May 11, 2000

"Miss Congeniality" Films Downtown

I've met someone who's in the movie biz, usually as a production coordinator, but this past week, he worked as a rigging grip on "Miss Congeniality," which is shooting in Austin right now. So last night we were on set watching everything. They've turned the Cue Lounge on Fourth Street (next to the Alamo Drafthouse) into a Russian Mafia bar in New York, complete with Cyrillic signage (ЛАЙКА) and wonderful Russian murals of Lenin and so on inside and even a Battleship Potemkin reference. Sandra Bullock was there roughing up a Russian bad guy, and Benjamin Bratt (Julia Roberts' main squeeze) was playing a cop going undercover as a homeless guy, and Laszlo Kovacs (Easy Rider, New York, New York, My Best Friend's Wedding) is the cinematographer. They had "New York" cabs and background cars with NY license plates, rain trees to, well, make it rain, and tough-looking extras, and copies of the New York Post for authenticity, etc. I even got to nosh from the craft services truck. So I'm a bit tired today, but it was cool. Maybe they'll keep the sign up and leave the bar as is.

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