Director Milos Forman was in Central Park shooting the movie version of the 60s musical "Hair." Faye Dunaway was crouched on the sidewalk in nearby Columbus Circle, clicking away at scantily clad models in a simulated car cash for her role as a fashion photographer in "Eyes." Across town in a Park Avenue church, John Avildsen (director of "Rocky") was filming "Slow Dancing in the Big City." "It's a very sweet little story about a ballet dancer who falls in love with a Jimmy Breslin‑type columnist," Avildsen explained. And where was Breslin? In a movie called "If Ever I See You Again," the Irishman was acting the part of an Italian talent agent.
Elsewhere in the city, Woody Allen was shooting another top‑secret project with (of course) Diane Keaton. In Little Italy, Farrah Fawcett‑Majors was about to begin her first starring role in a romantic comedy‑mystery, "Somebody Killed Her Husband." Meanwhile, director Sidney Lumet was sending the all‑black cast of "The Wiz" dancing and singing through the streets of his updated Emerald City.
"Not Dirty Hippie.' With 41 feature movies shooting in the city this year (and $80 million being spent on them), New York has become just about the biggest movie back lot in the world. "We are no longer Hollywood on the Hudson," boasts Walter J. Wood, director of the New York City Office for Motion Pictures and TV "Los Angeles is New York on the Pacific."
"We are not dirty hippies," Milos Forman was explaining to Police Sgt. Thomas Kearns on a crisp day in Central Park. "We are responsible people. Why does your police officer give us trouble?" Here Forman had a shivering actress, Ron Woods, strapped to the end of a crane, flying in the air against the New York skyline while singing "Aquarius," and some cop was telling him he could only shoot after every other change of the traffic light. "Why did the horse get loose yesterday and run around?" Kearns asked. "We were all high on concentrating on the shot and nobody saw it," Forman replied. "This is an insane business but we are sane people." Producer Lester Persky patted Forman on the shoulder and said to Kearns, "He's a very gifted artist." "We're all gifted," said the cop.
Cast of “Hair” in Central Park: a hand from the cops.
Kearns is a member of a specially trained police unit in charge of handling the logistical problems of movies and TV, and two minutes after their confrontation he and Forman were kissing‑on the cheek‑ and making up. "We specialize in crowd control and the dangers besetting celebrities," says the unit's commanding officer, Lt. Paul Glanzman. "We even take the names of people who want autographs, and someone on my staff autographs all the stars' pictures. I can get you anyone you want, but they all have the same handwriting."
Black Tie: Over at Carnegie Hall, where the makers of "If Ever I See You Again" were filming a concert scene, Breslin, dressed for work in black tie, was expounding on his new profession. "Acting!" he said. "I was doin’ it at police stations when I was 14‑so what the hell's the difference? What's so hard about it? They want you to think it's a lot of mysterious bullshit makin' movies, like it's some kind of Oriental theology. Well, they ain't gonna b.s. me."
On the other side of the camera, Joe Brooks, a former composer of TV commercials who burst on the movie scene this year as producer‑director‑composer of the inspirational "You Light Up My Life," explained: "This film's the story of