"Rolling", "Mark", "Action!"
With these three words, the cameras rolled and small sections of Canberra's city centre became - or will, in time, given the magic of post-production digitisation - the streets of Washington DC on Thursday.
It's all part of Hollywood's visit to Canberra to film key stunt sequences for the blockbuster Blacklight, starring Liam Neeson and written and directed by Mark Williams, of the Ozark TV series fame.
Liam Neeson wasn't there, but a creepy latex mask of his face was for the stunt driver to wear when needed.
City roads were closed throughout the morning, as curious and often puzzled Canberra onlookers gathered to watch in the summer heat as a gray-painted garbage truck charged north on London Circuit from Commonwealth Avenue, turned hard into Akuna Street, veered up onto the footpath, smashing through a flower seller's display, flattened a red bicycle, veered back onto the roadway and wheeled into Allara Street.
Chasing the truck - at least that's how it appeared from an onlooker's perspective - was the hero car, a V8-powered Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, followed by an Audi SUV with a customised roof-mounted camera gantry and the second unit director, Guy Norris, calling the shots from the front passenger's seat.
The same sequence was repeated again and again, with around 20-minute breaks in between as all the visual components were re-set in their exact previous locations: the pails of plastic flowers perfectly re-positioned, coffee-drinking extras sat in the exact same spots, and yet another red bike, identical to the first, wheeled back out for destruction.
Up and down the street were a smattering of cars - a red-painted taxi with dummy passengers and three or four more bearing fake Virginia, Washington and Maryland number plates - all directed to move in and out of frame in a carefully choreographed manner as part of the bigger scene.
And to keep the gawping Canberra onlookers at a safe distance and out of the "shot", dozens and dozens of crew and flouro-shirted staff, all with walkie-talkies and experts in the art of arm-waving for general effect. Some rode around the set on Canberra's e-scooters, with production crew signs taped to the handlebars.
"Don't miss the next sequence; it's when we're going to smash up some cars," Harlan Norris, the genial 21-year-old son of unit director Guy Norris said.
Harlan, like his brother Harrison, has been on his father's film sets since they were toddlers. His first star turn was as one of the feral children in Max Max 2, Fury Road, where his father played one of the Marauders gang.
He apologised for the lengthy time to re-set between each "take" and was thankful for finding some shade from the city buildings after long hours in the open sun on Wednesday, filming at another location.
"It was pretty warm shooting out in the sun all day but that's the nature of the film business," he said.
"Basically we're building up a set of raw components to assemble later, and we have to make sure we have everything we need while we're here."
The "master" sequence to the Akuna Street stunt was the garbage truck again scattering the plastic flowers, destroying the bike, and smashing into two parked vehicles, one of them a camouflage-painted twin cab utility festooned with red, white and blue stickers and a fluttering US flag like some strange visitor from a far-off Trump rally.
Displaying some of the tricks of the industry, detergent was squirted on the roadway and pivot plates placed beneath wheels of the parked cars so they slid apart quickly - and with surprisingly low damage - as the garbage truck struck them and careered through.
Once heavily edited and digitised, the entire London Circuit and Akuna Street sequence will run for less than 10 on-screen seconds and Canberrans won't even recognise their city on the big screen, with post production transforming the streetscape to replicate the US capital.
Guy Norris, his crew and the stunt team will be around Canberra filming until the end of the week before heading back to the Gold Coast.
Between Thursday and Sunday, traffic and pedestrians will be blocked from several locations around Civic:
- London Circuit from Constitution Avenue to Ainslie Avenie
- Akuna Street from London Circuit to Cooyong Street
- Bunda Street from Petrie Street to Binara Street
- Binara Street from Akuna Street to Allara Street
- Allara Street from Binara Street to Constitution Avenue
- Nangari Street from Allara Street to London Circuit
- Rabaul Lane from Nangari Street to Akuna Street
Local residents and businesses will still have access during the filming period.
Public transport along those roads have also been redirected, with bus stops on London Circuit closed.
The roads would also be expected to be closed on Monday and Tuesday, should wet weather disrupt filming.