Hollywood came to the Homewood campus last Tuesday,
when a Warner Bros. Pictures team — and movie stars
Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig — spent the day at
Mudd Hall filming several scenes for a remake of the 1978
science fiction classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
Titled The Visiting, the movie features Kidman
as a Washington, D.C., psychiatrist who unearths a deadly
alien viral epidemic and then realizes that her young son
may hold the only key to stopping it. Craig, who recently
was named the new James Bond and was featured in other
popular movies such as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and
The Road to Perdition, co-stars.
Oliver Hirschbiegel, whose 2005 film Downfall
chronicled the last days of Adolf Hitler, directs the new
film and visited campus one hot and humid afternoon last
August in search of the perfect setting for various scenes
in The Visiting. He found them in the
Biology laboratories of Professor Edward Hedgecock and
research scientist J. Michael McCaffery. McCaffery is
director of the
McCaffery said that Kidman and her crew seemed to be
as impressed by the university's scientific facilities as
the onlookers were of the celebrities suddenly in their
"Nicole was very interested in the images we had
chosen to depict the 'alien' organism that is infecting the
human race, what the images were (my secret!), how they
were obtained, the science behind the work in generating
the images, the differences between viruses and bacteria
and how they replicate, and how diseases caused by
viruses/bacteria are treated," said McCaffery, who also
admitted that his dog, Forbes, struck up a friendship with
the star during the seven-hour shoot.
Allen Shearn, chairman of the Department of Biology,
also had a behind-the-scenes hand in the film. Several
months ago, he and Hirschbiegel discussed the script's
scientific aspects, making sure they were not too
"Afterwards, they sent me a copy of the entire
script," Shearn said.
At the crew's request, Shearn gave up his first-floor
office to Kidman for the day so she would have someplace
quiet to rest between takes. According to Shearn, however,
the Australian mega-star never availed herself of the
"I never saw her or anybody associated with the movie
that day," he said.
The film, which is being shot in various locations in
Baltimore, is expected to be released next year.