Fan­tasy and re­al­ity clash with film­ing of ‘Won­der Woman 84’

The Washington Post Sunday - - LOCAL OPINIONS - THE DIS­TRICT BY MICHAEL E. RUANE michael.ruane@wash­

The old black taxi cruised past the or­ange Volk­swa­gen Beetle, made a U-turn on I Street and pulled up be­hind a vin­tage Mercedes-Benz.

A crowd of ex­tras, in­clud­ing a body­builder wear­ing blue satin pants, a dude in pink short-shorts and a woman on roller skates with green hair, crossed the street, headed for the food tent.

A man go­ing in the other di­rec­tion cra­dled a pink Chi­huahua in his arms, but they weren’t part of the movie.

“Where are we?” asked a passerby on a rented bi­cy­cle.

Wash­ing­ton’s McPher­son Square on a lovely Sat­ur­day, where past and present met as film­mak­ers re-cre­ated the gaudy 1980s while the weird re­al­ity of 2018 hov­ered just out of frame.

As an old pow­der-blue-andwhite D.C. po­lice “prop car” sat nearby, real po­lice sirens echoed in the dis­tance, a home­less woman sat on the side­walk, and peo­ple on Seg­ways waited at an in­ter­sec­tion.

Word was that the crew was film­ing part of the Won­der Woman movie se­quel, “Won­der Woman 84.” Sight­ings of ac­tors Chris Pine, Kris­ten Wiig and Gal Gadot have been re­ported around the D.C. area for the past few weeks.

On Sat­ur­day, a scene was be­ing shot with the old cars on I Street. How­ever, ac­cess was blocked by se­cu­rity peo­ple, and it was not clear what was go­ing on.

A man driv­ing a 1979 red Pon­tiac Trans Am prop car said, “You’ll want to watch this.”

But af­ter an hour, not much had hap­pened.

By­s­tanders con­gre­gated on street cor­ners, only to be shooed away by se­cu­rity peo­ple who warned that the cu­ri­ous could ruin the shots.

“We can see you,” a se­cu­rity per­son told on­look­ers.

Jacky Ca­sum­bal, 36, a Dis­trict psy­chother­a­pist, paused while out get­ting lunch and asked, “Have there been any sight­ings?”

“Gal Gadot is the main [ac­tress],” she said. “She’s gor­geous, strik­ingly beau­ti­ful . . . . She was in the most re­cent Bat­man with Ben Af­fleck . . . . Won­der Woman, the first one, is ex­cel­lent. It’s re­ally, re­ally good. It’s very fe­male-em­pow­er­ing.”

She said at first she was an­noyed at the pri­vate-se­cu­rity peo­ple block­ing the streets. Then she re­mem­bered that film­ing was un­der­way in the city and that there had been “sight­ings.”

“Once I paid at­ten­tion and looked up to what was hap­pen­ing, I was like, ‘Oh my God. They’re film­ing the movie.’ So I was like, ‘Let me re­lax and . . . be nosy.’ ’’

“I don’t know how this works,” she said as she stood on the cor­ner of 15th and I Streets. “You just wait un­til some­thing hap­pens, and maybe you see some­one fa­mous . . . . Then you post it on Face­book.”

Later, Cristina Mer­cu­rio, 49, paused on a bike with some friends in the in­ter­sec­tion, where the street was closed to traf­fic.

“What movie is it?” she asked Robert Pence, who was snap­ping pic­tures.

“Won­der Woman II,” replied Pence, who said he was a dis­tant cousin of the vice pres­i­dent.

“Oooh, it’s Won­der Woman,” Mer­cu­rio called to her friends.

“Have we seen her?” Mer­cu­rio asked. “Have we seen Gal Gadot?”

The ques­tion went unan­swered. A se­cu­rity man ap­proached: “It’s fine to stay where you are for now,” he said. “But when we do start the film­ing, we’re go­ing to have to ask you to go to the side­walks.”

Nearby, Jason Wal­ston, 37, from Front Royal, Va., sat in the square un­der a tree, play­ing his gui­tar. He said he was the owner of one of the prop cars, an ’87 Cadil­lac Brougham.

He said he saw an ad on Face­book seek­ing old cars for a movie: “If you’ve got an ’80s model or ’70s model car, show up,” he said. So he did.

His car — gun­metal color with a black top — was in use as a parked car. “They’ve been mov­ing it around,” he said.

The movie peo­ple are pay­ing him $325 a day for use of the car. Plus, it might make the movie. If so, he said, he’ll get to go see the film and brag: “That’s my car!”

“I was like, ‘Oh my God. They’re film­ing the movie. So I was like, ‘Let me re­lax and . . . be nosy.’ ’’ Jacky Ca­sum­bal, a passerby ob­serv­ing the Won­der Woman movie set


A prop car used in the film­ing of the Won­der Woman se­quel was parked near McPher­son Square down­town Sat­ur­day. Vin­tage cars helped trans­port the area back into the 1980s.

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