So just what were the Secret Service agents supposed to do when they saw three or four men armed with shotguns and automatic weapons walk into a building in downtown Los Angeles' jewelry district?
Exactly what they did--call the cops. And leave it to Los Angeles police to find out who the would-be bad guys were. Actors.
"Just one of those things that happens when you're in the movie capital of the world," a droll Sgt. Rod Luckenbach said Friday.
The near-confrontation happened Thursday evening at 6th Street and Broadway, when the actors, their realistic props in tow, sought to climb to the roof of a building where a scene was supposed to be shot.
Secret Service agents--engaged in what police would only describe Friday as "a mission"--stumbled upon what looked like dangerous thugs and the actors were shortly surprised by real-life cops.
The thugs quickly dropped out of character, turned over their weapons and pointed out the movie crew behind the building, out of sight of Secret Service agents and other passers-by.
They were just players, they hastily explained, in an MGM movie entitled "Fatal Beauty." The movie, to be released in November, stars Whoopi Goldberg as an "undercover police officer out to get a businessman blanketing a city with lethal designer drugs," MGM spokesman Ron Pennington said. It is assuredly, he said, an "action" film.
Police were pleased that the only action was on film. "It scares us when we hear a call on shotguns and automatic weapons, when we hear the Secret Service calling," Luckenbach said. "It turned out well."