National Treasure - Press Archive - Nicefeet's location visit

 
Source: Still Sharpe
[with permission]
 
15 Oct 2003
 
Just got back from Philadelphia (which wins awards for "Most Expensive City
I've Been To" as well as "Least Available Parking") early Monday morning.

I left for Phila. Thursday evening, drove all night, got lost on Friday
morning (paying $10.80 toll for getting off at the wrong exit), and finally
found the city around midday. After visiting New Jersey briefly, by mistake,
and paying a $2 bridge toll to rectify it, I was ready to start the search for a
parking spot. It only took about half an hour to find one in the Tourist area.
Then, all I had to do was find out where they were filming. I walked all over
the Tourist area - not a sign. I came upon them entirely by accident as I was
driving around, scouting for another place to park (two hour time limit!!!).

Aha, so they had been in Society Hill all that time.

I talked to a security person down the block from the actual filming. She told
me they had been shooting a rooftop chase scene all day long - ten takes of
this little bit, ten takes of the next little bit, and so on. She showed me what
the caterers were feeding people...today was a whole lobster...and told me
they were fed like that all the time. She also told me that the film was
costing $120 million, and that Nicolas Cage was getting $25 million of that.
The good citizens of Society Hill were each getting $200 inconvenience money
for losing their parking spots, and one or two other parking-related perks.

While we were chatting, a van came by. The police have streets blocked off
with their SUVs (maybe this is where all the parking meter fees go?) so they
can move them when the Van of the Stars arrives. My security friend said,
"That's Nicolas Cage in that van, did you see him?" I had glimpsed someone
in the front seat, and someone else who might have been Diane Kruger in the
seat behind, but really there was too much glare in the windows to tell.

I asked if Sean Bean had showed up. The security lady did not know Sean Bean.
I tried to describe him to her, but I wasn't very successful as I didn't know how
he would have his hair done this time. She was doubtful. I left to go repark my
car.

When I returned, the security lady was gone, and the security gentleman
who took her place was generally less helpful. They finally finished the scene,
and as they were packing up, mentioned that they would be at City Hall the
next day. I took off to find a hotel as I suddenly became very tired. It was
$64 a night (this is a "cheap" hotel), but at least I wouldn't have to pay
another bridge toll!

The next morning, bright and early, I got up and watched cartoons. All morning.
Because both Yu-Gi-Oh episodes were new. Then I left for City Hall. I got lost
only once on the way, and didn't have to pay any tolls. I took about forty-five
minutes looking for a parking spot, then decided that a parking garage might
really be worth it after all. Some garages were charging as much as $21 to park
all day (!!!); I found one about two blocks from City Hall for maximum $12. I
walked to City Hall, full of hope that I would today make up for the lack of Troy
pics. Huzzah!

City Hall is a beautiful old building with Market Street encircling it like a kind of
3 lane asphalt moat. It is currently undergoing a facelift, with the front center
and one wing done, while the rear is covered in scaffolding. When I got there,
nothing much was going on.

I met a couple of fellows who had been there earlier; they told me the film
crew had spent the morning filming a scene in which a stunt guy rescues a stunt
girl from being run over by a beverage truck as she attempts to rescue a
mysterious cylindrical canister from being run over by a beverage truck.
They did this over and over, then they broke for lunch. As we were talking,
the film people started returning. My new friends gave a cheery yell to a
blonde lady that walked past us, explaining to me that she was the stunt
girl. About a minute later, another blonde lady walked by, and the fellows
realized that this was the stunt girl, and the first one was the actress.
They asked me if I knew her name, I told them, "Diane Kruger", and they
went across the street to apologize for mistaking her. She gave them an
autograph.

Finally, shooting resumed. The rescuing scene involves Diane Kruger trying
to pick the mysterious canister up out of the street in moving traffic, while
Supporting Good Guy Justin Bartha grabs her from behind, falling back onto
the sidewalk before they can be hit by the beverage truck. They were still
doing this bit, moving traffic included. Still doing it. Still doing it. Still.

