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Film crews take over emergency room at MMC
A simple sign is all that is needed to transport a film production from Louisiana to a Washington D.C. area hospital. Minden Medical Center emergency room doubled as North Virginia Medical Center for the action movie “Olympus Has Fallen.”
Getting onto a closed film set is often as difficult as breaching White House security. With "Olympus Has Fallen" – a film about a terrorist attack on that very same building – it could be both.
Friday, July 13, film crews took over the emergency room of Minden Medical Center, which doubled for North Virginia Medical Center. On Friday, MMC Marketing Coordinator Jennifer Spurlock said work had begun the day before.
"They came in yesterday for a little while and they replaced all the lighting inside," she said. "They'll come (Saturday) morning to redo the lighting back to normal."
During the shoot, the emergency room was fully functional, according to Spurlock.
"They might have had to go through a different door," she said. "Also, some of our real ER nurses are extras."
The film began production Monday, July 9, and crews had to scramble to back-up locations due to the recent unusual volume of rain. Typically, film productions keep indoor locations available in case of bad weather.
Friday was the only day the production will shoot in Minden, so its immediate economic impact may not be large. However director of economic development for Minden Pattie Odom said it could help in the future.
"When they come in to Minden for just a day or so, it's more the notoriety for having 10 plus films, filmed in Minden," she said.
"When a big production comes in and spends several days," Odom continued, "they get catering trucks, they hire local people, they spend money."
She expressed cautious optimism about the future of film production in Minden.
"We have several productions that are looking at Minden," Odom said. "One of them in particular that we hope will come, will base their production in Minden.
"We are working to try to assist with actually bringing production offices to town," she continued. "You hate to get people too excited. Some of these things take time. It doesn't happen over night."
Radha Mitchell (Pitch Black), who plays a nurse, was the only star shooting Friday.
The film also stars Gerard Butler (300), Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight), Ashley Judd (Missing), Cole Hauser (Pitch Black), Angela Bassett (Boyz N The Hood), Dylan McDermott (The Practice), Melissa Leo (The Fighter) and Rick Yune (The Fast and the Furious).
Butler and Eckhart have shot in the region before, Butler in "Playing the Field" and Eckhart in "Battle Los Angeles."