Affleck and Crowe in Crystal City


Could it be?

Residents and shoppers strolling along Crystal City’s sidewalks might have noticed some mega-wattage star power in their midst recently.

Universal Studios was filming a big-budget political thriller in Crystal City on March 6 and 7. Studio camera crews were on location at the Americana Hotel filming State of Play, a major motion picture starring Helen Mirren, Ben Affleck, Russell Crowe and Rachel McAdams.

“We got word from the Arlington County Police the day before that they were coming to the Americana Hotel, and we were shocked, just frozen,” said Maurisa Potts, director of marketing for Crystal City BID. “It was all kind of hush hush. They kept it very quiet.”

The scene called for shots of a seedy, rundown hotel, and other scenes called for street scenes, but unfortunately, “There was torrential rain that day. They did not shoot it,” Potts said.

And sorry, Ladies; apparently during the shoot Crowe and Affleck, two of the world’s biggest actors, did not venture out to the Crystal City Underground, or even the Starbucks, for that matter. “If they had, I would have been the first in line,” Potts chuckled.

Unlike David Beckham, the world’s biggest soccer star, who stayed at the Crystal City Doubletree last October during his game against DC United. Beckham went shopping undergound and treated his LA Galaxy teammates to a big steak dinner at Morton’s on Crystal Drive. 

Brad Pitt and Edward Norton were originally signed on for the movie that would have reunited them for the first time since Fight Club in 1999. Pitt turned a lot of heads when he stopped by the Washington Post newsroom in September to do some research on the character he was slated to play in the film, who is an investigative reporter on the trail of the story of a murder that involves an old politician friend of his.

 However, he pulled out before Thanksgiving 2007, when rewrites were made impossible because of the long-running writers’ strike. He was replaced by Crowe. Pitt’s departure delayed the start of shooting, and made Norton unavailable as he was committed to start shooting Leaves of Grass (2009) in January. He was replaced by Affleck.

The plot is based on the BBC mini-series of the same title, in which a team of investigative reporters works alongside a police detective to try to solve the murder of a congressman’s mistress. The movie is expected to be released in 2009.