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Ash visits the set of The Yank


I arrived in London after a 3 hour coach ride from where I live at about 10.30am and went straight to the place where I knew they'd be filming that day. This didn't go as swiftly has I had hoped, as the London underground was experiencing some problems and 2 of the main lines where not running because of it that weekend. This meant that I had to change lines 3 times, instead of taking the one underground that I had planned to. Anyway...I got at Fenchurch Street station about 11.00 and looked in and around the area if there was any sign of filming. After having looked around for about 20 mins, I was getting a bit disappointed at the thought of having travelled all this way and not find him there. after about 30 mins I was seriously thinking that I probably would not find him any time soon. It was a very beautiful day but very hot after walking circles in the area of the station. So I went back into the station and decided to look a bit further into the station...I asked a guy at the information desk if he had seen any film crew around here today. Thankfully, he had and pointed me straight to it!!! I started feeling relieved and slightly nervous at the same time as I follwed his directions- as they would be probably filming and wasn't sure if I would be allowed to even go anywhere near it. I kept on following his directions and...the guy was right. There were over 50 people (cast and crew) there at the end of the station (the main entrance) . As I kinda looked around...an older couple walking in front of me asked one of the crew (which seemed kinda cute- looked a bit like Jonathan Taylor Thomas, but with long hair lol) what was going on. And he said that they were shooting a film called "The Yank". I KNEW I was in the right place there and then....so I asked the guy straight away if Elijah was here. He seemed to be pleased that I knew about this film and gave a smile of approval and told me that Elijah should be out here in about 15 mins. *majorly happy at this point* I looked around me to see what was happening and the crew seemed to be setting up again, after they'd come back from what I assume was a short break. I was feeling alright and was determined to blend in and not to distract anyone. So I hid my camera underneath my coat that I was holding in order not to be noticed as much. As I waited around on the actual set...we (us regular folks) were told by security to move back a little, which we did as filming was about to commence. At this time there were a few people watching and asking the security people questions. So a male actor came upto me and asked me if I was there for Elijah. LOL! I told him that I was and asked him how he knew... he said that the photo camera gave me away- darn lol. Anyhoo...we had a bit of a chat about the film...and he turned out be a nice geezer (more about him later hehe).

After a few minutes...lots of people started appearing from a pub (quite far in front of me). I looked to see amongst all the actors who played hooligans, but NO sign of Elijah. Suddenly about 3 people appeared in front of me, from behind a van...and one of them was Elijah! I didn't even see him walking upto the van, until he was right before me *big shock-but tried to be cool- and non fan like lol. The van is like 5 meters away from me at this point. And there he was, standing next to it! Elijah gets inside the passenger seat of the van and sits there for a while...with the van window completely open, I can now only see his arm hanging out of the window as I stand there quietly. So that actor guy I spoke to earlier is standing next to Elijah and he looks at me...singalling that I should approach Elijah, either that or take pix of him. I was nervous...as I knew he was right, and that this could be my only opportunity to see him and take a pic. And this is what happened:

Ash: "Elijah!"
Elijah: "Yeah?!" *turns head my way*
Ash: "Hi" *smile*
Elijah: "Hi" *smiles back*
Ash: "How are you?"
Elijah: "Fine thanx".
Ash: "Would you mind if I took a picture of you?"
Elijah: "What's that?"
Ash: "Would you mind if I took a picture of you?"
Elijah: "Ok...you'll have to be quick though".
Ash: "Sure! Smile."
Elijah: *smiles as he poses*
Ash: *takes pic*
Ash: "Thank you so much".
Elijah: "You're welcome" *smiles*.
Elijah: *gets back into the van*

Here's the pic that I took then:

