At film shoot, all eyes on cars, not the stars

Vintage autos are lovely to look at

July 01, 2008|By John Woestendiek | John Woestendiek,Sun reporter

A small crowd - many of them drawn more by the cars than the stars - watched as filming continued yesterday in downtown Baltimore for My One and Only.

The movie, scheduled for release next summer, stars Renee Zellweger as a 1950s-era divorced mom seeking a new, and rich, husband.

The film crew was at Mount Vernon Place, where many of the vintage cars being used in the movie - 84 are involved in scenes this week alone - were drawing more gawkers than Zellweger as she repeatedly exited the Washington Apartments in an eggs-and-cream colored 1950s-era suit.

For the series of establishing shots, the Washington Apartments, a 1906 Beaux Arts style building at 700 N. Charles St., became "Sutton Place" a New York City apartment building, with a temporary plaque that altered the address to 11389 Riverside.

Police stood by, helping to hold off background traffic during takes, and movie security staff, including one muscular member wearing a T-shirt that read "I will flex for food," diverted pedestrians.

Part of the northern square of the park was blocked off during filming, as extras in 1950s garb and hairstyles walked back and forth during takes - part of a background that included some of the vintage automobiles.

The scenes shot before the crew broke for lunch didn't seem to be particularly action-packed ones. In one, a man enters the building as a doorman opens the door; in the other, Zellweger departs with a suitcase.

But many did seem to appreciate the autos - vintage taxis, Cadillacs and convertibles, all rounded up for the occasion by Baltimore's own Thomas Lombardi (nephew of legendary coach Vince).

Among the fleet rented from across the country are what Lombardi describes as the "hero cars" - the one driven in the film by Zellweger, and its double, a duplicate in case the original breaks down.

The hero car is a 1953 Cadillac Eldorado, only 525 of which were made. Both were refurbished in Baltimore for the movie, said Lombardi, who, through his company Mid-Atlantic Picture Cars, has been procuring cars for moviemakers since 1989.

About 270 cars from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s are being used in the movie, he said.

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