The I Street mall by the Foggy Bottom Metro stop was host to a film set Monday, as the new sci-fi thriller “The Visiting” began filming in D.C. A remake of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” “The Visiting” stars Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, and had been shooting in Baltimore until Monday, which marked the first day of shooting in Washington.
“A lot of scenes are being faked in Baltimore as a stand-in for D.C., but it takes place primarily in D.C.,” said John Latenser, the film’s location manager. “There’s a few shots that take place in Baltimore as well.”
The screenwriter, Dave Kajganich, has lived in the D.C. area for much of his life and wrote the script so the city would be prominently featured. Washington will be home to the film production until Nov.16, and it will be filmed all over the city, including in Dupont Circle.
Monday morning’s weather was fairly cold, with a chilling wind that brought temperatures down to the low 50s. Nevertheless, at 5:30 a.m. the entire crew of the film was busy setting up around the park area next to the hospital, unloading cameras and equipment in preparation for the shoot.
Fog machines were placed along the walk, giving the illusion that the setting is cold and located above a subway station – yet those familiar to the area know that fog like that is never seen near the Foggy Bottom Metro. Masses of crew members huddled around in crowds with their coffee, wearing a variety of promotional items from other movies they had worked on. The production assistants, located around the perimeter of the shoot, almost looked like GW students; however, they were all college graduates trying to make it in the industry. Seeing the shoot dispelled the rumors about the glamorous movie industry – instead, Monday’s shoot showed people just doing their job and trying to make a movie.
The footage accounts for possibly a single minute of the film, yet it took hours to shoot. The scene shot Monday involved Kidman and Craig walking and talking, eventually going into the hospital through the main doors. The walk was divided into three different shots, each setup requiring repositioning the crew and the crowds that assembled to watch the filming. The two stars’ stand-ins would rehearse the scene so the crew knew exactly what was going to happen, and set up the equipment accordingly.
Kidman’s stand-in looked just like her in height and facial features. It was clear she was wearing a blonde wig so she would match Kidman’s hair in the film, but it was eerie to see a Nicole Kidman look-alike running around the set. Only after the scene was rehearsed did the real stars take to their positions and run through a few takes.
The film is being directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, whose last directorial outing was the Oscar-nominated German film “Downfall,” about Hitler’s last days. Daniel Craig is the British actor best known for his role in “Layer Cake” and recently was cast as the next James Bond. He will next be seen in Steven Spielberg’s new film, “Munich,” which is being released this Christmas.