Monday, June 23, 2008

'Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen' Crashes (Literally) at Princeton

Actor Shia LeBouf reviews footage with Director Michael Bay (Nikon 300mm f/2.8)

Paramount Pictures arrived on Sunday night with about 15 large trucks full of cars and equipment on University Place to film "Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen", the sequel to the first "Transformers" action movie.

This morning, Paramount Pictures blocked off McCosh Courtyard as "Princeton Students" moved into their dorms (which they pretended was the Chapel?) carrying crates. Washington Road was also blocked off with police cars to film a car chase, as spectators watched on the sidelines. Most of the morning and afternoon consisted of several nice sports cars, including a dark blue Cadillac Escalade, driving in reverse and speeding down Washington Road.

A small robotic car drove around following some of the cars. It will probably be animated as it was bare bones and you could see the wiring on it. In addition, several large cranes and lifts graced the set and you could constantly hear "Ready, Set, Action" every couple of minutes. In one scene, repeated about four times, a car swerved and hit a student, causing him to fly off to the sidewalk.

This evening, the crew blocked off the back of the University Chapel and Firestone so that they could shoot a few less action-packed scenes. Lines of girls and boys pressed themselves against the barricades hoping to hear what the actors were saying. Many of the girls were swooning over Shia LeBouf and one remarked that she would readily get arrested in order to get close to him and would happily share a jail cell with him.

At one point you could hear LeBouf shouting, "You didn't touch this [or her] did you?!" several times as they reshot the scene. So that's certainly a line that will probably lead to some sort of confrontation in the movie.

The reason for filming on Princeton's campus is, according to one spectator, supposed to give the look and feel that the star, LeBeouf, goes to an "unnamed Ivy League university". Rainn Wilson, rumour has it, plays his professor in the movie.

Unfortunately, I can't confirm some of the details because I was not allowed to interview crew members. I may be able to grab an interview with the producer tomorrow, but under the condition that I don't spill any details until next May.

The Transformers 2 Crew is here for a total of three days, according to an e-mail sent to Princeton staff members. And yes, the stars are all here.

Megan Fox was sitting pretty in denim in a director chair with another woman holding a black umbrella over her head. She was leaning on Green Hall as spectators mused on how they could get closer to her. She was also spotted resting on the Chapel steps and in one scene, getting out of a cab with luggage by Firestone. Shia LaBeouf was walking around the set drinking coke when not driving any of the cars, acting or having makeup put on him.

The film is set to release next summer.

--Tasnim Shamma '11


Anonymous said...

It's interesting that they're using scenes filmed at both Penn and Princeton, and combining them to represent one unnamed Ivy League university. I'm eager to see how all this will look on the big screen.