Friday night, I went to the Ziegfeld theater to watch the filming of Sex and the City 2. The theater was set up for a fictional movie premiere. The fake movie was “Heart of the Desert” starring Smith Jerrod (Jason Lewis). The theater and surrounding areas were covered subway sized posters, and promotional signs with photos of Smith. A fake ticket check in area led to the red carpet, with a line of paparazzi (really just actors) waiting to photograph the arrivals.
I go to the set around 7:30pm. The scene was set, but the crew was just starting to set up. An extremely friendly PA told the crowd that the stars were not yet on set, the production was running behind, and instead of the 9pm start time it would now be starting at 11pm. I honestly considered leaving, heading back to Brooklyn or at least over to somewhere like Borders to kill a few hours. But the crowd was growing, and I was worried about losing my front row spot. (Fans were positioned across the street, along a barricade in front of a local hotel). Drunken hotel guests continually ambled outside of the hotel bar to see the filming spectacle. Some screamed out for their favorite characters, while others heckled the fans waiting in line for the “dumb movie”.
While waiting, I met some fans anxious to see the film’s stars. Most were tourists, lucky enough to accidentally discover the set while traveling around Manhattan. A lot were (sober) hotel guests who had received a notice about the filming, and run downstairs to see it for themselves. (Hotel guests received a note that SATC2 would be filming outside from 7pm-3am. A note that ended up being completely inaccurate.) I spoke to 2 very sweet girls from Vancouver who ended up being my waiting buddies. We held each others spots while we got food, or tea or went in to the hotel to warm up.
After waiting what seems like forever, and heading to a cafe for a short dinner break, the crew finally appeared to be ready. Right before filming started, I was able to see Jason Lewis, Tim Gunn, and the little girl who plays Charlotte’s daughter socializing inside of the Ziegfeld lobby. Twenty minutes or so later, Chris Noth (Mr. Big) appeared outside, and the entire crowd gasped. Not long after, Miley Cyrus appeared, but was just barely visible. Soon the set cleared, and Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, and various other cast members walked out to the red carpet. It was incredibly hard to see what was going on– the crew was huge, the fake paparazzi was blocking any view of the red carpet, and gawkers continued to walk back and forth in front of the set. One of the girls I was with crossed the street to the set side, to see if she would be chased away. She wasn’t. Her friend and I debated whether or not I would be able to do the same. So I decided to walk down the street, and cross over for an attempt.
When I got to the edge of the set, I was stopped by a PA asking everyone to please walk around on the other side. I told him I was there shooting for an agency, and he kindly moved out of my way. I was ON THE SET with the rest of the (real) paparazzi, and just feet away from the stars. (To be 100% honest, I was shooting for an agency. A friend of mine had asked me to cover the event on spec for the agency she works at. They just didn’t end up running the photos. The average person would need a NYC press pass to get anywhere near the filming. I *do not* recommend trying to get on set with out one. NYPD will kick you out if you try to get inside the coned off filming areas with out a pass.)
Cast members posed for a brief photo op, before dashing back in to the Ziegfeld to stay warm. Soon the cameras began rolling, and Miley Cyrus and Kim Cattrall were filming first. They were doing a scene where Samantha (the girlfriend and PR agent of Smith Jerrod) greets other guests on the red carpet, only to find out she is wearing the exact same outfit as Miley. At first, I couldn’t see a thing. There were so many photographers (real and fake) mobbing the set that I didn’t get a single good shot. Luckily, the scene was filmed at 4 or 5 different angles. So after some of the photographers left, and the cameras moved from the left to right sides of the scene, I was able to get some shots.
Miley and Kim continued for what seemed like two hours. During their filming, more and more fans kept lining up across the street to watch. Hotel guests crowded the second and third floor lobbies, sitting in front of the windows trying to get a better view. They left the red carpet, and the crew broke for “lunch”.
To be Continued…