On the Town With HughE Dillon

Sneak peek at the Bradley Cooper movie; the Fairmount Park Conservatory's bash; Bart Blatstein parties

Last week Dark Fields began filming all over Center City, and I’m trying my best to get out there and photograph the actors as well as the film sets. I picked up a lot of tidbits about the filming (as well as other interesting news/gossip/facts) from people in the know at other events and parties I attended. Wednesday filming occurred at the Hotel Palomar Philadelphia, a Kimpton Hotel at 17th & Sansom streets. My source confirmed that Bradley Cooper and Abbie Cornish were in the scenes. No word back from Abbie regarding the letter I wrote her in my column last week. After filming was done in the 23rd floor suite the hotel cleaning crew reported there were a lot of feathers that needed to be swept up in the bedroom. Director Neil Burger then headed outside to shoot the exterior of the hotel starting at the NYC cop car in the foreground.

Last week there were a few Robert DeNiro sightings, although reports said he wasn’t in town until May to shoot his scenes. Turns out that indeed Mr. Taxi Driver was here at least twice. He was driven down from Manhattan to rehearse and run lines with his co-stars. Don’t expect to see him for the next two weeks here in Philly as his baby the Tribeca Film Festival kicked off yesterday in New York City. The festival ends May 2nd, when he is expected to return to Philly to film his scenes for Dark Fields.

Below in the window is Bradley Cooper on the left and director Neil Burger on the right, at the Robert Morris Building at 18th & Arch streets last Thursday night. The scene was a formal party, and there were a half dozen extras on set,

including local Philadelphia actress, formerly of NBC Universal, Megan Stecher. She said that Bradley Cooper was nice, and said “hi” with a smile. Megan is in the window on the 2nd floor of the Robert Morris building, which usually stands empty waiting for a new tenant. At some point during the night Bradley Cooper arrived on the set surprising the onlookers by coming up on them as they stood facing the door. With no acknowledgment to the fans, most with cameras in hand, he slipped into the building. I was able to get a quick picture and notice that for the scene he had bloody knuckles.

I hear when Bradley left the building, around 11:30 p.m. that night, a Philadelphia-hired security guard threw a jacket over a woman who was filming for TMZ, and another guard blocked other paparazzi. I think it’s ridiculous. When they filmed in NYC two weeks ago, pictures were not blocked and the photos appeared everywhere (I spoke with my NYC snapper friends). But here in Philly, where the guards take their jobs too seriously, pictures are difficult to come by because of the blocking that goes on. As for Bradley, he has waved to the crowd, posed for photos with fans, and even signed for the autograzzi (professional autograph seekers). There was a great photo on Twitter last week, when Bradley filmed at the Cosmopolitan Apartments, of four girls and BC in an elevator. He smiled broadly and the girls were in awe. 

On Monday, Bradley/Dark Fields filmed at The Happy Rooster at 16th & Sansom streets. He was in his disheveled character role. When not counting pills at the bar while shooting the scene, he sat in a chair with his back to the window, occasionally peering out at the crowd that was gathered. Note the orange fire hydrant has been painted black on one side. Published reports say that Renee Zellweger stopped by for a visit with his dog mid-morning after her run to the local Starbucks. The following day Dark Fields moved the production to Front and Market where Renee paid another visit with BC’s dog. Today the production moves to 19th Street between Vine and Callowhill. Tweets are saying the shoot will be in the all-girls Catholic school Hallahan, but when I drove by early this morning I saw them setting up lights in the alley between the Family Court building and the school. The shoot will be there until Friday late, so if you are into stargazing you might get lucky there.

Speaking of the Palomar Hotel, Friday night rapper Snoop Dogg called the hotel his dog pound as he was performing at University of Pennsylvania on Friday night. A few of his posse and rapper Kid Cudi partied at the G Lounge after the concert. Snoop was supposed to show but never did, and I was left in the rain waiting for him.

On Saturday night, Bart Blatstein helped celebrate his brother-in-law Albert Simmons birthday with about 80 well-wishers at Le Castagne on Chestnut Street. Albert’s wife, Dr. Jennifer Simmons, planned the soiree for more than a year, and I can attest that Albert was completely shocked when he walked through the doors to face his friends, family and beloved dad who made the trip from Florida (against his doctor’s advice).

As one party ended, another party on the other end of town was heating up as Recess‘s co-owner Ryan Dorsey celebrated his birthday with friends and famous faces at his club in Old City. A few of the guests included the Phillies’ Ryan Howard, the Marlins’ 2nd basemen Dan Uggla and starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco, Wired 96.5’s G-N Kang, Jahri Evans of the Super Bowl-winning New Orleans Saints, Stephanie LaGrossa (whose fiance, Kyle Kendrick, stayed home to rest up for the next day’s game), and music producer and owner of Sigma Sound Studio Durell Bottoms (produced Pink, Boyz II Men, Jill Scott, etc).

Also in town last week, Apolo Anton Ohno Tweeted on Saturday night @morimoto tonight….come c me–grab some o’toro and uni with us! :-) I learned later he also had yellowtail tartare, edamame, sesame chicken, sugi-ita salmon, black cod miso, wagyu NY strip, goma-ae and baby bok choy. He told the waitstaff that he had enjoyed Morimoto’s restaurant in Japan and was thrilled to be dining at his establishment in Philadelphia.

Kathleen Turner dined at Alma de Cuba on Monday, April 19th. She arrived at 8:45 p.m. with two guests—her favorite bartenders from Parc (which she frequented during her time in Philadelphia) Deanna and Sheri. They enjoyed drinks at the bar for 30 min. before sitting for dinner. Having such a good time, the group closed the restaurant at 1 a.m. Kathleen Turner’s premiere run of Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins ends Sunday, the 25th at the Suzanne Roberts Theater.

The Fairmount Park Conservatory held its 2010 Centennial Celebration last night at the Horticultural Center to honor John Binswanger and Edith Dixon. Special guest was NBC’s Chris Matthews, here with executive director of the Fairmount Park Conservancy Katrina L. Wilhelm. This event also marks the Horticultural Center’s return to hosting events for the public, and it was announced that Starr Catering would be the exclusive caterer for the venue. Other guests in the crowd included Greta Greenberger, director of City Hall tours and her husband Alan Greenberger, executive director of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, Phillies general partner, president and CEO David Montgomery and his wife Lynne, city representative Melanie Johnson, Community College of Philadelphia president Stephen Curtis, and Mark Focht, executive director of Fairmount Park.