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Hacienda Hosts Hollywood

San Mateo subs for Santa Cruz in biopic about famed surfer.

Students, residents, workers, and a businessman in suit and tie gathered in front of First Presbyterian Church building on Flores Street this afternoon, edging as close as crews would let them to filming for , a biopic about celebrated surfer Jay Moriarity.

"It's a lot of fun," said Pennsylvanian Joe Bullen, in town to visit his daughter.

Several said they had turned up in hopes of , who appears in the film as a mentor to Moriarity -- a role that was originally said to be Sean Penn's. Elisabeth Shue ("Leaving Las Vegas," "Hollow Man") plays his mother, and Jonny Weston has the lead role.

"It's pretty cool," said Andrew Conrad, who walked over with a couple pals from the neighborhood. "I just showed thinking I might get a high five with Gerard Butler."

No-nonsense production assistant Alyssa Gruhn kindly but firmly shooed away onlookers to accommodate a

Police blocked all traffic on Hacienda near the intersection of 29th and 30th avenues for a scene in which Weston skateboards down the street. Weston has 10 films to his credit, most in production.

The street has some film cachet to its credit, too: Actress Diane Varsi, star of the 1957 film "Peyton Place," lived at the corner of 29th and Hacienda.

San Mateo Police Department gave area business owners a heads' up that traffic would be halted, and that they might receive a rush of customers.

"So far, only security," said Tara Shelton, manager of San Mateo Coffee Company.

All local info about the production -- real and rumored -- landed with Jonathan Alemania, manager of Vinyl Solution, a record store on 25th Avenue.

"It's a pretty high-budget production," he said. "The film is actually supposed to take place in Santa Cruz, but the majority takes place in Half Moon Bay."

That's the site of the Mavericks, where an underwater rock formation creates a break, and waves that can exceed 25 feet and top out at 80. Big wave riders -- an elite bunch -- surf the spot with trepidation. Only surfers at the top of their game participate in the annual invitation-only contest, and sometimes conditions present such a hazard that organizers scrap the competition entirely.

Moriarity wrote his The Ultimate Guide to Surfing with a partner in 2001 -- the year he died in a diving accident in the Maldives.

The film is slated to open in October 2012.

For more of Pacifica Patch's coverage of the Mavericks movie shoots, head to our topic page.

For more news about Pacifica and surrounding areas, including the San Mateo County Coastside, follow us on Twitter and "like" us on Facebook.

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