Sunday, May 18, 2008

Shooting Paris

Not a day goes without my thinking that Paris looks like a movie set. Every setting -- street, courtyard, bridge, café -- could be a backdrop for a film.

And apparently, it is. Filming is going on all over Paris.

In my early days here, I was awestruck one afternoon seeing the film crews in Montmartre shooting La Môme. "Ooh," I thought. "Maybe I'll see La Môme some day and say proudly, 'I saw that being filmed.'"

Well, I used to be wowed by manifs, too, and now they're just a ho-hum daily occurrence. (The first time I saw a Paris street demonstration, I was inside a store on rue de Rennes. I pointed to the crowds marching by and exclaimed excitedly to the shop owner, "Look, look, it's a manif!" I cringe with embarrassment now, thinking how idiotic that statement must have seemed to a Parisian.)

I don't mean to sound blasé, but it's starting to feel the same way with movies being filmed on location here. This morning at the bus stop bright and early, I saw camera crews setting up light tents and tripods to film inside the boulangerie across from the St. Francois Xavier métro station. The street was lined with trucks and the stars' trailers. I realized how my attitude has changed since the La Môme filming. I just thought, "Oh, yeah, another movie set."

As I rode by on the bus, I saw Jean Rochefort (I think) chatting with some friends outside his trailer.

My reaction?

He must be the only French movie star who isn't in Cannes right now.


David in Setouchi said...

Yeah, I was the same.
My first Spring in Paris (did you notice that most movies are shot in the Spring?) I was in awe every time I'd run onto a shooting (I got to meet Edouard Baer that way (he might be my only idol on Earth)), now I'm like: "oh, a shooting" and I barely look at who might be on the set.

For the protests it's different though as I took part in my first one when I was 15. :-)

Jay Livingston said...

Here in New York, you get used seeing film crews, but it can still be exciting -- like the time Halle Berry was shooting a scene in my building on my floor, and I stood this close to her at the elevator.

I walked across the Park a couple of weeks ago, and they were shooting "New York I Love You," NYC's answer to "Paris je t'aime." The episode they were setting up for was at the bandshell, and it was directed by Natalie Portman.

isa said...

That's my building! That's my building!
I guess, I'm still excited ;-)
But yes, that's where we lived, 5 floors above the boulangerie (which, btw, I would not recommend - I preferred the bakery on av de Saxe, facing the marché). I would go out on the balcony each morning and check out the fresh flower deliveries at the Monceau Fleurs.

I have not said it in a while - I absolutely love your posts and never miss a word, Polly! Of course, the fact that you live in "my hood" doubles my pleasure...

Anne Corrons said...

You are so right! What is Jean Rochefort doing in Paris??? How is my favorite city?

Polly-Vous Francais said...


They do seem to shoot more in the spring (my friend Mary in Montmartre said they were shooting there today too. Funny, no film shoots much in August...

Yes, probably only NYC and LA can compare in terms of star gazing. Did you say anything to Halle?

How cool that that's your building! See my May 10 post as well for more of your 'hood. And I agree about that boulangerie -- it looks so appealing, but the bread is awful. And the croissants at the one on ave de Saxe are the best for miles around.

Maybe it's a reverse-snobbery kind of thing about NOT being in Cannes. What a madhouse it is there. Even the entire crew from my favorite TV program, Le Grand Journal, is in Cannes, reporting from la Croisette all week. I'm gladder to be in Paris. But of course I wasn't invited to Cannes...

Petrea Burchard said...

How exciting for you, Isabella!

The same is true of living in LA. I don't get excited when I see a shoot. Usually you see crew and equipment, not the stars. But if I were in Paris and saw a film shooting, I might be a little star-struck. (Unless I lived there, of course.)

David in Setouchi said...

Jay: They're finally shooting NYC I love you!!!! Can't wait, can't wait, can't wait...

Cool that Natalie Portman is in this one too... (in the Paris film, her character lives on my street)

Concerning French actors not being in Cannes, I actually think that most famous actors (the ones that don't struggle) that don't have to be in Cannes, are not in Cannes, I'll ask my roommate about that.

Unknown said...

Since all my visits to Paris have been in the springtime, I've noticed quite a few movies being filmed and also noted that there were very few people standing around watching. Not so here in Wisconsin where Johnny Depp has been filming a movie for the past few months. So much hoopla!

As for manifs, well I'm from Madison...

Jay Livingston said...

David, Natalie Portman wasn't in it; she was directing one of the episodes. Ditto Scarlett Johansson.

Polly, My encounter with Halle Berry: I went out to the elevator to go downstairs. She was standing in front of the elevator. I pushed the button. The door opened. I said, "Excuse me," and stepped around her and got in the elevator, though I had the feeling that she was just about to say something to me.

What she was probably going to say was that this elevator (one of six) was temporarily a prop for the shoot and wasn't going anywhere . . . as I discovered when I pusehd the button for Lobby and nothing happened. I pushed "Door Open." Nothing happened. I'm trapped in an elevator with Halle Berry on the other side of the door.

Finally, I tried pushing the button for my floor. The door opened, and I stepped out, feeling too much like a complete fool to say anthying to HB, and headed for the stairs.

She's shorter than I had thought, by the way, and she has beautiful skin.

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