Without even realising...I now have this big grin on my face...and I realised that as I looked at the actor guy...which seemed to be really happy for me and gave me a thumbs up while he smiled at me. He was very nice....without him...I probably woudn't have taken a picture then...as I didn't know if i was allowed to or not....coz I'm a total chicken and don't like to attract any attention to myself what so ever lol. After having taken the photo, I continued to look and walk around in awe as I am very much interested in the film production process and used to study it jus a few years ago. I stood there and I spoke to a few cast and crew members, that came up to me and others that I recognised and approached. They were all very very nice and kindly chatted with me about the film mainly and also about me and what I do etc. They asked me if I was a passer-by or was here for another reason. I told them that I'm a fan of Elijah's work and thought that he was a great actor. Another crew member came into the conversation and the first crew member continued talking and said that Elijah was a really nice guy and then I said that he seems really nice as a person too and that I really admire him as an actor- I remember myself agreeing with one of them by saying "Oh yeah he's great". At this point Elijah is 4 meters away from me, chatting to a crew member about something-- I didn't even notice Elijah as the crew was really engaging and interesting to talk to. He kind of looked at us not sure if he realised that we were talking about him...I hope not, coz then I'd be quite embarrassed, but in a way I wouldn't mind coz then he'd know how much people actually like and respect him, crew and fans alike and not just coz he looks sweet or hot, but that people adore him for his work and think he's great to work with.

Having been there for about an hour or 2 now, I was told by one of the security people that the cast and crew would be going for lunch soon and that I could come back in an hour when they'd be back again. The cast and crew packed up their things and went into a pub nearby-the same one they came out of before. I'm not sure if the pub was open to everyone-though I did use the toilet once without anyone saying anything...but the cast and crew were not in there at th time. Plus it was quite small and there was alot of people from the film. That and the fact that I don't drink and following Elijah and co on their well deserved break had not even crossed my mind and would not have liked to at all anyway (chicken lol). I decided to ring a friend that works close to the station and have lunch with her. Forgetting that the underground was not working as it normally does, it turned out to be too much hassle and asked her to come and visit me on set after work. Having wasted almost the whole lunch hour arranging to meet with my friend and looking for a place to eat, break time was about to end soon. I managed to grab something to eat after finally finding something some edible food...I couldn't believe the number of cafes and restaurants that were closed during lunch in the area. Very strange. I came back on set after about 1 hour or so to find everyone and everything back in place as I left them before they packed up.

Shooting started again soon and I sat down to see more of Elijah in action. They seemed to be shooting 3 different scenes so far and each of them loads of times. Not because it kept going wrong, but probably just to have different versions on film from the different angles. It was really starting to get hot now and poor Elijah was shooting most of his scenes in a van that day. I kept moving on set in order not to get in the way of the crew too much and to stay out of camera shot. By now....I'm getting on well with security and I'm not being held back and asked to stand behind a line as most by-standers were and could watch from a bit closer. After a while...Elijah sits down on the stairs near me to have a fag, as he sits down two or three of his actor buddies follow him and sit down next to him and have a smoke also. Right now...I'm thinking...that I could actually maybe take a pic with him this time, but only after he's had a bit of a break and when his fellow actors are not around. So I waited for about 5 minutes and yep...it was worth the wait as the other 3 guys stood up and left, leaving Elijah alone on the stairs, with 2 other crew around who were sitting there with me before when I was there. So I decided to approach him and see what happens. This is what we kinda said, from what i remember:

Elijah and fellow actors preparing to shoot some fight scenes with stunt co-ordinator.

