Shooting for M. Night Shyamalan’s upcoming Glass finishes at Ontario St. Comics in Port Richmond
By Melissa Komar
The glass countertop display case at Ontario St. Comics didn’t budge when M. Night Shyamalan hit it with a hammer and called out, “Glass is a wrap,” for his forthcoming film.
Although the sound of glass shattering erupted the moment the hammer made contact, the countertop was unbreakable, a nod to the film in which it appeared 17 years ago.
While the tool itself was fake, a toy with sound effects, the 100-plus cast and crew that took over the Port Richmond comic book shop on Monday, Dec. 4 were very much real.
Filming for Shyamalan’s upcoming movie, “Glass,” the final film in the trilogy including “Unbreakable” (2000) and “Split” (2016), began in Philadelphia in early October and wrapped up sometime after 10 p.m. on Monday, with crew arriving at 10 a.m. to set up, according to store owner Bill Fink.
“Since we were part of the original movie, “Unbreakable,” when Samuel L. Jackson was here knocking comics off a rack from his wheelchair, I guess we were a natural choice since it’s a combined sequel between ‘Unbreakable’ and ‘Split,’” he said. “I guess they wanted to come back to some things from ‘Unbreakable’ and pay homage or add a blast from the past to combine the two movies.”
Fans might recall the scene from “Unbreakable” in which Elijah Price, played by Samuel L. Jackson, causes somewhat of a ruckus in a comic book shop.
Ontario St. Comics was that comic book shop and was more than happy to be back on the big screen.
A location manager reached out to Fink a couple months ago about filming a scene for “Glass” at his store.
“Obviously, we were up for it and we’re happy to be part of the new movie,” he said.
The scene at Ontario St. Comics was scheduled to be filmed the day before the final day of shooting on Thursday, Nov. 30.
Shooting took longer than anticipated in Allentown and additional filming in Philadelphia was pushed back, according to Fink.
The final day was supposed to take place at 30th Street Station, but scheduling conflicts arose again and Ontario St. Comics was moved to last on the list, a change Fink didn’t mind at all.
“We were supposed to be first, but then, due to scheduling conflicts, they moved us to last,” he said. “So, we were the very last scene, on the very last day of shooting.”
Fink, known for his comical antics at the comic book shop including Comic Book Day Man, couldn’t help but include Shyamalan.
“Since the movie is called ‘Glass,’ I gave [the hammer] to M. Knight at the end and had him tap it on one of our glass cases and he said, ‘Glass’ is a wrap.’ You know, it’s kind of neat. There were hugs and high fives from the cast and crew, handshakes. It was really neat that we were the last scene.”
The store was closed and some adjustments had to be made so no Easter eggs appeared in the film.
“We had a big ‘Unbreakable’ banner and we had to take that down obviously,” said Fink, laughing. “The big, plastic inflatable Spider-Man that you see in ‘Unbreakable,’ we actually took him down and cleaned him up. He’d been up there for about 20 years or so, so we had to remove all the dust from him. And, we had to remove our cardboard stand-up of Nick Fury. That would be weird to have a picture of Samuel L. Jackson as another character in the movie.”
Also on set was the original “Unbreakable” movie prop comic book, “The Adventures of Sentryman.”
“I’ve had that for 17 years and somehow it got left behind here,” Fink said. “After 17 years, I finally got him to sign it about a month and a half ago when they were here doing the final scouting for the location.”
Shyamalan asked Fink what he would show someone if they came into the store asking to see a really awesome comic book.
Fink had the perfect response.
“And I said, ‘Now that you mention it, I have this one and I’d like you to sign it.’ ”
Shyamalan was down-to-earth throughout the entire experience and interacted with Fink’s family during shooting and customers when he was scouting, according to Fink.
“He’s not stand-offish and he always seems happy to interact with the public,” he said.
Because of agreements, Fink cannot disclose what was filmed or who was in the scene, but he did confirm “there was at least one well-known actor or actress here.”
None “of the main players” purchased anything while on site, but “a lot of cast and crew members found stuff they wanted.”
“Last time, Samuel L. Jackson actually purchased comics,” said Fink, referencing filming for “Unbreakable.” “We found him some comics that he had been looking for in various parts of the country and we actually found some for a certain series that he wanted.”
Tracks were set up in the aisles for cameras and lighting and wardrobe crew were spread out throughout the store.
“It was just crazy, but I was very happy to have it happen here,” Fink said. “It was pretty awesome that our little comic shop in Port Richmond is a scene for a major motion picture again. We’re hoping we don’t end up on the cutting room floor.”