The magic of Hollywood comes to Towson High School used in filming of John Waters movie

April 19, 1993|By Frank D. Roylance | Frank D. Roylance,Staff Writer

With school kids peeking from their classrooms, actress Kathleen Turner repeatedly ran her car over a Towson High School math teacher in the school's parking lot.

But what sounds like a tabloid newspaper's dream story was a bit of movie madness: The teacher was a dummy, and the scene part of two days of filming at Towson High last week for director John Waters' latest movie, "Serial Mom."

In another scene, according to Principal Louis J. Sergi, the filming moved indoors to a ground-floor classroom, where Ms. Turner was to confront the teacher during a parent conference.

"All through the picture," Mr. Sergi said, "she gets rid of people who she thinks are troubling her family."

The moviemakers, who began shooting last Monday, plan more filming at locations in and around Towson over the next few months, said publicist Peter Haas.

No Towson High students were being used in the filming last week.

"Everybody they've used are actors," Mr. Sergi said. "They don't even look like kids."

At least, said Mr. Sergi, the school will be called Towson High School in the film, "and there will be a sign saying 'Go Generals.' I negotiated for that." Also, one Towson student's home is being used for some scenes.

Mr. Waters, who grew up in Lutherville and attended Calvert Hall College, chose the school because "he liked the structure," Mr. Sergi said. Mr. Waters also had childhood friends who went to Towson High.

The school is protected by a $5 million liability insurance policy and is receiving a $2,500 stipend from the movie company. The money will go toward purchasing a copy machine and a gymnasium scoreboard. Mr. Sergi said he also got a promise from Ms. Turner and Mr. Waters to return soon to talk to the students.

Although the teachers' parking lot was filled with trucks and trailers, and a downstairs hallway was cluttered with movie gear, Mr. Sergi said the filming caused little disruption.

"It's been wonderful. Some kids went out during lunch and watched," but for the most part, he said, classroom blinds were drawn to prevent students and filmmakers from distracting each other.

"They could have shot [a week earlier] when the kids weren't in school, but I thought it would be wonderful if they shot while the kids could see it," Mr. Sergi said.

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