Trading in his helmet and pads for a fake mustache and apron, Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback, Nick Foles, went undercover as a Courtyard Marriott employee. The Courtyard at the Navy yard in Philadelphia invited fantasy football leagues to hold their draft at the hotel, telling them they’d be taking some press photos for the upcoming season. As if free food, beer and venue in exchange for being in a few pictures wasn’t already a great deal, the drafters were in for an even bigger treat. Shortly after each draft began, their home team quarterback came out to serve them food; and it was all captured by hidden cameras.
Courtyard hired director, Mike Leonard, and his production company, Over the Edge Productions to pull off this elaborate stunt. Leonard is a veteran TV producer/director who has done similar hidden camera productions for clients like CBS, MTV and Coca Cola. “Pulling off a successful hidden camera shoot is a lot like performing a magic trick,” Leonard says. “It’s all about misdirection.” Leonard and his production team hid cameras and wireless microphones all throughout the bistro area of the Courtyard lobby and even included a camera in Nick Foles’ glasses. They constructed accent furniture with custom two-way mirrors which housed robotic cameras that were controlled remotely by joystick. Next to the Bistro area, a conference room was transformed into a high-tech control room to monitor, control and record all the cameras. Having audio and video surveillance, along with constant radio communication allowed the team was able to orchestrate the stunts flawlessly.
“We didn’t know if people would recognize him right away or if we’d need to make it really obvious, so we planned for all types of scenarios and were ready for everything,” Leonard says. Three groups were filmed at different times and while two groups recognized him fairly quick, with the addition of a mustache and sideburns, Foles had to finally reveal his true identity to another group after having a conversation about his “killer mustache” with one of the drafters.
Christie Caiola was the head make up artist who spent the week prior testing fake mustaches and sideburns and altering them to naturally and flawlessly blend with Foles’ real hair color. “I purchased some generic pieces that matched his hair color and hand cut them to look a bit more believable while still having an element of humor,” says Caiola.
The stunt was a huge success. A total of seven cameras captured the events throughout the day and that footage was edited down to a three-minute video released on YouTube.