One of the advantages to being Sheriff is that since we do a lot of traffic control, security, and dignitary protection, I get to meet many Presidents, Vice Presidents and celebrity's. I often try to take my wife and kids when I can to meet them also. Yesterday we visited the set of Wild Hogs a movie in which a group of suburban biker wannabes hit the open road in search of adventure, but get more than they bargained for when they encounter a New Mexico gang called the Del Fuegos. The movie stars John Travolta, Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence, and William H Macy as the biker wannabes and Ray Liotta as the head of the biker gang the Del Fuegos. Also present on the set was Marisa Tomei. They were on their last few days of filming in Madrid before heading to the Jemez Mountains and other parts of New Mexico.
We had a lot of fun and watched for hours as they painstakingly filmed the end of a fight scene over and over getting it from many different angles. It always amazes me that they will spend an entire day or half day filming what ends up being minutes in the final film. We got the usual autographs and photos with most of the cast. Ray Liotta stayed real busy and we never met him but it was fun watching him work. Marisa Tomei was the only one who refused to sign autographs or take pictures but maybe she just didn't feel like it on this afternoon. I am going to post some pics here of the actors and us on the set. They were filming fight scenes so they have various cuts and bruises applied on their faces.
John Travolta was really nice and polite, He told me how he puts in 16 hour days and then just drives to the home he is renting (reportedly for about $80,000 a month) on Santa Fe's North side, for nothing more than a good nights sleep. He is a pilot and has a plane at the Santa Fe Airport. He flies home every weekend and then returns for work on Monday morning. I had him sign my two Saturday Night Fever Albums ( I collect old Vinyl records and albums) and he politely did so. One of the other visitors to the set had him sign a Urban Cowboy CD and a DVD of the movie Face Off while another had the soundtrack from the movie Grease. He joked that he was seeing his whole life flashed before his eyes.
My Wife Antoinette, Daughter Sylvia, and myself with John Travolta.
Tim Allen told me about his new movie coming out on August 11 called Zoom. It is a movie about an ex superhero brought in to teach a new generation of kids to be superhero's and save the world. This is a Disney movie and so is Wild Hogs. Tim Allen was also really nice and joked with me about the picture I brought for him to sign which was one of a much younger Tim Allen.
The Family with Tim Allen (sorry came out too bright)
Martin Lawrence was a real character. The first time he arrived on the set after we arrived he was driven up in his Black Cadillac Golf Cart. This was definitely the most stylish ride on the set. He arrived and immediately began cheering and getting all the extras to join in. His bus was a huge two story Semi Rig which was a stylish black and reportedly has a circular staircase to the top level and is outfitted with plasma screens every where.
Martin Lawrence and Marisa Tomei review one of the scenes after it had been shot.
My Daughter Sylvia next to Martin Lawrence's Cadillac Golf Cart.
We also got to see, but not meet William H. Macy. Earlier in the week Peter Fonda made a cameo appearance on the set and my understanding is that he garnered a lot of attention during his one day stay. There were a lot of locals on the set both as cast and crew. Banners were set up proclaiming the Madrid Chili Festival, put on by the County of Madrid. Of course Madrid grows no chili nor is it part of a Madrid County. I got to meet the Sheriff of Madrid County and even though he is a recognizable actor for the life of me I cannot remember his name.
I also ran into Santa Fean Lenny Vullo who is Production Manager for the set and has also been Production Manager for Meet the Fockers, Meet the Parents and many other films. He gave us the royal treatment making sure we had a great lunch. At all these movie sets the food is always equal to that of many top restaurants and I had Chicken Marsala, two kinds of great pasta and a great salad bar. All day we were offered drinks, ice cream and all kinds of other goodies but we never made our way to the goodies trailer. A man even came by and offered us sun block as we watched the filming. Former Santa Fe Police Sergeant Dan Chappel as well as many local bikers were cast as a members of the Del Fuego biker gang. Originally the Gang was going to be called the Hell's Angels however the real Hell's Angels threatened a lawsuit and Disney changed the name.
These movies when they use our deputies, hire off duty deputies to work on an overtime basis. The costs to the movies is slightly higher than the deputies wages and this helps us to cover overtime for crimes and major events that happen in the county. The money is placed back into our overtime budget and this helps reduce some of the taxpayer money needed to cover major crime investigation and other overtime in the Sheriff's Office. We had a great afternoon at the set and I want to thank the cast and crew for bieng such great hosts. The governors programs aimed at bringing these types of films to New Mexico has been a great success. Tim Allen thought so also and said he really liked Governor Richardson when they met him a few weeks ago.