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Columbia Spectator Staff

From the Olsen twins to Ewan McGregor, Columbia's campus this month has been home to several celebrities and film crews this week.


Three major-studio movies are currently being filmed on campus, and disruptions to academic life have become routine. But both students and Hollywood types are getting used to Columbia on the big screen.


"It's weird, it's like every film in New York is doing something at Columbia!" said Allen Baine, a producer currently working on campus.


The most prominent disruption was the orange crane situated on College Walk outside of Dodge Hall last week.


The crane was being used to hold lighting equipment for the shooting of an independent film. The film P.S., based on the book by Helen Schulman, a writing teacher at Columbia.


The film is produced by Hart-Sharp entertainment. Jeff Sharp, graduated with an MFA from Columbia's Graduate Film Division of the School of the Arts.


The crew for P.S. has completed filming four out of the nine total days that they will film on campus. Although they have been filming exclusively in Dodge, the movie will also shoot scenes elsewhere on Columbia's campus.


Baine, the film's co-producer, said that it has been "sort of difficult to coordinate shooting with classes," but he acknowledged that the university comes first, and said that, overall, things have been running quite smoothly.


The film crew is currently shooting scenes on the fourth floor of Dodge, and the huge lights that were angled to shine in the windows of Dodge were used to "maintain the appearance of daylight," Baine said.


The release date for the film has not been set, but filming is in week two out of five, not all of which will take place at Columbia.
Dylan Kidd is the director of P.S., which is the story of a middle-aged Columbia admissions officer who, according to Hart-Sharp's web site, "stumbles into a fairy tale when she is reunited with a high school boyfriend who died years before and has been reincarnated as a 24-year old dreamboat."


Vanity Fair called the book "dark, funny, and sexy" and an "an all-too-knowing excavation of our deepest desires."


According to the web site, Schulman teaches in the MFA program at Columbia. She is the author of two other novels, Out of Time and The Revisionist, as well as a collection of short stories entitled Not a Free Show.


Two other major movies are also being made on Columbia's campus. Stay, starring Ewan McGregor, quietly took up several floors of Lerner filming a scene last week, rerouting students trying to access the first floor ramp for several hours.


Stay is a thriller based on Ewan McGregor's character, a psychologist at Columbia who tries to stop one of his students, played by actor Ryan Gosling, from committing suicide.


In addition, students were informed this weekend that low-flying helicopters would be swooping around this morning to take aerial shots of the campus for Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's new movie, New York Minute.


Jack Osbourne of MTV's The Osbournes and Saturday Night Live's Darrell Hammond co-star in the film, which follows the adventures of two twin girls from Long Island who venture into Manhattan for a day.


The Olsen twins may have a special affinity for Columbia, as Ashley Olsen has been widely-reported in the celebrity media to be dating a Columbia sophomore football player.


Columbia students will likely be unperturbed by all of this cinematic action, having learned to take movie-making and celebrity sightings in stride.


Columbia has been the location for a number of major movies in the past, including Ghostbusters, and, more recently, Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2, which featured many students as extras.

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