If you noticed men in bowlers, women in long skirts and a mist machine in Prospect Park yesterday, it’s because Joaquin Phoenix and Oscar winner Marion Cotillard were on the long meadow filming a movie.
Written and directed by James Gray, of “Little Odessa” and “Two Lovers” fame, the untitled period film is about a Polish immigrant, played by Cotillard, who is pulled into an unhappy life on the vaudeville circuit until she is saved by a magician, played by Jeremy Renner. The magician tries to get her in touch with the woman's sister, who is being detained at Ellis Island, according to eonline.com.
As Cotillard sat on a director’s chair in the center of the long meadow and extras gathered on benches at the side, parkgoers stood around in clumps, taking it all in while paparazzi clustered with telephoto lenses poised. (Some got lucky, there’s a really good photo of Phoenix and Cotillard here).
“It’s cool,” said Faith Prince, a 33-year-old nanny from Crown Heights who watched from the road. But, she added, “Bring Will Smith here and it will be better.”
I asked some of the extras how they liked Prospect Park, to which one replied, “It’s wonderful, but then again I live here.” He declined to give his name, but said he lives on Fifth Avenue and Garfield. (You can see a photo of him in the gallery).
Phoenix was in the trailer when I arrived, but I tried to get a photo of Cotillard. As I circled her from what I thought was safe distance, a large bodyguard deftly kept between me and the camera, while another staffer appeared to be filming me with her cell phone. That said, I managed to get one shot of a very annoyed looking Cotillard (see photo gallery).
I did get several shots of the bodyguard-less Angela Sarafyen, who plays the sister, according to a member of the film crew. And Park Slope editor Will Yakowicz got some great photos of the extras.
The crew and its dozens of trailers descended on Prospect Park on Monday and finished the filming Tuesday afternoon. They don’t have any other Brooklyn film spots, according to a crew member, though they will be filming on Ellis Island and Staten Island.
“This place has been crazy for the last couple of days,” said a jogger as she paused to watch the goings on. “Ah, New York,” she sighed.