Yes, that was Russell Crowe in Annapolis

September 08, 2007|By Michael Sragow | Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic

Yesterday, while Russell Crowe was winning his best set of reviews in years for his tour-de-force villainy in 3:10 to Yuma, he was also playing a soccer dad in Annapolis. It was his first day of shooting on the international espionage thriller Body of Lies, and Crowe was doing two scenes at St. Andrew's United Methodist Day School: easing into the carpool area and watching one of his two fictional kids play soccer.

Costarring Leonardo DiCaprio as a CIA agent determined to disrupt a terrorist network and Crowe as his boss, Body of Lies, adapted by William Monahan (The Departed) from a novel by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, started shooting Wednesday in Washington.

It continues filming for the rest of the month in the Annapolis-Baltimore-D.C. triangle, including locations in Montgomery County.

The director, Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Black Hawk Down), will use Baltimore to stand in for Manchester, England, and Munich, Germany; Scott spent Thursday shooting "British" rowhomes in Collington Square. (Wednesday, Washington's Eastern Market served as Amsterdam.) Crowe is scheduled for two more days in Annapolis, while DiCaprio will do his acting in Washington. From the Mid-Atlantic the production goes to Morocco, which subs for Dubai, Iraq and Jordan.

To accommodate the movie crews yesterday, Leslie A. Redwine, St. Andrew's head of school, had to change parents' normal carpool routes and restrict her students to their homerooms - there could be no fresh-air physical education and no outdoor movements between classes. But she says all were happy to "bite the bullet" because everyone was "excited about the opportunity to have the school in the film."

Redwine notes St. Andrew's beat out 20 other candidates because of its "traditional Annapolis look, very attractive buildings and beautiful open campus." The film's publicist, Ernie Malick, says Annapolis will be Virginia for the movie, but Redwine observed, "They did use the name St. Andrew's" for the school scenes.

Redwine says she was impressed by how efficiently Scott worked. "I looked over his shoulder and was fascinated."

The production rolled in Thursday night and very early yesterday morning. Scott began shooting his scenes at 9 a.m. and was out by 1:30 or 2 p.m.

Redwine did get to shake Russell Crowe's hand, shesays, delightedly. "He was courtly, cordial and charming."

michael.sragow@baltsun.com

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