jeep Wagoneer not only had a 1974 sticker on its license plate, but the plate also said "Bicentennial State '76!" (The scene I described above has the car shot from behind, so the audience might be able to see the plate.) A blooper?


Friday afternoon, hubby and I strolled one more time down the Main Street of "Fairfax," which was sadly returning to its normal Royersford state. "Chin's Kitchen" Chinese restaurant still had its sign, but elsewhere in the window was another sign saying "Spa -- Pedicure." (I'd like a backrub with that crab rangoon...) The lunch tent behind Lebow's was gone, and all the ca. 1970 cars were being loaded up onto a large truck. The "Holder's Hobbies & Toys" sign was on the ground, leaning upside-down against the building that was once again a State Farm office.

Farewell, Fairfax.

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 2nd, 2007 09:15 am (UTC)
More "Lovely Bones" Tidbits
I heard yesterday about a True Fan of Mark Wahlberg's: My friend who got him to sign her copy of the "Lovely Bones" book says the woman in front of her had Mark sign her ARM!

For anyone wondering, the next production stop after Royersford was Coatesville.

My son had the perfect movie-related comment the other day. We were driving on a side street past some girls, and one was wearing one of those skeleton-design sweatshirts or jackets. My son pointed to her: "Hey, look!" he said. "The Lovely Bones!" :-)

The "Christmas Is Over" Department: I am sorry to report that my drive down Main Street last night showed that the movie's festive Yuletide lights and other decorations are gone. Too bad DreamWorks couldn't have left those for the borough!

Dec. 2nd, 2007 05:22 pm (UTC)
Great summary of the experience! This was quite an exciting time for the residents of Royersford (or Limerick, like me!).

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )