A film crew parked its trucks along the shoulder of Route 155 west of Havre de Grace Tuesday morning and began to unload equipment, as traffic slowed to crawl and police tried to direct everything.
The crew was setting up for a location shot for the Netflix series "House of Cards," which has been filming, and creating a lot of buzz, in and around Harford County.
Tuesday's shoot took place in a field on the Hopkins Farm at the corner of Route 155 and Aldino Road. Marvin Ruffin, assistant location manager, said the crew would be moving into downtown Havre de Grace later that afternoon, shooting at the "old town hall" on Union Avenue.
Shooting is scheduled for Wednesday morning in Havre de Grace, city officials were told Monday night. A general casting call has also been scheduled for Sunday at the Bel Air Reckord Armory.
"'House of Cards' has been a great boom for the county," Harford County Economic Development Director Jim Richardson wrote in an e-mail Monday. "While we don't have exact numbers to date, we know that they have leased 15,000 square feet of office space and over 130,000 square-feet of warehouse to conduct their operations."
Havre de Grace shoot
For a few brief hours Wednesday morning, downtown Havre de Grace is expected to be turned into a small Southern town for the purposes of the new show "House of Cards."
And on Sunday in Bel Air, there is an open call for prospective cast members scheduled for the Bel Air Reckord Armory.
Three members of the crew came out to the Havre de Grace City Council meeting Monday night and were given the council's blessing to film there.
City Tourism Manager Brigitte Peters said she has been working with the production company, which filed a special event application to film downtown.
The show, which will be on Netflix and deals with politics in Washington, D.C., has been filming throughout Baltimore and has set up studios in Harford County at a location the company has been trying to keep private.
Don Hug, production manager for "House of Cards," said the crew will come into town at 5 a.m. on Washington Street, starting in the area near Bourbon Street and running through Green Street.
"The town itself is going to play for a smaller town in South Carolina," Hug explained. "It's very quaint, of course, so that's why we're doing the town."
Hug was at the council meeting along with location assistants Rhea Young and Ruffin.
He said the shoot will last until about 11 a.m. and will involve about 25 extras, 20 cars, the camera crew and a "camera car" (the vehicle that holds the camera to get a general shot of entering the town).
Some other changes would also be made, such as banners that would be taken down that have "the wrong name on it for the town," Hug said.
Councilman Joseph Smith asked about business access to the area, as he is getting ready to open a business at Congress Avenue and Washington Street.
The crew replied people would be able to enter and exit businesses.
Council President Randy Craig suggested an alternate rain date provided to the council in advance, in case of heavy rain.
"Thank you for choosing our beautiful city and you're more than welcome back any time," Mayor Wayne Dougherty told the crew members.
Councilman Bill Martin said later he saw how the crew re-did the city's old city hall, and said it looks great, joking that residents should get decorating tips from the film crew.
Casting call in Bel Air
"Cards" crew will cast union and non-union extras, with a possibility of recurring or featured roles, this weekend.
The open casting calls will be 3 to 8 p.m. Sunday at the Bel Air Armory at 41 N. Main St.
The following characters will be cast: hill staffers, aides and reporters, 21 to 34 years old, all ethnicities, male and female; politicians, lobbyists and reporters, 40 to 60 years old, all ethnicities, male and female; elegant Washington types, 40 to 60 years old, all ethnicities, male and female; teenagers, young men and women ages 18 and older, according to a news release.
"Business attire is required for the call," the release stated. "Bring a current headshot. If no headshot, a current snapshot is satisfactory."
If unable to attend, hopefuls can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with a jpeg photo labeled with your name and current phone number. In the body of the e-mail include clothing sizes, height and weight.
The cast and crew have also been eating at local restaurants and staying in hotels in the county, according to Richardson, of the county economic development office.
"Casting in Bel Air will ensure they are able to get extras for shots in the county, although they will be using the extras for a church scene to be filmed in Aberdeen," Richardson continued. "Some may be picked up on a longer term basis for more scenes in the production."
Harford County and other locations in Maryland are "an excellent place to film," Richardson wrote. "We do have most of what they need in a very short distance and we have the Washington connection without the cost of Washington."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun