It’s been said that Hollywood uses the Los Angeles area as its own personal backlot. During the roughly 6 years that I’ve spent out here, I admit I’ve run into my fair share of movie sets and crews with their trucks and trailers blocking traffic, car chase scenes (Spider-Man II and Crank near 7th Street) and the occasional “driving car interior” shot. The latter is general the least obtrusive and generally involves a motorcycle cop leading the way for a flat bed truck loaded with gear and lighting. Behind the truck is a trailer with a car on it and the actors inside. One night as I drifted off in my first apartment in North Hollywood, I was awakened by the desperate sound of squealing breaks and enormous collision. I flew to my window and lifted the sash only to hear the director yell “cut” after the crash. Yes, they shot this action scene about 3 more times that night before they wrapped.
I’ve also seen my fair share of celebrities around town as well. As a matter of fact, Jerry O’Connell (Carpoolers, Sliders and you remember The Cush, right?) passed me in the lobby of my office building yesterday afternoon. This is generally the normal experience of any Angelino making his way in the city. And as my first celebrity encounter in LA taught me (my wife still insists that I pointed at David Schwimmer’s face to acknowledge I saw him), everybody just tends to notice and then act as if it’s perfectly normal to have them among us. Unless, of course, you happen to run into one of your favorites. Then, I believe, it can be acceptable to cordially say hello, offer a sign of respect, request a picture or handshake, and then move on, respecting their privacy.
The closest I’ve come to entering a shot was when they filmed Studio 60 in my office building. Getting out of an elevator in the lobby, a stage hand kept me and the occupants of the elevator from exiting – as the entire cast floated by in the middle of a “walking conversation” shot. Pretty impressive.
With all this said, I was still very surprised when I came home this past Friday afternoon to find My Name Is Earl filming on a corner right by my house. They’ve filmed a few scenes in the area before (Yummy Donuts, Joy finding the cop’s badge, the bowling cop, the Hearts Café stick-up, Earl and Billy getting hit by cars), so it wasn’t abnormal – I’ve just never been around to see it. No, the neighborhood’s not actually that “hick-ish.” No, really. Let’s chalk that up to movie magic… But there they were! Jason Lee was set up in the back of the Camino shooting a moving shot while Ethan Suplee (Randy) waited for his turn to join the scene. Ethan gave me a big friendly wave as I walked by. I took these shots before a member of the crew politely asked a fellow neighbor to stop filming with her video camera. And then I walked home. Enjoy!
Jon Gus - TheTwoCents Senior Staff Writer
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