I'm there purely as a spectator for one of the all-night filming sessions at the National History Museum. Blue Iguana is destined to be the very last film to feature the museum's famous exhibit Dippy the Dinosaur as a backdrop. The scene being filmed tonight is the bag snatch sequence.

When Sylvia and I arrive, Director Hajaig is rehearsing a fight scene with five of his stunt men in front of the main public staircase. They're going at each other hammer and tongs with shadow blows. HH is sitting cross legged on the floor in front of his lap top. It's surreal, like we've suddenly walked in on a kung fu training camp. We say hello. Sylvia is in a bad mood and demands a bottle of water. Hajaig is amused by this. He's in the middle of probably the most stressful night of his life and Sylvia wants a bottle of water. He smiles broadly, bemused, and gives her one of his bottles. Then we wander around the museum until an officious security guard bawls us out: 'Who are you? Where are you going?'

I'm tempted to say: 'We're friends of that fella over there, the film director, who's hired you all for the night!' Instead, I bite my lip, nod an acknowledgement and then we meekly turn around and go downstairs to claim our free food rations.

When we get back, Director Hajaig is installed behind the monitors at the side of the main hall. Sylvia is roped in as one of the extras, but I'm staying with Director H behind the cameras. It's a big crowd scene with 60-plus extras distributed around the place. The scenario is American heroes Eddie and Paul intercept the villains with the package, extensive fisticuffs and gunplay ensues and everyone panics. And then there's a chase up the staircase followed by a big fall from a high place by the villain with the bag. It's a extremely tricky sequence to get right and to cover properly. And there's only this one night left to do it.



Deeply Dippy: A Night Behind the Cameras at the Natural History Museum

Dino and Dippy, two old dinosaurs--together at last! Photo credit Sylvia Starshine. This photo was taken in the wee small hours after the end of overnight filming. All the extras had gone home.
Dino Laine and Dippy the Dinosaur