Ash: *approaches him slowly* "Hey...you look tired."
Elijah: "Yeah...I am...it's hard coming back to work after the weekend". (Elijah had a day off Friday= his weekend).
Ash: "Yeah....I understand. What time will you be finishing for today?"
Elijah: "Eeeerrmm...I think about 6.30/ 7.00?"
Ash: Wow...thats long." (I found out they'd been there since 7am)
Elijah: *Nodds* "It is..."
Ash: "Could I take a picture with you?"
Elijah: "Sure!" *stands up*
Ash: *Hands camera to a member of staff who agreed to take the picture, who happened to be sitting next to him*
-We both walked in different directions as if we were taking 2 separate pix lol ....but met in the middle of the stair case when we realised and had a tiny giggle about it. He's standing one stair higher than I am.
-We posed for the picture and the pic was taken.
Ash: "Thanx Elijah"
Elijah: "Ur welcome" *big smile and sits back down*
Ash: "I'm a huge fan of yours"
Elijah: "Ooohh thank you."
Ash: "So how many more days until you stop filming here?"
Elijah: "About a week here and then I'll go back home."
Ash: "Oookay...and you're gonna finish the rest of the filming there then?"
Elijah: *nodds* "Thats right."
Ash: "Great stuff :)....so when will you start filming 'Everything is Illuminated'?"
Elijah: "That's in June, we'll start that in June."
Ash: "And thats gonna be in Prague right?"
Elijah: *a somewhat flattered smile* "Yes! That's going to be exciting, coz I've never been to Prague before, so really excited about that."
Ash: *nodds...running out of things to say or ask* *nervous smile*
Elijah: *smiles and nodds in the exact same way*
Ash: "I had like a million questions prepared, that I was gonna ask you, but... *super nervous smile- by now I don't know why I'm actually THIS nervous*
Elijah: "Aaaaawww...that's soo sweet." *big smile*
*silence*
*someone from the crew calls Elijah*
He then looked at me with the BIGGEST smile I've ever seen him do as he walked passed me. :)

And here it is, me and Elijah... but I've cut myself out of it coz I look kinda goofy lol...but thats my shoulder. I'm wearing a black top and a pink t-shirt underneath.

There were plenty ofshops just inside the train station, 2 toilets (both very close, one in the pub that I used once and another one in the station) so hanging out on set was quite relaxed. As I came back from the stations' toilets one time, I saw that people were not allowed to go passed there doors to go outside and that they were waiting until they were told that they could go out. So I just waited and heard one little girl (about 7 or 8 years old) saying that she loved Frodo more than anything else in the world to her parents and everyone who was listening. So her parents asked the security how much longer they had to stay in and he said about another 2mins but the parents couldn't be bothered to wait and left...which I though was a little sad, coz the little girl hadn't even seen him. Aaw well...I guess she got over it as she went along with them quite happily. As the number of people waiting to go out increased, one guy asked me what film they were filming. Though there was other crew around there...I answered him and explained what the film will be about. So he then asked me, with a bit more interest if anyone famous was in it and I told him Elijah Wood is in this film. He then said "Frodo Baggins from the Shire" LOL! Later on....I was sitting on a stairs where some extras and 2 passers-by were sitting and got to talking with one of the female extras. We chatted for a bit and she then asked me if I work/study around the area. I told her that I had travelled quite a bit actually to see Elijah. It was clear that she did not know who Elijah Wood was or how he looks like lol and looked even more puzzled when I told her that I wasn't from London even. So I showed her by pointing at Elijah. She then asked me if he was famous and I said that he was and that he is in The Lord Of The Rings films...can't remember if she'd heard of it or not.

Later that afternoon when the sun went down a bit and it became a bit cooler, fight scenes were being shot. It was really very exciting to watch how these things are filmed and how they took place. Obviously I won't spoil the storyline for you by telling you everything I saw or the dialogue that I heard that was being said, but here was one particular scene where Elijah basically starts the fight and seems to be winning from this other hooligan, but that soon ends has the other guys' fellow hooligans come to their friend's rescue and beat the cr*p out of Elijah's character. This is not real obviously though it looked pretty convincing even for me who was standing only a few meters away, but that just adds to the quality of the actors and the stunt co-ordinator I think :) But no worries as all the actors that were fighting wore protection down under lol. Very entertaining to watch him film and rehearse that. Elijah joked around alot during the rehearsals of some of the scenes...a real clown...everyone was laughing.

Here he is discussing something with the stunt co-ordinator. He walked right upto where I was standing, so close that I took a few steps back lol.

