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Sean Penn filming in Oakland Attracts Few

By Elvira Viveros
Oakland Tribune (June 18, 2003)

OAKLAND -- Trailers parked in downtown Oakland this week attracted only a few fans as a crew was shooting the latest Sean Penn film, "The Assassination of Richard Nixon."

In Oakland, people are accustomed to famous folk.

Shopkeepers and passersby nevertheless stood outside Geoffrey's Inner Circle on Monday and Tuesday, where filming is taking place on 14th Street, looking nonchalant as they waited for a glimpse of Penn.
He never emerged from the once popular nightspot which closed in 1999 but still accommodates special events.

Movie sets seen to attract all kinds of people, extras, or "extra-actors," those who gawk, and side businesses that service sets with food, security or equipment.

Eric Brenner, a San Francisco actor, shared scenes with Penn and said the leading man is a very genuine person.

"He is really a nice guy to work with and he knows all his lines,"said Brenner. "He doesn't keep people waiting and he respects the crew," he said.

Ami Zins, film coordinator at the Oakland Film Office, said it was Penn's idea to shoot in Oakland.

"He wanted to stay close to his children and it enables him to go home," said Zins. Penn lives in Marin County.

Filming in Oakland is also helping local businesses like the C&F Motion Picture Security, an Oakland based security company owned by the Hell's Angels. Fuzzy, who was manning the door to the club, is the 'F'in C&F, and sports a purple goatee and black attire from head to toe.

C&F manager Bob Loeffer has been doing security for years, and has partied with many local actors, he said. Robin Williams is one of the funniest local actors he has worked with, he said.

Scenes for this independent film have been shot in West Oakland and the Oakland hills and will continue throughout the city for two weeks.

Directed by Neils Mueller, the film is set in 1974 and based on the true story of Sam Byck, a salesman in Philadelphia who attempts to hijack a plane in Atlanta and crash it into the White House in hopes of killing Richard Nixon. The incident was overshadowed by the Watergate scandal and received little media attention. Byck is played by Penn.

Penn was in the local news in April when his car was stolen outside a Berkeley restaurant. Inside the car were two pistols. The car was recovered minus the guns -- a loaded .9 mm Glock handgun and an unloaded .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver.

Penn, 42, has a concealed weapons permit to carry the guns, Berkeley police Off. Mary Kusmiss said at the time.

The car was later found in Richmond, but the pistols were not.

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