'Cloverfield' says cheese to N.Y. shoots

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Paramount's monster-eats-New York movie "Cloverfield," which opens today, was shot under a veil of secrecy and under many fake titles, including "Slusho."

The secrecy was helped by shooting a good deal of the film on studio backlots in Los Angeles, but the production did go to the Big Apple for a few key scenes.

Director Matt Reeves said the production pared down its crew to a minimum and came up with the most mundane name they could — "Cheese" — but noted they were discovered even before they began shooting.

"(Production designer) Martin Whist was putting some destruction down on the lower east side of Manhattan, which is a really hip area," Reeves said. "There's a lot of young people who live there, and the moment they started seeing any kind of destruction, they put two and two together. And before we even arrived on the set to start shooting, they were posting to the Internet. And then they were filming us as we were preparing to shoot. It was very hard to remain hidden."

Yet at other times, the production managed to slip under the radar. On a subway shoot, this time using small handycams with a skeleton crew, Reeves and some actors blended right in. "People responded like it was a bunch of kids shooting. No one paid attention," he said.
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