A few months ago, there was a fake BART station outside the N-Judah stop, near my old house. It seemed to show up overnight, sitting on a stretch of grass in Duboce Park, alongside the MUNI tracks. The fake station looked a little bit like Embarcadero, if you looked at it from Justin Herman Plaza.
(Photo courtesy of David Dewar and The N-Judah Chronicles.)
At first I thought it might be an elaborate plot to create confusion among European tourists ("Das ist BART, ja,?"), or a stunt by Duboce Triangle small business owners to divert people on their way to the Lower Haight, but soon I learned the truth. It was a set built for a Will Smith movie.
Immediately I began to imagine all the wonderful possibilities. I figured it had to be an action movie, probably one where Will Smith was a smooth, wise-cracking cop who played by his own rules. It would be called Rapid Transit, or maybe Trans Bay, or even Smelly Train. There'd be a rap single released two weeks before the film. The song would have the same title as the movie, and the beat would be chosen at random from the Pure Funk compilation. "Smelly Train" would go to #1 on the charts, even though Will Smith doesn't use no cuss words, or no profanity.
This set was probably built for the scene where he chases the alien/robot/terrorist into the station, and then right before he punches him/it/him, Will Smith could say, "Insufficient fare!" Or, "Ain't no excursion for this fare!" Or, "Approaching…Ass Whup in Five…Seconds." Or, he and the rest of the transit cops could chase down an innocent Brazilian guy and shoot him in the head five times, and then Will could ask to see his ticket.
I think it would be nice if Will could find a part for his old friends. Like, DJ Jazzy Jeff as the train driver, or Carlton as a commuter who watches Will subdue the alien/robot/terrorist, and then says, "Damn!" Kevin James could be the sweet, painfully-Caucasian station agent that Will has to convince to let him skip "Add Fare". And then they do a dance together!
Then I remembered that movie shot where I live have a terrible track record. They shot a few films on campus while I was at Berkeley. Patch Adams featured a crappy, beardless Robin Williams in a somewhat-serious story. If it's supposed to be a meaningful film, then you just can't let Robin Williams shave. Boys and Girls located Berkeley across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, and…that's all I know. No one saw that movie. Though I wasn't there yet, Junior was also shot on campus, even though the movie was set at Stanford, and I got questions about it when I gave campus tours. The reason they used Berkeley's campus instead of the actual Stanford was so moviegoers didn't ask each other, "Why are they doing important experiments on fertility at an enormous Taco Bell?" And while The Matrix wasn't filmed nearby, both sequels were.
The Will Smith movie is going to be just as lame. It's called The Pursuit of Happyness, and it's a heart-warming rags-to-riches tale about a guy who lived in a BART station, with his young son, while he studied to become a stockbroker. And Will Smith's son is played by Will Smith's son! Maybe he can do a verse on the single. In doing research for this post, I read the release date had been pushed back to next December, for "Oscar-related purposes", which if anything makes me want to see the movie less. Someone else compared it to Radio, which seems like a real slap in Will Smith's face. However, I wouldn't mind hearing Will Smith rhyme about being a retarded mascot for a high school football team in the South, backed by the P-Funk's "Flashlight".