new Will Smith movie, I Am Legend, has been filming all over New York City the last few weeks, and I have run across the production a number of times. Today they happened to be shooting one block from my office, so I scampered over to try to get a better look at what was going on.

The production has shut down four blocks north and one block west on West Broadway, right above Ground Zero. They’re only there for the day, and they’re shooting a driving scene – a silver station wagon with black cloth over the windows. I’m assuming there are vampires inside.

What was interesting was the way the production had “post-apocalypized” the streets. Broken glass was scattered about, as were weeds and patches of grass. In true Hollywood magic fashion, when you were far away the vegetation looked like it was growing from the street and sidewalk, but when you got close you realized it was just sitting there. The station wagon was on the back of a flatbed truck, which was driving up and down West Broadway, so I imagine that the vegetation and other signs of decay – including construction boarding over windows covered in posters about biohazards (and a weird one that seemed to just say “Am I Violent?”) – will be background noise.

The trailers were parked just off West Broadway on Park Place, but I didn’t recognize the character names on the doors, and the names weren’t listed on IMDB. One of the trailers was for a female doctor character – perhaps someone more in touch with the source material will know who that is. I didn’t see a Will Smith trailer, but there was a truck with a gym in the back of it, where I assume the star keeps buff between takes.

The movie has a couple more weeks of location shooting and then moves to two different armories for interiors – one in the Bronx and one almost walking distance from my house in Brooklyn. I’m working on getting an official set visit, so we’ll see how that all shakes out.

(The image comes from Aint It Cool. I didn’t have my camera on me, but the sign pictured above was present on some of the construction boarding)