I recently spent a day cheering on runners while they zipped past me over and over again as they ran a 10K in Baltimore. It was a great crowd and a great atmosphere among the runners and spectators alike. There was a man wearing a banana suit, a woman dressed as a tomato, a Statue of Liberty. This was certainly a run full of characters.
This was especially true because we were all there to film a scene from an episode in the 2nd season of the HBO smash comedy “Veep” starring Julia Louis Dreyfus as the Vice President. I played the role of Onlooker #193,756,302,376,734,923.
Without giving away any spoilers, for a scene that’s going to last approximately 10 minutes or less on screen, the shoot took 12 hours to complete. Yes, that’s 12 hours of standing, cheering, and waving. It would have been alright if we were filming a winter running scene and were bundled up to our necks in coats, scarves, and hats. This scene was actually set in spring, which means t-shirts, light jackets, and shorts. The temperature that day was a crisp 35 degrees in the sun, and when that went away, well at least we had each other.
Although taped primarily in Baltimore and Columbia, Md, the show is set in Washington, D.C. We shot the racing scene at Druid Hill Park, a scenic location with sprawling hills in Baltimore city. As the cameramen set up their various shots around the park, we trekked those hills through the wind in our t-shirts, light jackets, and shorts. A woman from wardrobe was kind enough to pass out packs of Hot Hands for us to store in our pockets. At one point, the crew also pulled around warming vans for us to jump into for some relief for 10 minutes as a time.
While it was extremely cold and painful (my lower back was killing me!), everyone including the onlookers, runners, crew, and stars of the show banded together in freezing harmony to share laughs, put on our excited faces, and get the scene done. At one point, I’m pretty sure Julia pulled out some of her Elaine dance moves from the Seinfeld vault to pass the time between takes and warm herself up.
At the end of the day, Julia took hold of the director’s megaphone to thank us for bearing with her and the crew to make the scene a success. It was a great day and a lot of fun to be a part of, and eventually I did get feeling back in my toes.
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