Elgin synagogue, church host 'Fargo' crew as fans sneak a peek at the filming
When Russ Becker found out the FX series "Fargo" was going to be filming in Elgin, he just had to show up.
"I grew up in Elgin and my son's house is by Lords Park. I have family here," Becker, who lives in Rolling Meadows, said Monday morning. "We watched all three seasons. We were so happy when we saw they were filming another one. They were all great. Even the movie ('Fargo') was great."
The synagogue Congregation Kneseth Israel lent its building as a warming station for the production crew and the extras, and for costumes and hair and makeup. Lunch was going to take place across the street at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.
Rabbi Margaret Frisch Klein said she got to the synagogue at 3:45 a.m. to open the building and make coffee for 56 extras, 12 production people, and 10 hair and makeup staff members.
"It's been fun. It's worth it," she said. "It's good for community outreach. We have people who'd never been in a synagogue before. That's a good thing."
The first crew members arrived around 2 a.m. with the official crew call at 6 a.m. Filming midmorning mostly consisted of an old-time burgundy Chevrolet with Missouri plates being towed in loops around the historic Gifford Park neighborhood, where "no parking" signs cleared the streets of cars. Crew members ensured the handful of curious onlookers wouldn't interfere with filming.
"It's kind of cool, with the camera on the old car," Becker said.
Only glimpses of the actors inside the Chevrolet could be caught. Crew members, speaking on condition of anonymity, said actor Jeremie Harris, who plays the character Leon Bittle, was in the driver's seat and actor Ben Whishaw, in a lead role as a Rabbi Milligan, was in the passenger seat.
The season's biggest star, actor Chris Rock, was done filming this particular episode, which didn't require him traveling to Elgin, crew members said.
The 10-episode season is being filmed in the span of six months, with release expected sometime next year, they said.
Carolyn Buhrow, a photographer from Elgin, took photos for more than an hour before getting the shot she wanted -- the burgundy Chevrolet, always pulled by the truck, driving by the front facade of the Elgin History Museum.
"I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but I was hoping I'd see some of the actors ... but that's not what they are doing today." Still, she was happy with the photos she got, she said.
Elgin was the set for the filming of the 1992 movie "Hoffa," and that time, Buhrow said, she did manage to catch the stars of the movie, Jack Nicholson and Danny DeVito.
Resident Chris Jones said the no-parking restrictions all throughout the neighborhood didn't affect him, because he rides his bike everywhere.
"I saw them drive around from my kitchen," he said. "I don't watch TV, but I did like the movie."
Redhawk Productions IV LLC, in association with MGM, initially expected to do smaller-scale filming Tuesday, but Elgin police said in a Facebook post Monday evening that filming was completed ahead of schedule.