If you film it, they will come
The movie Smart People, about a widowed Carnegie Mellon English professor, has been filming on campus for the past week, injecting a little glamour into the lives of students, faculty, and staff who frequent the second floor of Baker Hall. A few scenes are also taking place in Donner and Skibo Gym, and students have taken rubbernecking to new heights, trying to sneak a peek at the bearded Dennis Quaid or the sensual Christine Lahti.
What’s more, hearts pounded in anticipation at every high-heeled echo down the second-floor corridor, hoping to spot a pair of Manolo Blahniks clip-clopping down the gentle slope with Sarah Jessica Parker at the helm. Students clumped together in crowds around the director’s chairs stenciled with impressive names, proving a new truism: If you film it, they will come.
However, CMU on the silver screen hasn’t been entirely excitement and glitz. There’s been a fair amount of inconvenience to contend with, too. Most students were not aware that Smart People would be filming here, and those who did weren’t prepared for the trucks and trailers that would monopolize parking behind Hunt and Baker for a week, leaving no alternative for the students, faculty, and staff who usually use the lot.
Then there are the key grips. Or gaffers, or best boys, or whatever those egomaniacal tech types in black T-shirts and headsets are called, shushing professors and locking down the hallway at every call of “Action!” Is it really necessary to film at peak hours, when students and faculty have no choice but to navigate the narrow path carved out by equipment and lights stacked in bulky rows? All parties are inconvenienced by the traffic.
However, the groans and gripes might just be our way of keeping cool in all the excitement, offsetting our impulses to gush to Dennis Quaid about how much we loved The Parent Trap or The Rookie, asking him to sign a baseball for us, or what it was like to work with Lindsay Lohan before she learned the C-word and used it to describe Paris Hilton.
Our complaints are belied by the popularity of the “I was (sorta) in the Movie ‘Smart People’ ” group on Facebook. Carnegie Mellon’s getting its 15 minutes, and deep down, we secretly love it.