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Thursday, September 28, 2006


Live Free or Die Hard - Bruce Willis in Baltimore

Filming Bruce Willis in Baltimore Sep 28 2006Bruce Willis and company are in Baltimore this week to film scenes for his new movie, Live Free or Die Hard. If this title is too hard to remember, just think of it as Die Hard 4.

While some commuters griped, us gawkers and kibbitzers happily hung around the scene-shooting a few blocks from where I work.

Once again, Mr. Willis plays former police officer John McClane in a save-the-world scenario (I happen to very much like this series, by the way.) This one involves a plot to destroy America via the Internet, with actress Maggie Q as the Evil Hacker and Justin Long as the Good-Guy Hacker who helps McClane foil the cyber-terrorists.
Len Wiseman Directs Bruce Willis - Baltimore Sep 28, 2006I didn't know about all this action going on in downtown Baltimore until this morning, so I missed yesterday's filming, which included a dump truck slamming into a bus (damn!) The story in the Baltimore Sun identified today's shooting location as just around the corner from my favorite Chinese food take-out place, so about 3PM, I got myself and my Canon A620 over there, in front of the Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr. Courthouse on Calvert Street. The twenty-second scene they were shooting takes place inside a car, which in reality was on a small flatbed trailer surrounded by scaffolding holding lights, baffles, reflectors, cameras, and other film-stuff.

Calvert Street at this location divides on either side of a park-like traffic island, the site of the Battle Monument. At one point, I crossed over to the island and shot a few closer-up frames. I could just make out a bald-headed guy behind the wheel of the Ford, whom I assumed was Mr. Willis (it was, I later saw.) After I got home, downloaded and processed the images from the camera, I realized that the second photo here shows director Len Wiseman working with the cameraman.

Len Wiseman Directs Bruce Willis - Baltimore Sep 28, 2006The third photo is a blowup of the upper right corner of the second - take my word for it, tht's Mr. Willis in the monitor - the smaller figure in the background with his hand on the steering wheel. Mr. Wiseman looks seriously director-ish here, doesn't he?

Maggie Q, Len Wiseman, Bruce Willis, Justin LongThe last photo was indeed my last shot as I crossed Calvert Street to head back to he office. The scene now over, Mr. Willis relaxes momentarily with (left to right) Maggie Q, Len Wiseman, and Justin Long.

I was very impressed as to just how much work and how many people were involved in this one scene. One of my fellow gawkers told me that she had been there for more than an hour, and the actors had been in the car all that time, while dozens of others lit, adjusted, catered, shlepped or otherwise contributed to making the scene possible.

Mr. Willis is, I think, a fine, hard-working, and underappreciated actor. I've been a fan of his ever since Moonlighting over twenty years ago. We recently watched two of his more recent films, 16 Blocks and Lucky Number Slevin, and I very much recommend them both.

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