Fans ignore request to boycott Warner filming at Oriole Park

August 04, 1992|By Sandy Banisky | Sandy Banisky,Staff Writer

Still angry at Time Warner Inc. for distributing Ice-T's controversial song "Cop Killer," Donald Helms wanted to turn back the tide last night, to stop the throngs entering Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Inside, a movie crew was shooting scenes for a Warner Bros. film called "Dave," which stars Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver. Mr. Helms, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3, urged baseball fans to stay away to show their continuing displeasure with "Cop Killer" and the parent company.

But inside the park were movie stars, baseball and the chance to be in a major motion picture's crowd scene -- and fans Mr. Helms encountered didn't turn back.

Before long, Mr. Helms himself, in the company of lodge Vice President David Webb, was inside the park (on free Orioles passes) to watch the game and film crew.

"This is just part of our public awareness campaign,' " an undiscouraged Mr. Helms said of the leafletting he and about a dozen other officers did before the game. "We're trying to say to citizens, 'Be aware of what your money is producing.' "

"Cop Killer," with lyrics featuring a character planning the murder of police officers, has been target of nationwide protests. Among the protesters in California last month was Baltimore Agent Eugene Cassidy, blinded by a gunman's bullet in 1987.

Last week, Ice-T said he will remove the song from new copies of the album.

Fans at Oriole Park yesterday said they support the police -- but not enough to stay away from the filming.

"I understand what they're trying to do," said Scott Holub. "But we're up here from Louisiana visiting relatives in Bel Air, and this is the night we have tickets for."

Stephanie Alimondo of Canton said she didn't see how boycotting the game would help the police cause: "If the singer was here tonight, then maybe it would be different."

Inside the park, the "Dave" film crew worked all day on scenes for the romantic comedy set for release next May. Director Ivan Reitman leaned on a railing and said he was unaware of Mr.

Helms' efforts.

"I'm very sympathetic to them, actually," said Mr. Reitman. "But I don't really understand what they're after, because Ice-T withdrew the song last week."

Meanwhile, he had a giant scene to direct with 40,000 extras: Kevin Kline, portraying the president, would be tossing out the first pitch of a fictional game.

The crew had 12 minutes before the start of the game to film Mr. Kline's performance. "Twelve minutes, and it will end up about 30 seconds in the film," Mr. Reitman said.

Announcer Rex Barney set up the scene: "[Mr. Kline] plays a well-loved president of the United States. That's right, a well-loved president. The character is fictional."

Then, with fake Secret Service men atop the dugout and the scoreboard welcoming "President of the United States Bill Mitchell," Mr. Kline strode to the mound.

A jaunty figure in a black warm-up jacket with "Prez" across the back, Mr. Kline proved himself a better actor than pitcher. In four takes, only a couple of pitches made it near the plate. No matter. Mr. Kline jabbed the air in victory and accepted the cheers of the mob as he jogged off the field.

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