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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Short White Coat

Short White Coat is our new blog, written by first-year Harvard medical student Ishani Ganguli. Ishani's posts will appear here, as part of White Coat Notes. E-mail Ishani at

The air around the medical school quad was rife with the promise of autumn and movie stars last week.

Brightly colored leaves were plastic—taped to the branches of budding trees lining the quad and strewn on the surrounding grass last Tuesday for the filming of a scene in Columbia Pictures' "21." But besides Jim Sturgess, the star, the other actors in the movie (including Kevin Spacey, Laurence Fishburne, and Kate Bosworth) were nowhere to be stalked.

"21" is directed by Legally Blonde’s Robert Luketic and based on the best-selling book "Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions." It turns out one of the six gets into Harvard Med at the end of the movie, so the film crew arrived here before dawn to recreate an autumn scene.

Fake medical students were planted all around the quad lawn, standing beside their bicycles or chatting in clusters. Larger crowds of these movie extras followed around a beckoning crew member, back and forth ad infinitum, as the real students looked on.

The most striking feature of our movie selves was the nearly uniform attire: long woolen coats and sharply pressed khakis, offset by overstuffed backpacks. The professors were mainly of the elderly, bearded or mustachioed variety, not quite as diverse as we usually see on campus.

Not a bad impression overall, though many of us not-so-secretly wished we could have played ourselves. I’m excited to see the finished product and to find out just how close they come to capturing something of the medical school setting.

Not that it matters necessarily in Hollywood.

Posted by Ishani Ganguli at 05:27 PM
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