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January 29, 2001

Victorian men and women crowded the halls and buses carrying bowler-hatted and fancily-coiffed passengers drove from Kenyon Hall to Rockefeller Hall and the New England Building as three scenes from a new production by Dreamworks and Warner Brothers of H. G. Wells’s The Time Machine (1895) were filmed at the college. The scenes involved the search by the dean of Columbia University, played by Jeremy Irons, for Professor Alexander Hartdigan, played by Guy Pearce, and the buildings—completed in 1901 and 1898—were chosen for their late Victorian style.

Several students and a few faculty members were chosen to act as extras. “I’m totally thrilled to have been a part of it, completely thrilled,” said James Schenk ’01 who served as an extra and a stand-in for Guy Pearce. “It was a good experience to see how things are done. You don’t realize the amount of work that goes into it” he added. Film major Pat Johnson ’01, another extra, said “It’s going to be fun…. We’re wearing the costumes from Titanic, we can see how a movie set works and it’ll be a really great experience.” Johnson praised the college’s willingness to allow the production to film on campus. “It’s no big deal for the studio,” he said, “they could pay anyone to be in it, but it’s a great opportunity for the students.”

Professor of Economics David Kennett played the non-speaking part of Dr. Thomas Post, “a rather irritable professor who is trying to get away from a pesky demanding student.” He said of the role, “It’s a real stretch for me.” Also appearing in the scenes at Vassar was Will Carlough ’99, a former film major currently pursuing a career in film in New York City, who had a speaking part as “student number two.”

The production limited access to certain paths throughout campus and occasionally interfered with the work of students and professors in New England Building and Rockefeller Hall. The Miscellany News

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