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Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel film ‘Basic Math’ on campus

Published: Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 02:10


Kyra Sturgill / The Tufts Daily

Seventy Tufts students joined the Columbia Pictures film team as extras in the movie “Basic Math,” filmed on the Medford/Somerville campus this Monday. 

Stars Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel traveled to six different locations on campus throughout the day to shoot scenes for the movie. The film’s plot follows the story of a married couple — played by Diaz and Segel — who discovers their sex tape is missing and attempts to retrieve the tape.

The Tufts campus provided an ideal setting for the movie, according to Scott Levine, the film’s unit publicist.

“The production was looking for a location to shoot scenes set on a classic Northeastern campus,” he told the Daily in an email. “And since we are filming in the Boston area, the Tufts campus was perfect.”

The filming took place on the Academic Quad, the President’s Lawn, Talbot Avenue, in front of Miller Hall and in Tisch Library and Brown and Brew, according to a Sept. 25 email sent out to the Tufts community. Students wishing to become extras were asked to send application materials to Boston Casting, a company that works with extras, according sophomore movie extra Eniola Akintade.

She explained that students did not need prior acting experience in order to be chosen as extras.

“Many of the extras from Tufts didn’t have much acting experience, but [the crew] was very nice if we wanted to talk to them,” Akintade said. “[They] didn’t talk down to us and answered all of our questions.”

Students were able to converse with the actors and people in the industry during downtime between scenes, sophomore extra Mackenzie Brewster said.

“A large group [of extras] were also interested in drama or were drama majors, so it was fun talking to production people,” she said. “I am interested in the directing sphere, so it was awesome to see production first hand.”

Segel and Diaz interacted with students from a distance, according to Akintade.

“I made eye contact with both of them,” she said. “I was so nervous, so I was shaking, but I was trying to maintain my coolness, and not act like a crazy, screaming fan, which I know I am.”

Brewster added that both of the stars were humble and kind.

“They would wave to people, say ‘hi’ and were very happy to be around Tufts students,” she said.

During filming, students were required to perform everyday activities that are typical to a college campus, Brewster explained.

“We were rushing around campus like students or sitting in Brown and Brew studying and talking to people or jogging on the President’s Lawn,” she said.

In addition to the 70 Tufts extras involved in the film, 45 other extras were brought in from the Screen Actors Guild, Akintade added.

For extras, she said, the workday began at 5:45 a.m. and lasted until 8 p.m., with occasional breaks.

“It was exhausting,” Akintade said. “I can understand why people say acting is a job. It is physically exhausting and emotionally very tiring. People are mostly walking around with walkie-talkies in their ears and always trying to get something done.”

Many students chose to miss class in order to be a part of the film, but professors were generally understanding, Brewster said.

“It is a big deal and a rare opportunity to be a part of something like this,” she said. “My teachers understood it was worth it.”

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