Oscar winners film on campus

Early Saturday morning, the area outside the World Bank was home to production for the film “State of Play,” a political thriller being filmed in the District, with Academy Award winners Russell Crowe and Helen Mirren. More than 30 extras and a large crew flooded Pennsylvania Avenue between 18th and 19th streets for the shoot.

“It’s really exciting to be here. Just to be 500 feet away from Russell Crowe is an experience,” said Jamie Cheng, an actor from Alexandria,Va., who was working as an extra on the film.

Crowe sat in a light blue 1980’s Saab for much of the shoot as the scene involved him driving down Pennsylvania Avenue. As part of the scene, Crowe’s car stops running in the middle of the street. About 20 other vehicles, including a bus, were driven simultaneously, on cue, to allow Crowe’s car to blend into the scene.

The film’s director, Kevin MacDonald, sat under a tarp and watched the shoot through a playback screen.

The film revolves around a police detective and a team of investigative reporters who try to solve the murder of a congressman’s mistress.

“State of Play,” which also stars Ben Affleck, Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams, had filmed Friday on E Street between 18th and 19th streets and will continue to shoot in various parts of the District during the coming month. GW recently granted the crew permission to use the Hall on Virginia Avenue rooftop to film a scene at the Watergate, the shooting for which will likely take place over spring break.

Despite the morning’s rain and foggy weather, several District residents came out to catch a glimpse of the Hollywood actors in an area usually dominated by politicians and diplomats.

“Any time you can be a part of something like this is exciting,” said Julia Runte, a GW alumna who came out to see the celebrities who were on set. She and a friend heard about the shoot that morning and planned to watch as much of it as they could.

“I want to see the Oscar winners,” Runte said.

The many extras who were dressed in long trench coats and holding black umbrellas, arrived on set at 6 a.m. Despite the gloomy weather and long hours, most were thrilled to be part of the project.

“It’s better than doing some temp job,” said Matthew Gardenees, an extra dressed in an army uniform. Though his last job was as a background actor in the film “Step up 2,” Gardenees hopes the high profile “State of Play” could be a stepping-stone into the industry.

Sandra Ferony, an extra and a Screen Actors Guild member from Alexandria, Va., explained that there is a lot of downtime (while filming), but that it could get really exciting.

She said, “It’s also great to meet people. You sometimes see the same actors from set to set.”

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