Paul Dano from “Little Miss Sunshine” Restores Law & Order at NYU

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It’s been a little over one week since “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and already Washington Square Park is being taken over by another film crew.

The night of Monday, March 30, signs were posted on streetlamps indicating that the area around Washington Square West would be used to film for Law & Order: Criminal Intent.  In case you forgot which of the seemingly countless Law & Order spinoffs that is, it’s the one with Vincent D’Onofrio, Kathryn Erbe and now Jeff Goldblum.  Mazza First Hand Source was kind of hoping to see Mariska Hargitay, who has recovered from her Hamptons sledding accident-induced lung collapse (that sounds just as strange to us as it does to you) and returned to set last week looking fierce.  But alas, her TV jurisdiction extends no further than SVU.  Or maybe she’s off-duty.

By this morning, two enormous trailers were placed in front of Hayden Hall (including one that quite adorably listed the following stars’ names on the door: Lucy and Desi.  To which stars do these trailers actually belong?  D’Onofrio and Erbe, perhaps?).

By about 3:30, a crowd gathered near the chess tables on the west side of the park as cameras rolled.  Signs placed at the entrance to the park made the legal disclaimer that anyone who chose to remain in the park during filming could be photographed and filmed without pay.  (Another advantage to filming in New York: free and constant extras.)  Interestingly, a group of homeless men was provided chess pieces to actually engage in a game during the scene taking place directly behind them.

The scene itself featured Paul Dano (perhaps best known for his mostly silent role as Dwayne in “Little Miss Sunshine” ) in a business suit talking emphatically on a cellphone and walking hurriedly through the park.  Large technical equipment, including cameras, lighting, and a boom microphone, followed him for about three or four takes.

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Filming is scheduled to continue until about 8 P.M. tonight.  As for the final product, you can probably expect to find the Wasington Square Park scenes on an upcoming new episode – that is, if you can find it buried somewhere in the ubiquitous 24/7 Law & Order marathon that is television.

Here’s a place to start: the eigth season of Law & Order Criminal Intent is set to premiere on April 19, 2009 on the USA Network.

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