Insider Fun Tidbits of the Filming of Untouchables in Philly

The movie Untouchables (or Untouchable cause it’s been written both ways in the press) rolled into town the first week of February, which was perfect timing for me as it gets slow around these parts for me in the winter months between social seasons.

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The very first day they set up shop filming scenes inside the former Family Court soon to be a Kimpton hotel, a friend was nice enough to tip me off and off I was running, literally. I was in the middle of lunch with my friend Phyllis, at our favorite Little Pete’s. I didn’t finish lunch, I dropped a twenty and I was off. Not knowing the schedule, I wasn’t sure if this would be the only time I would catch the stars, Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston filming, and so it’s important I get them as soon as I can as to reference them for the rest of their stay if I needed too. Fans photos are great, but I like to use my own when possible.  The first thing I noticed was the security for the set was much more relaxed than in years gone by, which was great. There’s nothing worse than being constantly harassed and threatened by security. I’m there to get a few shots, and then I’m gone, as is most photographers that wander onto the scene. Usually the actors are wearing the same outfit for the entire day, so you only need a couple shots. Kevin Hart obliged, and was a nice guy to boot.  That’s his assistant next to him, and a film PA or production assistant behind him.

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Here are the extras having lunch. Casting was done by Heery-Loftus, so if you want to be in a film shot in Philly, contact them.

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Over the weekend a reader was nice enough to tip me off to Monday’s filming. It was going to be a car scene on Broad Street and 16th Street. Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston were in the scene. Untouchables is one of those movies set in NYC, but filmed in Philly because we have, and we are trying to keep our Film Tax Credit (FTC). Sharon Pinkenson, and the Greater Philadelphia Film Office have done an awesome job at procuring films for our area. The FTC are a real value to our are as moving making generates jobs, as well as the local economy as cast, crew and others need hotel rooms and food.

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Monday I headed to the set at 730AM, which was a job in itself as I am a night owl. I went to Broad Street, and it was quiet. There was no sign the road would be closed so I started questioning myself if this was really happening, because if you don’t have “The Call Sheet” which spells out the days schedule, then you are relying on tips. I did see the no parking signs, so that was a good sign. I remembered that in the afternoon they were filming on Arch Street so I ran over there. Yep there were cars lined up to film a driving scene. This is my favorite photo.
Kevin Hart is driving the car with Bryan Cranston in the passenger seat. Kevin made a left from Arch onto Broad Street. The guy in the middle of the street recognizes Hart. It was so great.

It was hard to shoot the celebs as they stayed in the car the whole time, and the sun was streaming on half their face. I wonder if they’re going to re-shoot these scenes. See the camera on the dashboard, then it was transported via wifi to the camera van that was driving behind their car. I got a good work out chasing the car down Broad and up 16th street, enough that Kevin Hart and his team noted I was the energizer bunny. It was amazing to see how they filmed this scene without closing the road. Two police cars, which the production pays for, lead the Ferarri, and then 2 vans followed the car as they made the loop City Hall to right on Spruce, then right on 16th to Market and another right back to Broad Street.

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In the evening it was easier to get shots of the two as they were filming them exiting and entering the car


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Although one serious moment ensued when during the filming, note the extra on the right, a real life Fed ex delivery guy didn’t realize they were filming a move and walked right into the scene and opened the door to make the day’s delivery. It was fairly obvious that a film was filming there but you know neither snow or rain will stop, oh wait ….

HD1_4025 (Large) (Custom)Kevin Hart and Brian Cranston were so awesome on the set.

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Posing for the photographers, a paparazzo actually came down from NYC as well, selfies with fans, and signed for grafters.

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OH boy another crazy funny thing, this autograph seeker brought photos for Kevin Hart to sign, except one of them was of Meek Mills. Kevin Signed it “I’m not Meek Mills” and also signed it with his own name. That’s unique. The graph guy said it was just a bit of deslexyness cause the duo had just taken in the Sixers game the night before and he accidentally grab Meek’s picture as well.

