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Some of Hollywood’s brightest stars came to Morris Park in what may be the community’s largest film shoot ever.
Vintage cars that were supposed to replicate automobiles from the late 1960s were parked in front of Van Nest Lanes on 1756 Bronxdale Avenue, which was re-named the ‘Cosmic Lanes’ for a scene from the upcoming film Men in Black 3 staring Will Smith.
Smith was seen walking across Bronxdale Avenue to and from his trailer as filming took place from Monday, April 11 through Wednesday, April 13.
The Sony Pictures release will have the two main characters, played by Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, travel back in time to visit a younger version of Jones’s character.
For community children, the excitement of seeing a big name actor and star like Smith was a dream come true, and according to parents, Smith was very personable and stopped to shake hands with children.
“This man is one of the most gracious actors that I have ever come across,” said parent Tina Alessandro, whose daughter and son both got to meet Smith. “It was amazing and we got chills, with 100 kids following him as he was heading back into the bowling alley from a trailer.”
According to Alessandro, Smith approached over 100 youngsters who followed him back to Van Nest Lanes shortly after school had let out on April 11.
“He got in the middle of them without a problem and shook every one of their hands,” Alessandro said.
As filming wrapped up for the day on the first day of photography, a large crowd of people gathered across the street from the bowling alley on Bronxdale Avenue hoping to capture a glimpse of the world famous actor and musician.
According to sources, the interior of the lanes, which hasn’t changed much since it opened in 1960, was decorated even further in a 1960s décor, and street scenes with extras in 1960s style clothing were filmed on Bronxdale Avenue.
Many on the street felt that it was putting the Morris Park community on the map.
“I think this is really good for the community because it brings money to the community, and brings people out and restores civic pride,” said Chandni Rodriguez. “Maybe with the reputation of these filmmakers, it will be a lift to the image of the Bronx, which seems like the forgotten borough.”
Echoing these sentiments was Morris Park Community Association president Al D’Angelo.
“The Bronx does not get much of anything most of the time, so to have a major motion picture here definitely puts the Bronx on a map in a real positive way,” D’Angelo said. “The only way people think of the Bronx in film is with crime, with movies like Fort Apache: The Bronx, instead of thinking of all the decent people that live here and all we have to offer.”
The third installment of Men in Black series is scheduled for release on May 25, 2012.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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