Movie stars lay the charm on Charm City

Filming: Gene Hackman and Keanu Reeves start work on a movie that needs PSINet Stadium and 20,000 extras.

August 07, 1999|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF

Gene Hackman, in Maryland for the third time in five years to film a movie, lamented that he didn't buy a house in town. Keanu Reeves smiled at the suggestion that he have dinner with 20,000 extras. And producer Dylan Sellers, in keeping with the state's water conservation measures, joked that his on-screen football players wouldn't be allowed to drink water during practice.

Yesterday at PSINet Stadium, the creative team behind the latest movie to be filmed in Maryland assembled to meet the press, officially announce that filming would start Monday and say how happy they were to be here.

"The Replacements" stars Reeves as one of a group of scrub football players who get a shot at the big time when the regular NFL players go on strike.

Hackman, who also filmed scenes from "Absolute Power" and "Enemy of the State" in and around the city, scored the most points with locals, citing "the chance to come back to Baltimore again" as one of the reasons he signed on.

"I should have bought a house here three years ago," he said.

Reeves, dressed in green-and-white football pants and a gray T-shirt, said he was attracted by the opportunity to play "a guy who gets a second chance."

Locals who want the chance to be caught forever on film will have it Aug. 14 and 15, as filmmakers will need some 20,000 extras at the stadium for crowd shots. In fact, getting word out about the crowd scenes may have been the filmmakers' main concern yesterday; both of the stadium's massive scoreboards displayed the phone number (410-481-2278) people need to call to register for the shoot.

Those who show up for the filming will be fed and given the chance to win prizes.

"Gene is going to have a kissing booth," Reeves joked.

Michael Styer, head of the state film office, said he expects filming to run through October. He predicted that making "The Replacements" here will pump $20 million to $25 million into the local economy.

Pub Date: 8/07/99

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