Annapolis, MD - May, 2004
May, 2004...On Location for Season Six Premiere

Article hosted by MartinSheen.net.
Original content from the Emmitsburg Dispatch
Emmitsburg, Maryland -- May 19, 2004
“The West Wing” films on location in Thurmont

By Michele Cuseo
Staff Writer


Michele Cuseo, Dispatch staff writer, poses with West Wing cast members Richard Schiff and Martin Sheen during a break in filming an episode of "The West Wing" in Thurmont. Sheen portrays President Josiah Bartlett, and Schiff portrays White House Communications Director Toby Ziegler in the award-winning NBC series.

With Thurmont, Md., in such close proximity to Camp
David, it's only natural that the producers of "The
West Wing" TV series would want to tape the show
in the area.

The producers decided to film in Frederick County
because they could not find a similar location in
California that matched the actual Camp David area.

“The West Wing” cast and crew has been filming for
the past week in the areas surrounding the Hunting
Creek Lodge, the ThorpeWood Nature Preserve and
Maple Run Golf course.

The NBC series is the winner of four consecutive
Emmy Awards as Outstanding Drama Series. The
show has been a big TV hit, giving viewers a
fictitious, yet realistic, behind-the-scenes view
of the Oval Office.

Richard Schiff, who plays Toby Ziegler, the White
House Communications Director, told The
Emmitsburg Dispatch that the scenes filmed for
“The West Wing” in the Thurmont area will
simulate peace negotiations between the Palestinian
and Israeli leaders at Camp David hosted by President
Bartlett (played by actor Martin Sheen).

Two special actors, an Israeli (Armin Mueller-Stahl) and a Palestinian (Makram Khoury), appear
in this episode. Schiff said he was impressed with their acting abilities and noted that these
actors are famous in their own countries.

Schiff was most impressed though with their off-screen friendship. "Both actors are working
for peace (outside of the TV world) and are truly good friends," he said.

Schiff said filming “The West Wing” is like creating a movie each week. One of his best
experiences was directing a show called "Talking Points," the 19th episode. "The experience
made me truly appreciate the talent, quality and work the crew and cast put into making the show," Schiff told The Dispatch.

Actor John Spencer, who plays Leo McGarry, the President’s Chief of Staff, made similar comments. Spencer said he is proud of the show, adding, "We work so hard to keep the quality of the show the best. There is an enormous amount of talent with the actors and the crew. Our crew is exceptional and the skeleton that holds us together."

He said he enjoys observing politics but wouldn't have wanted a political life for himself. "So, in that way, this show is perfect," Spencer said.

Spencer identifies in many ways with the actor he plays, as a workaholic, and with the love, respect and devotion he feels for the president (and the friendship he has with Martin Sheen, the man).
"For a show without sex and violence, we are still a hit!" Spencer observed.

Many of the actors and crew enjoyed playing golf between shoots. Sheen confirmed that he'd already played 20 holes (by 1 p.m.). Schiff had only played about nine.

The Emmitsburg Dispatch asked Sheen about his recent trip to the National Shrine Grotto of Lourdes in Emmitsburg. Sheen, a Catholic, said, "It was my first time there. I'd always wanted to see it and finally got a chance."

The episode(s) being filmed will air during the sixth season. The show is currently finishing its fifth season. “The West Wing” airs on Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. on NBC.


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