My friend Cara serves as guest Film Geek today, and writes the following:
"I went downtown yesterday evening to watch some of the filming of the
"We Are Marshall" movie. The first scene I watched was of a young black
man walking out of the Arcade building (a young black man in tight, baby
blue pants and an afro!). He stops when something in the newspaper
machine catches his eye. He stops at the machine, bends down and reads
the paper inquisitively. After which, he stands and shakes his head and
walks on. I can only imagine that this scene will depict someone
stopping to read the news of the crash.
Then I watched as Anthony Mackie (the actor playing Nate Ruffin) and
another young man rehearsed their scene of "going to the movies". For
those who may not know the whole story, Nate Ruffin was a Marshall
University football player who missed the trip to East Carolina
University due to a broken arm. Ruffin and a friend went to see a movie
at the Keith Albee that night (according to the Keith Albee marquee the
movie is "Kelly's Heroes"), and that is where he learned of the crash.
Apparently they rehearsed this scene in the early evening and then
actually shot it later in the night. Many of the store fronts along 4th
Avenue have been transformed to portray the look of 1970. There is a
furniture store with a mock living room set up in the front window (it
is very bright!). Next to the furniture store is a shoe store, and then
a hat shop. They all look very authentic, as well as the old Frederick
Hotel and the Keith Albee building. These two buildings have had a lot
of work in the past few weeks in order to restore their outward
The next scene was one that caught me off guard. Several blocks of 4th
Avenue had been sprayed down to give the look of the harsh rain that had
just fallen on the night of Nov. 14, 1970. I stood on the sidewalk of
4th avenue and watched as 2 fire trucks, 2 ambulances, and 1 police car
raced down the street... imaginably on their way to the crash site.
According to a movie staff person standing nearby, a few of those
vehicles were actually driven the night of the crash. Intermingled with
the emergency vehicles were random 70s-style cars.
Watching this scene was never "Hollywood" to me. It was as if I WAS
standing on that sidewalk in 1970. I WAS watching police and
firefighters approach a scene that would change their lives forever.
All of a sudden the excitement of "making a movie" was not what people
were thinking about. The streets were lined with people watching the
filming (at a short distance away in order to not be in the shot), as
well as approximately 50-60 production staff but there was an
unexplainable silence. The only sounds were the roar of the old
engines of the trucks and the whistles on the emergency vehicles.
When I left at approximately 11pm last night there were still people
showing up to watch the filming of this scene. I watched as an older
man stood with what I imagine to be his grandson and pointed to the old
cars. I wondered what he was telling him.
I think maybe I should stay away from the set for a while! It's a bit
too emotional for me. "