There were telltale signs along 3rd Avenue this morning near E Street as I walked from my car to the Hilton. Large equipment trailers, classic cars and giant reflectors let anyone who passed by know that filming of "The Frozen Ground" was about to take place.
After I finished my assignment, I lingered across the street to see what I could see. While my toes were freezing, I thought about how few photos of the big stars we've been able to get in this movie and during filming of "Big Miracle" (then known as "Everybody Loves Whales.") We were zero-for-Drew Barrymore and John Krasinski in that one, though Bob Hallinen got a shot of Ted Danson. During "Frozen Ground," Bill Roth got a shot of John Cusack from across the street. All in all, it sure seemed like the big names did a good job of hiding in plain sight.
That's not an accident. Access is restricted. I would say that one important difference between a news photographer and a paparazzi is the lengths he or she is willing to go to get a photo of a celebrity. I waited around to get a picture of Nicolas Cage because the fact is this movie being filmed about this subject matter in this city is certainly news. It's appropriate to record and reflect that.
However, I'm not willing to camp out on the fringe of the shooting location for days at a time and irritate the cast and crew. Our photo editor would agree that would be unprofessional and a waste of time.
On Tuesday, though, I had a few minutes to take a look. I could see Cage through a window and thought I'd wait for him to come outside. Apparently I chose the wrong spot. A gentlemen who introduced himself as the AD came across the street to see me and politely let me know I was in the actor's "line of sight" during the scene. He wasn't got to try to stop me from making a picture when the actor came outside afterward, he said, but requested that I move down a bit. I was happy to oblige.
He got his shot and I got mine.
"The Frozen Ground" wraps up filming this week in Anchorage. You can browse our gallery from the filming of this movie here, and you can see some archival photos from the real-life Hansen case here.