The Entropy Blog

Finding Jeremy Renner: It’s not stalking if you don’t take photos (Part 1)

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This is the fifth in a series of posts featuring the accounts of an innocent bystander at the filming of the movie The Bourne Legacy in the Philippines, and about how stalking is the new cardio. The two are not necessarily related.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

The cab driver drove me to the middle of a slum. “Uhm, is there another gate you could drop me off?” I asked the cabbie. I had asked him to take me to PUP, where The Bourne Legacy was filming that day. It was PUP, all right, and it looked ok, but the surrounding area was scary. “There’s another one at Pureza,” he said. “You could probably take one of the tricycles to get there.” As opposed to just taking me there himself? Clearly he also wanted to leave as quickly as possible. “Fine,” I muttered. I got off and stood near the tricycles and pedicabs. I called Annie to ask her where I could meet her. Bets had to leave town for the weekend, and Elisa had school that day: #teamRennerManila was down to two operatives that day, Annie and me.

“I’m outside the gate and it’s a slum area,” I explained to Annie over the phone. OMG, did I just say that out loud? I thought. I looked around to make sure no one was about to stab me for insulting their neighborhood, because I probably deserved it. Now that I think about it, the people there seemed nice and not-scary, the place was just really depressing and they probably deserved a lot better in life. Annie said she’d come pick me up.

I was sure this was the right campus, though. I passed by the usual vans and trucks with “Bourne Legacy” signs taped on them, on the street leading to the PUP gate. (The funniest one I’ve seen was a van with a paper sign that said, “Catering for Bourne Legacy. Do not delay.” That was last week at the Magsaysay Blvd. shoot.) I realized my problem was there was a huge sign on the gate of PUP that said “No ID, no Entry”. But I shouldn’t have worried. Apparently the one good thing about being too old to pass for college students was the guards think you’re teachers or parents — they just let us through without a word, while making the students present IDs and papers and stuff before they could go in.

According to A. the crew had been setting up since she got there. There were tents and around the outdoor basketball court, and green screens were being erected. We stood by and watched for maybe half an hour or so but there was no sign of Jeremy Renner. I tried to spot Tony Gilroy, but I couldn’t see anyone whose face I could match to the photo I pulled up of his from IMDB. So we went to get snacks and water in the cafeteria. Then we hung out in a covered bench area with the marchers of the production — the guys whose job it was to drive the cast to and from locations and the hotel. They were very nice, and they didn’t really have much to do during the filming itself. Occasionally, we’d go back and stand outside the filming area to see if Jeremy was there. Nothing. Then it rained, like, really hard, so we ran back to the covered benches. After the rain stopped, some of the crew got busy mopping up the rainwater in the spot where the green screens were being set up. We went back to our spot outside the filming area to watch. At that point we were just watching people mopping up water. But pretty soon, we saw what they would be filming — a jeepney and a motorbike, parked right beside each other. “Parked” may not be the accurate word, though, as they were sort of mounted on top of some mechanical thing. Some guy who was probably a stuntman or Jeremy’s body double sat on the bike while they were setting up the shot.

I spotted a man in a sleeveless grey shirt walking with what looked like Rachel Weisz’s body double (she was also wearing the same clothes Rachel had been wearing while shooting the Manila scenes) towards a couple of trucks to our left. I thought he was a body double because he looked like he was in his twenties.

And then I saw his tattoo.

Holy cr*p, that was Jeremy. Sometimes, you see, I forget that he looks WAY younger in person than he does in photos and film. Don’t ask me why. It’s like the camera started aging him after The Hurt Locker, because he was thirty when Dahmer came out and he actually pulled off playing a teenager in that movie. I think I stopped spazzing long enough to point him out to Annie. I remember the grey shirt he was wearing during filming had sleeves, but it looked like today the sleeves on his shirt had been cut out. So we were treated to the sight of arms so amazing they deserve their own fan club. He replaced the guy who was riding the bike, and Rachel Weisz or her body double (couldn’t tell, as she was facing away from us and wearing a motorcycle helmet) sat behind him. He had put on a black leather jacket, which made me realize he was probably going to be filming all his shots wearing the jacket, in which case cutting off the sleeves of the shirt was a good idea because it was less hot to wear under the jacket, and no one could tell anyway if his shirt had sleeves or not. We noticed in previous filmings that between takes, Jeremy would pull down his jacket to expose his back and shoulders to cool off. Clearly, at no point during their two months here did someone from the production team or crew say, “Hey, why don’t we NOT have our main character wear a heavy leather jacket while driving around a tropical country?”

Soon, filming began.

That was when I figured out what the green screens were for. They were filming Jeremy and Rachel on the bike, while they were being slammed by the jeepney from the right. I suppose it was to get up-close shots of the two leads for the chase scenes they’ve been filming in the streets of Sta. Mesa. The jeepney was mounted on a machine that made it jump up and down as though it were careening down a road, and then made it slam into the motorcyle on its left. Jeremy and Rachel would then wobble left and right after being hit by the jeepney. My inner film geek was on overdrive, I tell ya. It was only silenced occasionally by my inner fangirl who wanted to yell, “Don’t hurt him!” It looked really scary, actually — the jeepney slamming into the motorbike. They shot the scene several times.

When it ended, Jeremy got off the bike and walked with the director to this huge truck parked on on the circular driveway surrounding some school monument, and started discussing what I could only guess was the next scene they were going to shoot. It was very animated, with Jeremy miming being thrown against the truck. Then he left and came back driving the motorcycle (no jacket). More discussion. Then he left. “I can’t believe we’re watching this,” Annie said at some point. “Shhh, they might realize we’re neither students or faculty of this school,” was what I think I said. It may have actually been just “AsdjdhwehrajkfdsdadbflehluhsdhOMGthosemusclesarereal.”

While waiting for the next scene to be set up, Jeremy was standing around talking with the crew. At some point, he lifted the front of his shirt and wiped his face with it, exposing his tummy and I nearly had a stroke. At this point, dear readers, I’d like to apologize that, as the title says, I did not take any photos. Taking photographs or videos were forbidden. Forbidden. As in, the nearest security guy would look at me every time I took my cellphone out to text someone or send a Tweet. Once I showed him my phone and assured him I was just Tweeting, because the spot we were standing at was technically still a restricted area but he was letting Annie and I stay because it was just the two of us. (Later, he really had to make us leave as more people showed up and started watching from that area.) I did not want to give them a reason to throw us out of the campus.

The security guys, by the way, were really great. All those times I visited the sets to watch the filming, they were always nice to us spectators. Even while they were making us leave restricted areas, they’d apologize and explain why we had to move farther back. They were always professional and polite. And really alert and paid attention to everything that was going on around them. Which was great because we’d like to think the cast and crew were safe while they worked.

Suddenly Jeremy walked into a tent, and we realized it was raining again.

The Bourne Legacy filming at PUP

Someone else took this photo from the 2nd or third floor of one of the buildings. Click to see original twitpic page.

(To be continued.)

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