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Kevin Hart’s wife Eniko Parrish stopped by the first day

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Pia Mechler

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she plays the art gallery owner,

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which is where the Monday night shoot took place in the Center for Architecture

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Monday night Julianna Margulies arrived on the set, it was a surprise since she wasn’t listed on the IMDB, which is the official list of who’s who in the movie. But I was ready as I had heard she was coming.  (They’re just like us, they carry their own luggage)


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Tuesday and Wednesday filming moved to the Hyatt at the Bellevue. Thanks for the great photo.


Kevin posted this shot to his instagram, it’s a scene from the movie. Did you know that Brian Cranston’s character
is in a wheelchair and Kevin Hart is his caretaker, Dell. This scene is in the classy XIX restaurant. Also in this scene is Julianna Margulies
who goes on a date with Cranston’s character Phillip.

As I mentioned on the CBSPhilly piece, men’s photos don’t get picked up as much as the women’s. The NYC paparazzo did get a placement in People Mag online of Kevin and Brian from Monday’s shoot in Tuesday column. And here is my first placement in the celebrity column SandraRose. I do this for the local press, to keep my readers informed and. When I worked and things were going on outside, I definitely was curious, so it’s exciting for me to be able to satisfy curiosities. I know people want to know how much these photos are worth, anywhere from $50 to $100 if you can get a placement in People or a magazine of that level. Photographer’s make their money on repeated sales.
There are photos I took years ago, that still sell.

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CBSPhilly called me last week and wanted to do a profile on me and the film, and insider secrets.

Thanks Mike for your awesome camera work.

I told them it would be a long day, but Tori Woodill was a willing participant and I think the piece was amazing. Nearly 5 hrs of shooting paid off with a Brian Cranston interview. Interviews of cast during the filming of a movie are nearly impossible to get, but she got a fun tidbit.



So fun

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Here are a few pixs that didn’t hit the airwaves. The extras leaving the set and heading to “Holding” for lunch.

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Brian Cranston doesn’t have handlers or an entourage. He locks his own trailer.

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Kevin Hart wasn’t on the set that day, I only saw Brian. And although Juliana was on the set I never saw her.


I was nervous about Thursday’s shoot with the 6 – 10 inches of snow predicted. But it never happened. It was cold as heck though. My instincts told me to head to the set about 9AM, I wanted to catch extras roaming about, but most stayed inside. I got two, here’s one grabbing a smoke.


Across the street at the minor stars trailers, a PA was sweeping the snow off the trailer steps. In the CBS segment you saw Desi and Lucy, they are the middle doors in the trailer.


Anther extra. On Thursday they filmed an opera scene with Kevin and Brian. Extras tell me it was hysterical, and the shoot went a little longer
than usual as some of the scenes seemed to be ad libbed, and Kevin was playing comedian, not a far stretch, to Brian’s straight man. They loved it.

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After about 30 minutes Kevin exited the Kimmel Center to go back to his trailer, and I was able to grab this shot. I left right afterwards cause I saw the snow in the trees, and it was also freezing.

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Friday afternoon and evening the Untouchables headed to Kensington. Production was slow as the neighborhood turned out to greet Kevin Hart. Often times during the filming people would shout out their love for Kevin, and production would have to stop. The crowd would get quiet, but then it would happen again. The production folks tell me it wasn’t a problem, and it was a great shoot. Kevin tried to pose with as many of the fans as possible through out the day.


This past week the production moved to NYC to film exteriors. Here they are at 60th and Park. They also filmed in Tribeca, and in Central Park at the Ice Skating Rink. They’re still in NYC til the middle of next week when they return to the Philly area. Nicole Kidman who is also in NYC this week filming with Kevin and Brian, will be here to film her scenes, but not in Philly, in Bucks County, then at Sun Center Studios. I have heard they will be returning to the streets of Philly to shoot three more times. Then they’re done, but what fun I had. It’s great to see PhillyWood’s bright lights.