Federal Hill has bit part in film based on Hunter book

Neighborhood disruption? Author says it's fine with him

October 04, 2006|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,Sun Reporter

The cameras will roll again in Baltimore, and this time the local connection isn't restricted to the set's location.

Movie crews are scheduled to be in Federal Hill filming scenes Friday for Shooter, a thriller starring Mark Wahlberg and slated for a March release.

Based on the novel Point of Impact, by former Sun movie critic Stephen Hunter, now a Pulitzer Prize-winning critic for The Washington Post, the film centers on an Army sniper who finds himself framed for a political assassination. Naturally, his only recourse is to find the real killer before the police find him.

While most of the film was shot in Vancouver, British Columbia, which doubled for Polk County, Ark., parts also are being shot in Philadelphia and Washington.

Hunter is scheduled to step in front of the camera during today's D.C. shoot, dressed as a cop and -- perhaps -- making it into a crowd scene. "I've been studying my motivation for months now," he deadpans. "Having seen 20,000 movies and knowing what's wrong with every one of them, I couldn't resist an opportunity like this."

Only one day of filming is scheduled here, says Hannah Lee Byron, head of the Division of Film, Television & Video for the Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts. But this week's shoot comes on the heels of last week's filming of Live Free or Die Hard, the fourth installment of Bruce Willis' Die Hard franchise.

"It's not unusual," says Byron, who adds that playing host to multiple film crews has become almost de rigeur. "We've had two filmings simultaneously, in addition to [the HBO series] The Wire. We've handled it."

Although Shooter came with its own crew, the filmmakers hired some 200 local extras, she added, as well as a local caterer.

For Hunter, married to Sun columnist Jean Marbella, Shooter is a double-edged sword. On the upside, it's the first of his dozen books to be made into a feature film, and it's being directed by Antoine Fuqua, a personal favorite. ("One of the few Hollywood directors I haven't torn from limb to limb in prose," Hunter says).

The downside? They'll be in his neighborhood Friday, taking valuable parking spaces.

"I got to my car the other day, and there was a notification from a film crew that filming would be done on Friday, and I would be inconvenienced," Hunter says. "Having gotten stuck in traffic during Die Hard, ... I was filled with grumpy resentment. But when I realized what film it was, I granted it a dispensation."

chris.kaltenbach@baltsun.com

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