Whoever thought I would be sitting on my front porch in Ridley Township yesterday, sipping my morning coffee, gazing at Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence shooting scenes for the film, “The Silver Linings Playbook?” But that’s exactly where I found myself Monday, Oct. 24.
Excitement began 8 am, when “planted” cars were strategically placed along South Swarthmore Avenue. The streets were blocked and security tightened with orange cones and horses and plenty of police officers and security guards.
My block was buzzing with excitement. Many residents skipped work, school and routine appointments to be there. Hollywood may only come once in a lifetime to this block and they- or I- weren’t going to miss it!
Once filming began around 9 am or so, the same scene was shot over and over. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence would jog down the street, engage in a shouting and shoving match, exchange some foul-language-laced heated words, and then spit at each other. Hmmmm….interesting at first, but could definitely get a little old by the tenth take. That is, if Bradley Cooper wasn’t in the scene, a mere ten feet from my front porch. Yes, ladies, I am not lying. Bradley is just as gorgeous in person as he is on the big screen.
As the scenes progressed throughout the day, my daughter and I went from neighbor’s home to neighbor’s home, depending on what scene was shooting, not wanting to miss a second of the action. When the action was in front of our house, we reciprocated the hospitality as neighbors gathered on our porch.
Although people think it must be glamorous to work on a Hollywood movie set, the crew looked pretty bored. Much of their time is spent standing around, keeping onlookers away and waiting for the word on walkie talkies and headsets that the film would begin rolling again.
We soon became familiar with a car that would drive down to signal the beginning of a shoot, followed by a golf cart set up with cameras to film Cooper and Lawrence as they ran down the street.
Cooper was wearing a gray jogging suit with a plastic vest that resembled a trash bag, a strange sort of get-up that hopefully we will understand more when the movie comes out. Lawrence was wearing a black track suit. In the beginning of the day, the pair would jog down the street and then jog up again for the next take. Toward the afternoon, the pair caught rides back up the hill on the back of the golf cart. I think even they were getting a little tired.
By late afternoon, the scene turned to Halloween night. Costumed children arrived to trick or treat in a scene. Since these scenes were filmed after darkness set in, huge skylights were placed overhead to illuminate the street. Other lights were placed on South Swarthmore Avenue sidewalks, from Chester Pike to Bridge Street.
The crowds grew behind the police barricades. School was now out so dozens of children and teenagers, moms with baby coaches, dog walkers and curious passers-by lined up behind the security blockades, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Hollywood super stars.
I talked with many crew members and extras during the day. “Extras” consisted of people just strolling on the sidewalks and children in costumes. We were lucky to be invited to eat lunch with the staff. My heart was beating out of my chest to be eating lunch, two tables away from Bradley Cooper and Julia Stiles, who arrived on the scene for afternoon filming. I tried to act as casual as the others around me, like eating lunch with Bradley Cooper happened every day. Bodyguards were on site and the stars were engaged in conversation with the crew around them.
My neighbor and good friend, whose house they are using for filming, was thrilled to have his grandchildren featured in the trick-or-treating scene. Furniture was removed from his house and other furniture was brought in, placed by the set designers. They also remodeled the front of his garage. We called my friend “Mr. Hollywood” throughout the day and he was truly thrilled this was happening on our block. He went out of his way to include all neighbors in the fun and excitement.
A tent was set up in another neighbor’s yard for the little costumed extras to hang out until given their cue. The children were given Halloween bags filled with candy to hold in the scene. I smiled when I overheard their parents explaining why they could not eat the treats until the filming was over.
Filming lasted until about 9 pm., with most of the afternoon and evening scenes taking place on Ladomus Avenue, and at my friend’s house, further up South Swarthmore toward Chester Pike. The crew was back on the scene this morning, on surrounding streets.
As I pulled out of my driveway this morning and saw the tight security that was getting placed again for today’s filming, I smiled. Although I could have easily stayed and watched another day’s filming, I had to get to work. I secretly hoped my college-aged daughter would also go to school, half wondering if the neighborhood excitement would keep her home again once I left.
Hollywood would be in my hood all week, I reasoned. A person can only stand so much excitement at once!
Source: Delco Network