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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University December 5, 2005 | Vol. 35 No. 13
Lights, Camera: Hopkins Plays Role in Upcoming Kidman Film

By Lisa De Nike

Hollywood came to the Homewood campus last Tuesday, when a Warner Bros. Pictures team — and movie stars Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig — spent the day at Mudd Hall filming several scenes for a remake of the 1978 science fiction classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Titled The Visiting, the movie features Kidman as a Washington, D.C., psychiatrist who unearths a deadly alien viral epidemic and then realizes that her young son may hold the only key to stopping it. Craig, who recently was named the new James Bond and was featured in other popular movies such as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and The Road to Perdition, co-stars.

Oliver Hirschbiegel, whose 2005 film Downfall chronicled the last days of Adolf Hitler, directs the new film and visited campus one hot and humid afternoon last August in search of the perfect setting for various scenes in The Visiting. He found them in the Department of Biology laboratories of Professor Edward Hedgecock and research scientist J. Michael McCaffery. McCaffery is director of the Integrated Imaging Center.

McCaffery said that Kidman and her crew seemed to be as impressed by the university's scientific facilities as the onlookers were of the celebrities suddenly in their midst.

"Nicole was very interested in the images we had chosen to depict the 'alien' organism that is infecting the human race, what the images were (my secret!), how they were obtained, the science behind the work in generating the images, the differences between viruses and bacteria and how they replicate, and how diseases caused by viruses/bacteria are treated," said McCaffery, who also admitted that his dog, Forbes, struck up a friendship with the star during the seven-hour shoot.

Allen Shearn, chairman of the Department of Biology, also had a behind-the-scenes hand in the film. Several months ago, he and Hirschbiegel discussed the script's scientific aspects, making sure they were not too far-fetched.

"Afterwards, they sent me a copy of the entire script," Shearn said.

At the crew's request, Shearn gave up his first-floor office to Kidman for the day so she would have someplace quiet to rest between takes. According to Shearn, however, the Australian mega-star never availed herself of the facilities.

"I never saw her or anybody associated with the movie that day," he said.

The film, which is being shot in various locations in Baltimore, is expected to be released next year.


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