'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen' crash lands on campus
A silver sports car sped down Washington Road, swerved and hit a student crossing the street, sending him flying onto the sidewalk.
The student then sprang to his feet, the car backed up, and, several minutes later, the whole scene played out again as cameras rolled throughout.
Paramount Pictures arrived in Princeton on Sunday afternoon with nearly a dozen large trucks lined up on University Place to film several scenes for "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" on campus. The movie is set for release next summer and is the sequel to "Transformers," the live-action film based on the popular kids' action figures.
Yesterday morning, police cars blocked off Washington Road as spectators gathered on the sidewalks, where they were constantly asked to stand back by film crew members. The film crew filmed several car chases and a crash on Washington Road, with many takes of each.
Some spectators were confused by the sports cars reversing quickly in succession on Washington Road.
"I saw this blue sedan sitting in the middle of the road, and I thought it was an accident," Michael McKoy GS said.
When McKoy realized he was on the set of "Transformers," he said he was excited.
"I'm definitely a big fan of the series. I had the bed sheets as a kid, and I actually just got a Megatron as a present," McKoy said.
By the evening, the film crew had moved to the archway connecting Dickinson Hall and the University Chapel, where the actors were acting out a scene in which they were shouting and talking with one another.
When not acting or racing, many of the film crew members were relaxing in director bar chairs. Megan Fox, who played a leading role in the first film, was seen with a crew member holding a black umbrella over her head as she leaned against Green Hall.
Shia LaBeouf, who plays lead character Sam Witwicky, sat around the set and drank Coke when not kicking around in a dark blue Cadillac Escalade, pretending to be chased or acting out scenes with his colleagues.
"I've heard that they're going to focus on the hero's college lifestyle, so I assume he's going to an Ivy League school," Keerthi Shetty '09 said. "I think it's interesting they'd film an action film on Princeton's campus. ‘A Beautiful Mind' was filmed here, and they're both different genres of movies."
Makeshift barricades were set up to prevent non-crew members from accessing the filming area, but some individuals were able to sneak past the crew members guarding the set.
"There were some townspeople trying to get into the scene. It was pretty funny," Rich Kao '10 said.
Elizabeth Berrue, 21, a Middlesex County resident, drove to Princeton with her sister just to see the crew film the movie.
"I know a lot of movies were filmed here. I think it's a nice spot. I can see why they picked it," she said. "It's a nice place; it's historical; it's a really pretty campus, pretty town."
Many onlookers said they were eager for the movie's release next June.
"I think it's really cool that we get to see how movies are made and the fact that the Princeton campus is going to be in another huge movie," Shetty said. "I think that's the first exciting thing that's happened this summer."
"I think it's pretty cool. It'll be cool to see it on the big screen," Steve Zoller '09 said.
Some were skeptical, though, as to whether the filmmakers could outdo the original "Transformers."
"I don't even know if it's possible to top the first one," Nick Carnes GS said.
More to come as shooting continues...