Thursday, June 5, 2008

Can’t Escape the Bright Lights

Living in LA and working in the entertainment industry, I have seen my share of movie sets and celebrities. I’m not one of those jaded types from LA who are, like, so over celebrities – seeing them does get me excited, and I try not to make a fool out of myself. I try not to make a big deal of their presence and treat them like normal people, although it is hard to act that way when you are standing only a few feet from George Clooney, shooting hoops between takes of Ocean’s 13. (Sadly, Brad Pitt wasn’t there but I did glimpse Matt Damon at the cafeteria another day.)

While on vacation I was pleasantly surprised to learn that a prime-time soap called My Girl is filmed in my hotel’s lobby and mezzanine. This is a Philippine version of a popular Korean soap opera of the same title. (Korean and Spanish soaps, both dubbed in Tagalog, are a big hit in the Philippines. Seeing Mexican actress Thalia speak Tagalog is hysterical!) The main characters are named Jasmine and Julian, with the roles played by up-and-coming actors Kim Chiu and Gerald Anderson. I haven’t seen very much Filipino television except for game shows (Wowowee) and a soap called Lobo on The Filipino Channel, so I had no idea who these guys were. My relatives, on the other hand, knew all about them and were thrilled to learn that they were filming in our hotel. They’d visit on filming days and disappear for hours at a time to watch the actors perform their scenes. They even got to ride up the elevator with Gerald Anderson, and now my nieces have a crush on him.

On the first day of filming I was typing away on my laptop, feverishly answering e-mails and balancing my checkbook before my battery ran out. The hotel promised broadband access in every room but in reality WiFi was limited to the lobby area (grrrr). I’m usually in pajamas or in sweats when I surf the net, meaning I look like a total slob, so when the film crew arrived to set up the lighting equipment and shoot scenes I looked like I was part of the production team with my thick glasses and a grungy tank top. That’s probably why they didn’t make me move from my spot in the corner of the lobby, a place where I watched all the scenes being acted out without being in the camera’s range.

A few days later I watched the show and saw a 20-second scene that took them an hour to film, along with scenes filmed the following day. Even though I had nothing to do with the finished product it still felt nice to witness those moments and talk to my cousins and their kids about the experience.

1 comment:

Camels & Chocolate said...

I know what you mean: Years of red carpet events and thousands of celeb interviews later, I still get excited if I see someone in the street or if I get to interview a particular celeb whom I have yet to meet. I also had a Clooney sighting (but alas, have never met him). Before I left NYC when I was still working at Conde Nast, I went to lunch and there across the street, on a side alley in TIMES SQUARE, they were filming Burn After Reading (Clooney, Pitt, Tilda Swinton). I stood on my tiptoes to see inside the restaurant until I tipped over. I caught the back of a Clooney head, but not much else. The next day they were filming the Sex and the City movie in my building, and while I tried to find some reason to "need" to get off the elevator on the Vogue floor, it never happened!