I had two cameras with me, my trusty ol' Canon AE-1, and a cheap throwaway
camera from Wal-Mart. I took out my Canon and started taking pictures. After
a couple of shots, the shutter came down and wouldn't go back. I rewound that
roll, and commenced to load a new one. Only now, the winder wouldn't wind.

Realizing that the battery was four years old, I thought the best thing to do
was to buy a new one. I left the beverage truck rescue scene (they were still
doing it), and headed for the nearest recognizable store. Three stores later,
I had my new battery, and went back to the action.

The scene had moved on a bit; now the Good Guys were picking themselves
up off the sidewalk and running away to my left, while the two Evil Henchmen
came running out of the City Hall building. I put the new battery in the
camera, and disovered that that wasn't the problem; my trusty ol' Canon
was well and truly jammed. I took out the Wal-Mart throwaway, and grumbled
over its inadequacy. It occurred to me after taking several shots, that one roll
of film might not be enough. I headed back to the stores. I couldn't find a
throwaway camera with anything like a zoom lens, so I was forced to buy
another like the one I had. I returned again to City Hall.

And there was Sean Bean!!!!!

He was way across the street, across the traffic island, on the opposite
corner from where I stood, walking around and drinking down an Aquafina.
I'll describe him here, as I don't think my cheap, unadjustable camera was up
to the task. He had medium-length hair, very blonde (like Sharpe, I'd say),
clean-shaven, wearing a dark blue suit with a lighter blue shirt. He was
walking around in circles a bit, looking fairly bored with the proceedings.

They were still doing the same scene, only now the cameras were filming from
the traffic island.

A young lady standing behind me started chatting about the goings-on.
She seemed to be the only other person here who knew of Sean Bean's
existence, so we got to talking. She was surprised that anyone would come
all the way from Kentucky just to stargaze, but I explained that since I was
laid off, I had plenty of time for it, and it was more fun than staring at my
interior decorations. And how often is a big International Movie Star only
700 miles away?

While we were talking, Sean had moved out to the traffic island, and was
now taking some part in the scene. Unfortunately, there was a big white
screen which prevented us from seeing what he was doing, but he would
return behind the cameras with the mysterious canister, look at it, and say
something.

My latest new friend left to repark her car, so I crossed Market Street in hopes
of a better view. Not two minutes later, the Production Assistant people are
herding all us stargazers back from the corners of Market Street; they are going
to shoot the scene now from the perspective of City Hall, and we must not be
seen!!

Now, I had my best view of the overall scene. Diane Kruger is out in the
traffic, trying to retrieve the mysterious cylindrical canister; Justin Bartha
pulls her out of the traffic just before she is hit by a beverage truck; after
the truck rolls by, Sean Bean, who is standing on the traffic island, rushes out
and grabs the canister; meanwhile, his two Henchmen run toward the street
from City Hall, as the Good Guys run away; Sean looks into the canister
and sees a rolled-up Document; Sean says something to the Henchmen
(probably something like "We've got what we came for, let's go!"), then
turns; they walk off toward Market Street like ordinary businessmen.

They did about six or seven takes of this angle, then Sean's part was done!
He made a beeline for the Van of the Stars, and was gone. I lost interest
at that point, and only hung around long enough to ascertain from the
Production Assistant Guy that he didn't know where they were filming on
Sunday. I returned to my expensive cheap hotel, and tried to unjam my good
camera.

Sunday I checked out, and returned to the city, not getting lost even once.
I drove around for a good while, trying to find the film crew as well as a
parking spot that was free. I found the film, but had to give up on the parking.
I couldn't understand how a downtown could be so busy on Sunday - Louisville
is nothing like this! I parked in a garage, and walked to the site, a place
called Reading Terminal Market. The market was closed, as they were
filming inside. I saw through the doorway the Extra people standing around;
then they all started moving, milling around and picking up fruit. Then they
all headed for the door I was looking through - it was lunchtime. There must
have been a couple of busloads of Extras. I also saw Diane Kruger and the two
Henchmen in the crowd. They all moved off up the street toward their catered
lunch.

I asked a Production Assistant guy if Sean Bean was there. "Not today." he
said, and at that point my financial situation suddenly became much more
important to me than the film. I headed for home.
 
- "Nicefeet"
 
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