Frigid temperatures didn’t stop a group of spectators from forming around the edges of a movie set in Washington Tuesday.
Most of the spectators were women, and almost all of them were there in order to catch a glimpse of lead actor Channing Tatum. Many had been gathered around the set in the parking lot of Citizens Library as early as 5 a.m.
“I just want to see Channing,” said Katie Frank, a 19-year-old freshman at Washington & Jefferson College. “I love him. I want to tell all my friends I saw him from 30 yards away.”
Frank, of Scenery Hill, said this wasn’t her first movie set. Although she had been to the set of “Abduction” and had seen Taylor Lautner, she was much more excited to see Tatum.
“I’ll just be speechless,” Frank said.
Tatum is in town along with Mark Ruffalo shooting scenes for a movie entitled “Foxcatcher,” which is expected to be released in 2013. Bennett Miller, who received an Academy Award nomination for the movie “Moneyball,” is the director of this true-life story about two brothers who earned gold medals in wrestling during the 1984 Olympics.
For the film, the parking lot of Citizens Library was converted into the outside of a gymnasium. The outdoor scene called for authentic era vehicles, which is what brought Sam Norling to the set.
“I had my car advertised for sale in AutoTrader, and I get a call asking if I wanted it to be in a movie,” Norling said.
Norling made the trip from his home in New Middletown, Ohio, for $125 and gas reimbursement. After he got into town about 7 a.m., crew members fitted his 1981 light blue Monte Carlo with retro license plates and parked it alongside other vehicles of that era.
He said the 1.5-hour, 75-mile trip was worth it.
“It’s in a pretty good location,” Norling said. “I think you’ll be able to see it in the movie.”
W&J student Samara Silverstein, 19, from Charleston, W.Va., said she hoped for an autograph from Tatum.
“I want him to sign my yearbook,” Silverstein said. “We seriously brought our yearbooks. We didn’t know what else to ask him to sign.”
Not all of the women gathered at the corner of East Cherry and Shaefer avenues were recent high school graduates. Jennifer Markley, 39, of Washington said she had been rearranging her schedule all week in hopes of meeting the “Magic Mike” star. The general manager of LA’s Sports Grille on East Maiden Street, Markley was really hoping for a celebrity endorsement.
“I know in Latrobe he went to a local sports bar,” Markley said. “I would love him to come to our place for some wings.”
The marketing strategy worked well for Markley. Although she didn’t get to meet Tatum, she did persuade Ruffalo’s driver to allow her to bring a few boxes of wings and some T-shirts to his trailer. She said set workers also came to the restaurant for lunch.
“I’m not disappointed,” Markley said. Tatum “was still working. Mark was able to eat because he was finished.
“They said Tatum loves shirts from local places and that he’ll definitely wear the shirt.”
Eventually, fans were able to see Tatum filming several takes of a scene in which he walks from a side door of the library to his car. In 34-degree weather, the actor showed dedication to the scene, sporting only a T-shirt and gym shorts.
W&J student Alexis Allan, 21, from Lower Burrell, said the long wait was well worth it for a glimpse of her favorite actor.
“Scene nine of ‘Magic Mike’ is one of the most magical, provocative things I’ve ever seen,” Allan said. “I did not care about the Batman movie. I’m solely here for Tatum.”