The next stop on this train is… Hollywood?
Film crews took over a platform at South Station on Tuesday to film scenes for the star-studded movie “Don’t Look Up,” with A-listers Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio stopping by the Boston transportation hub shortly after noon.
Crews began setting up early in the morning, with filmmakers using an Acela train parked on Track 7 to film scenes for Adam McKay’s comedy about two low-level astronomers (Lawrence and DiCaprio) who must warn the world about a giant asteroid hurtling toward Earth.
The action started to pick up at around 10:45 a.m., when approximately 30 extras playing passengers were admitted in waves to the Acela train used for filming, with crews also loading plexiglass barriers on board beforehand.
Dozens of fans lined the platform entrance, with many waiting hours for a brief glimpse at any of the film’s stars.
Besides DiCaprio and Lawrence, “Don’t Look Up” will feature Meryl Streep, Timothée Chalamet, Rob Morgan, Cate Blanchett, Jonah Hill, Matthew Perry, Tomer Sisley, Himesh Patel, Tyler Perry, Melanie Lynskey, and Ron Perlman, as well as singer Ariana Grande and rapper Kid Cudi.
While the majority of the crowd were college students, others were nearby office workers or neighborhood residents stopping by during a lunch break or a morning stroll. There were a number of MBTA and Keolis employees on hand as well, with one conductor who didn’t want her name used saying she was keeping an eye out for DiCaprio on her break.
Mike and Sarah, a couple who live near the station, said they hoped to catch a glimpse of Grande before their morning Zoom meetings.
“I gotta log in soon unfortunately,” said Mike, who works at Liberty Mutual. “But it’s nice out, and I didn’t leave the house yesterday, so why not?”
Others were in it for the long haul. Cedar Kiyes, a student at UMass-Amherst, and her friend Saville woke up at 3:30 a.m. to drive from their homes in the Berkshires. They started their day by doing laps around the building before permanently parking themselves outside the automatic doors onto the train tracks.
“We’re really hoping to see Leo,” Kiyes said shortly before 10 a.m. “But if we see any of them, I’d be happy.”
Due to COVID protocols, South Station looked a bit different than your average film set. Sanitation stations were set up in multiple locations, most crew members wore face shields, and there were separate bathrooms for what Netflix calls Red Zone personnel — actors who would be unmasked on set and the crew members who had to be near them.
By noon, the crowd had swelled in size, with fans hugging the wall near the doors to compare notes on vantage points and what other filming locations they should visit. Prior to Tuesday’s filming, “Don’t Look Up” shot additional scenes in Downtown Boston, as well as Framingham and Salisbury. Most recently, the crew filmed at Wheaton College in Norton on Monday before the torrential rain, according to the Sun Chronicle.
Finally, at around 12:15, the crowd’s patience was rewarded. First came DiCaprio, in a beard and glasses, slowly strolling to awaiting crews on Track 7. As crowds craned their necks and lifted their phones to capture an image of DiCaprio, Lawrence followed shortly after, with crew members attempting to shield the star with umbrellas. The actress sported a mustard yellow sweater and bright red hair, as well as a face shield.
The two stars were out of sight in less than a minute. But many in the crowd were happy with whatever they could get.
“It was definitely worth it,” Saville said. “I feel like this is mission accomplished.”
Averil Carmine, a stay-at-home mom who stopped by with her dog Lacy after getting a note about filming left on her South Street residence, was a little more grounded about the whole experience.
“Getting older, it loses some of its appeal,” Carmine said. “You realize they’re people just like us, but with different jobs.”