After having Lexi Alexander (the director) walking passed me a few times, I actually got up the courage to just try and talk to her casually, since she was practically standing next to me. I approached her and just asked to doubble check if she was Lexi Alexander to which she responded that she was. So I told her that it was nice to meet her and she said that it was nice to meet me too *aaw*. So I wanted to ask her a few questions about the film, but decided to limit it to 1 question and be casual lol. I asked her about what the title of the film is actually going to be...since I had heard 2 titles. She told me that Hooligans was the old title after I had asked her if it was true that it would be called Hooligans in other countries outside the UK...and if the film now everywhere will be called "The Yank". I was also around Charlie most of the day, but I never went upto him though, didn't know enough about him to strike up a convo with him, though he seemed nice...he was walking around and together with some other cast members.

Still in the van.

Something really weird happened and I'm not sure exactly what it was about, but as I was standing inside the station...and filming seemed to be on a very short break some guy came running from the set to the inside of the station running up a long escalator as fast as he could. We were all looking at him and wondering what he had done as he stormed from the set (obviously running away from someone). Seconds later...Charlie and one of the other main actors of the film follwed him up the escalator and so did a few of the production team. We were all a bit amazed and wondered what had happened. I guess we'll never know as they came back down again after about a minute or so. So when Charlie and the other actor came down again and went outiside on set... Elijah asked one of them and said something like 'Are you being serious?' and you could tell from his face that he was gob smacked. But I still don't know what happened, just found it a bit weird...like they were chasing the guy. I don't know.

Here's just a pic of the crew, Lexi Alexander is the one sitting down on the left. You don't see Elijah on this picture, but he is still in the van...poor guy.

Anyway...I was there for SUCH along time...that some people actually thought I was part of the extras and there were only 2 female extras lol. One time...that cute guy from the crew (the JTT look-alike) came up to me...and said that Lexi wanted me to change into my other set of clothes LOL. But I told him that I wasn't an extra- too bad. And just daydreamed for a second what it would be like to to work with Elijah since I've always wanted to become an actress when I was younger. Another time...during one of the breaks...a girl from the crew was handing out sandwiches and cakes to cast and crew and also asked me if I wanted (from the same tray as Elijah- if you must know heh)....I told her that I wasn't part of the cast but she wanted me to take one anyway. I could hear Elijah had a banana sandwich or something in the background and that he found it "Delicious" he said. During filming, we once had to move completely out of the camera's range, so far that we couldn't see anything at all, except Elijah jumping out the van in mid scene when he runs back out of our view again, but I didn't really mind as I could do with a little break in the shade myself lol. So I decided to sit down- quite far away from cast and crew and got the book that I brought to read in times of boredom or break out of my bag...yes I came prepared lol. But it didn't last long as everyone took a break (without packing up) around set and almost all of the actors playing hooligans and production team came to sit down opposite to where I was sitting on the curb. So I shoved the book right back in my bag again wanting to sit somewhere less intimidating lol- tho I'm sure they're nice people in real life lol. This is when one of the production people came upto me again (same as before) as he too was having a tea break and just chatted for the remaining of the break about the film and lots of other stuff...he was really nice as we just chatted and joked around all the time, pretty cool.

I could see Elijah...all the time from where I was sitting/standing about 90% of the time that day...I moved to different places to get a good view....and 1 time we had this really long eye contact, not that I'm crazy about him in a fan girl kinda way, but still lol...he was about 15 meters away from me then.

The pix that I had taken are during rehearsals and breaks, except for the one where Elijah is clearly posing after I had asked him to and he kindly agreed, he's such a sweetheart he really is. I wish other celebs were as down to earth as him, I've met a few musicians that I like and well...they seemed kinda snotty around fans (that's probably the way they always are) but he was just really sweet throughout the 7 hours that I was there to me and everybody. All in all I just had an AMAZING day and one that I will probably remember for a very long time...all thanx to a wonderful guy called Elijah (and cast+crew of course :)

-x-
Ash.

 
 
 


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