It doesn’t take much for me to run to the scene of something exciting. Who knows? It might be my byline to fame and fortune! Then throw into the mix a star or two and I am there. I don’t have to like the actor or actress, know what they have starred in or even know what they look like, just the idea that I could get a glimpse, maybe a photograph, or better yet, an autograph, gets my adrenaline flowing.
So when the text came through on my iPhone Tuesday reading “Meryl Streep, Tommy lee jones and Steve carell are filming on the Guilford green right now!” my immediate response was “Wanna take a ride over.” With exactly an hour to go on our lunch break my partner in crime, Jill, and I buzzed over from Madison to Guilford to be a part of the excitement.
I was shocked to get there, find a parking space and meander over to the Guilford Food Center without fighting any crowds. Where was everybody when there was so much excitement happening right in the center of Guilford?
I read this in the Stonington-Mystic Patch, “The movie, which stars Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell is supposed to begin filming this week in the borough. Great Hope Springs, according to a press release from Mandate Pictures, follows Streep who plays a woman named Maeve seeking to spice her marriage up. Maeve and her husband (Jones) go to the town of Great Hope Springs to meet relationship guru (Carell) for ‘an intense week of marriage and sex therapy.’”
Of course, I was in my glory. Lights, camera, action! I had to try to get up close and personal so I walked on over and stood near the Food Center. Although probably very small compared to some local shots, this production crew was taking up a very large portion of the major retail area along Whitfield Street. There were lots of lights, a very large production crew, wires galore, props, and even a real Guilford Police Officer in on the action.
I swear I got a glimpse of Meryl Streep and wait, was that Tommy Lee Jones? It was hard to tell through the throng of grips, sounds engineers, personal assistants, hair and makeup people and gawkers.
My biggest problem was that I am not really sure what Tommy Lee even looks like. Wasn't he once married to Angelina Jolie? Oops, wrong three-name guy, that was Billy Bob Thornton. Different guy, different look. I really need to schedule more movie time so I know who it is I am looking for!
The hour flew by and back to work we went, but I knew that wasn’t the last I was going to see of that movie set. I had it all figured out. A meeting at 3:30 p.m. and then an evening engagement at 5:30 gave me plenty of time in between to continue my Streep Stalking.
I was back on the set by 4:30 p.m. More people had gathered, but lots of nothing seemed to be going on. Heavy equipment was being dragged from there to here, a huge spotlight beamed in front of Breakwater Books and policemen politely shooed eager onlookers away from the very important movie work.
As soon as I would assume a position that I thought would be perfect for viewing I would be asked to move along. Not a good spot to stand, one of the crew members would say. I thought I had the perfect spot when I got a glimpse of Streep’s blonde tresses inside the bookstore. She must be readying herself to make a grand entrance, right?
As the minutes ticked on, I must have tried about half a dozen spots before I took the original advice to cross the street and stand on the Guilford Green. “That will be the best vantage point,” those in the know said. I think they just wanted us all as far away from shooting as possible.
Then a huge SUV with tinted windows and New York license plates pulled up in front of the bookstore. I knew from overhearing a conversation earlier in the day that those were the vehicles transporting the cast to and from the trailers parked in St. George’s Church parking lot.
Either someone important was being dropped off or picked up. I honed in on a conversation and heard that Streep had in fact been whisked away, without any of us bystanders noticing.
It was 5:20. I hung out, for good measure, about 10 minutes more and then called it a day. I have no picture to hang on my wall alongside my pictures of Art Buchwald, John Glenn, Mark Harmon, Eric Holder, Peter Jennings, Christopher Reeves or Carly Simon but I still have the lingering euphoria of being part of the action.
Later that night, driving home around 9:30 p.m. from another appointment with my girls, I regaled them with all the details of the day. We took a swing through the center of Guilford hoping to catch one last glimpse of all the excitement. If I didn’t have the pictures to prove it I wouldn’t have blamed the girls for thinking I was telling a tall tale.
All was quiet on the Guilford Green. There was not a single trace of the day’s happenings. The trailers, the equipment, the crew and the actors all gone – probably onto shooting another scene, in another town, on another day.