On the Town with HughE Dillon

Behind-the-scenes scoops (spoiler alert!); Plus: Bradley Cooper acts sick, Chief Ramsey's a De Niro fan, and how Cooper and Renee Zellweger stay fit.

The Dark Fields has reached the midway point in production. As I reported yesterday there was a production party held at the Fox & Hound on Saturday night, and Bradley Cooper made an appearance (then later went with Renee Zellweger to Marc Vetri’s Osteria for dinner).

It seems that Abbie Cornish only spent a week here in Philly on her scenes as most of them were filmed in NYC. Anna Friel was here for two weeks. Her last scenes were filmed in a penthouse apartment at Chestnut and Front two weeks ago.

Across the street at 20 Leticia Street is a recently converted warehouse; it was here that the production filmed the skyline as if it was seen from Friel’s character’s apartment. The apartment is supposed to be on the west side of Manhattan, and our U.S. Custom House is similar to the “The Ghostbuster” building in Manhattan at 55 Central Park West (where that film’s character played by Sigourney Weaver lived). Thanks to Allison Frick from Long & Foster for allowing me to shoot from the penthouse’s deck to get the last two shots.

I knew from previous productions that filmed here, lunch is typically between 2 and 3 p.m., so when production moved to City Hall last Friday, that’s when I took my lunch break. I wanted to catch De Niro at his dressing trailer (on the west side of City Hall). His trailer is a serious, upgraded extra-large silver model, where Bradley Cooper’s is the regular standard trailer. I mentioned last week that when De Niro is in his trailer he sends his bodyguard out to the security fence to collect items that fans would like to have signed. Above you can see he signed this envelope “Hello! Robert De Niro.” These folks were thrilled with their new souvenir. Also stopping by the trailer to say hi to De Niro was Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. Ramsey was invited inside, chatted with De Niro for a few minutes, then posed for a photo with him. After about 30 minutes De Niro emerged from the trailer giving everyone a wave as he climbed into his SUV to return to the set at the Ritz-Carlton’s Grill Room.

Spoiler Alert! I managed to get a few movie scene details the other day. When the production team receives daily call sheets, they refer to the cast by number. Cooper is “1”; De Niro is “3.” First Scene: Actor 1 enters room at the Regency Hotel (NYC’s Regency Hotel 540 Park Ave). Second Scene: Actors 1, 2, 3-Eddie (Cooper) hears about murder during Van Loon (De Niro) meeting.

Third Scene: Actor 1-Eddie Vomits Curbside at the Regency Hotel. Behind Cooper in this scene is his stand-in Ryan. (A stand-in only has to be the same size and shape as the actor they are standing in for, and doesn’t have to look like them.) Ryan is not acting out the scene, but no doubt he’s having a gag reaction to the acting. Bradley “threw up” for several minutes.

Then he did close-ups of throwing up from various angles. The guy to the left of Cooper with the sunglasses is his bodyguard. Last year he was Owen Wilson’s bodyguard. Don’t you find it interesting that as the filming is being done, people are so close to the filming scene? That would throw me off.

Then the vomit had its own filming sequence. Some fans near me were getting sick watching this scene as they did it several times. I found it all so fascinating.

If it’s Monday, then a restaurant must be the filming location. Yesterday it was Del Frisco’s. GM Rich Furino tells me call time was 7 a.m. to begin filming a business meeting with Cooper, De Niro, Darren Goldstein, and Robert John Burke. He also stressed how nice the cast and crew were, and said De Niro and Cooper posed for a photo with him.

During a long day of shooting that included over 200 extras, a couple interesting events happened. At one point De Niro knocked over a glass and it broke, prompting Cooper to fashion his hand as a gun and shoot it in that direction. The whole cast just cracked up. They weren’t cracking up when Cooper needed to be calmed down after he thought one of the “extras” took a photograph. It turned out it was the “blocking” on-location photographer who had taken the shot of the scene. Outside by the craft table, Alex’s Lemonade set up a stand with Liz Scott and a family affected by cancer. They did brisk business. Later Scott and the family were invited inside Del Frisco’s for a picture with De Niro and Cooper. (June 15th is the Great Chefs Event at the Navy Yard benefiting Alex’s Lemonade.)

Speaking of extras, their holding room was a block away in the old Rite Aid store at 16th & Chestnut. And here are a few more tidbits. On Friday, the PA told me that Cooper had a few more scenes left … until Zellweger walked by (someone at the scene asked me if I saw her hop like a bunny while crossing the street; I missed that). Shortly after, Cooper spoke to the director, filming ended, and he went to his dressing room. I did hear that he posed with some fans as he exited his dressing room and headed over to McCormick & Schmick’s to join Zellweger. Last night was exercise night as both Cooper and Zellweger went to the Sporting Club at the Bellevue to work out. My spy tells me that Zellweger is a teeny-tiny cute and boyish-looking, but she carried a huge purse with her to every machine and then to the weight room where she did her back and shoulders. (Guess she didn’t have a locker.) Later the two walked along Walnut Street back to their condo by themselves and were spotted by several people I know.


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