Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Waiting for Miss Watson

The trucks and trailers rolled up our road in the early hours of the morning. A prominent 'Road Closed' sign went up at the fork, with a markered 'AHEAD' . Driving back from work one day, I drove down past the Road Closed AHEAD, nevertheless. A block down, a uniformed security guard stood right next to another Road Closed sign. I had to turn around on one of the side roads. Determined, I turned right back to the fork and drove up the other way on the circular road. Another Road Closed and guard greeted me after 4 blocks. But this one asked "Do you live a few houses up that way?"
"Err.... yes", though I lived many houses up that way, so to speak.
"Drive on," he waved me through. I crawled past all the trucks and trailers, now humming with activity in front of a house with a black box frame and curtain in front of its entrance, cranes with lights and whatnot, all the paraphernalia that a film crew have to transport wherever they go on location.
We may have visited Hollywood last year, but this year Hollywood came to our quiet suburban oasis. More to the point, Emma Watson (of Harry Potter movies fame) came to our neighborhood, filming for 'The Perks of Being A Wallflower', written by a former native of our township, now being made into a movie. He could have filmed anywhere he wished, but decided to pick his hometown as the location for the filming.
Rumors flew fast and thick. They were going to film in the high school. No, they were not going to use this high school because it looked too modern. They were filming in Baker park. No, they were filming on Hays Road. The crowning moment was M rushing home from the bus stop and proclaiming "They are going to be filming in front of C's house, right here on our street!". That was one rumor that turned out to be true, confirmed by the flurry of excited emails from the neighborhood email newsgroup.
M and S and their father spent one whole evening watching the film crew create a fake snow-on-the-ground scene at the location, along with a few dozen other star-struck onlookers, or just neighbors choosing to walk their dogs at the choice moment. Alas, no sign of Miss Watson that evening, though Logan Lerman (of Percy Jackson and the Olympians fame) and Katy Walsh (of Private Practice fame)were being filmed. ( Full Disclosure : I've seen neither of them on the big or little screen, never really heard of them till this movie.)
 The week over, the film crew trundled out of our neighborhood, moving shop to other locations. That was it, I thought, for the Emma Watson sighting hopes.  Until the buzz started again. They're filming at the King's restaurant, right across from the Sunoco gas station. The King's restaurant has nice desserts, though its menu and decor look like they still belong in the 1980's. An absolutely perfect setting for a story frozen in that time period, I'm sure. And, of course, I need to fill the gas tank, it's almost running on empty. So M and S peered through the windows while I filled up the tank. Nothing much to be seen, beyond a line of onlookers, assorted equipment and lighting fixtures. 'No, Miss Watson won't sign autographs. She's too shy to do that.' one of the security guards averred to the onlookers. Miss Watson showed up much later that evening and waved to her fans from a safe distance. (Heard via the local internet grapevine.)
Last Monday, I decided to brave my way uphill with M, they were filming again that day, and this time, Emma Watson was most certainly expected. We walked up, chatting with neighbors on our way and walked back, promising to get back there around 6 pm. A van drove up, just as we headed home, and I thought I caught sight of short chestnut hair and Ray-bans in the front passenger's seat. Could that have been Miss Watson?
We walked back after dinner and M was met by a group of acquaintances, all girls her age, squealing with delight as they waved Post-its with suspicious looking squiggles. 'Emma Watson stopped to say hi and signed these autographs for us!' M's face fell: "We should have gotten here earlier."
"Never mind, maybe you'll get to see her filming a scene."
The location was drenched with dazzling sunlight and the sun's angle was just so, blinding M. After an uncomfortable half hour, she gave up and we walked back as she was near tears over having missed Miss W.
We went back at 8:00pm. The waning light was perfect for them as they dolled up a house for a Halloween trick or treat scene, shot in about 5 takes with little kid actors costumed and running back and forth.  We did have a nice vantage point of the proceedings, sitting on the cool grass in front of C's house, and long pants, which ensured that we didn't spend as much time swatting away mosquitoes as did some of the be-shorted teens and tweens who had come to watch. A tiny white dog provided ample entertainment for those not inclined to keep their eyes glued to the set.
No Miss Watson, again.
M had cheered up considerably at having watched for a while, even if we didn't get a glimpse of the star.And to top it all, she came home the next day beaming, waving a sheet with the Emma squiggles...or rather, curlicues. She had managed to get an extra copy that C was gracious enough to give her. So now M has her  Emma Watson memento, even if we missed seeing her on location.


kochuthresiamma p .j said...

had posted a comment which apparently did not go through.
nice read. nice title.
to apply the moral of the story:-) to existential questions -the act of waiting for godot is its own reward.

Sujatha said...

You're right, Kochuthresiamma. It's the thrill of anticipation that outstrips the joy of the final 'darshan', so to speak. It might have been a bit anticlimactic, even had we managed to get a glimpse of the star.