There’s a tense moment in In the Line of Fire when would-be assassin Mitch Leary (John Malkovich) watches Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan (Clint Eastwood) moodily play piano in a quiet, wood-paneled Washington bar. But if Leary had been peering through the window of the bar where the scene was actually filmed, he’d have been standing on L.A.’s Wilshire Boulevard, 2,650 miles away, watching people sing karaoke or cheer on the Lakers.
”It’s really a pretty lively place,” laughs Louis Hacsunda, manager of Apples, the eight-year-old Santa Monica sports bar. ”We have two big-screen TV’s, but, sorry, no piano.”
Because D.C. location shooting was limited to three weeks, the crew had to re-create Horrigan’s hangout in L.A. (In fact, of the film’s three bars, only the Old Ebbitt Grill, in which Horrigan has a business meeting, is an actual Washington watering hole. The third bar scene, in which Eastwood plays for costar Rene Russo, was shot in an L.A. hotel lounge.)
Although Hacsunda doubts Apples has ever served Secret Service agents, he won’t swear to it. ”During happy hour, we do get a nice mix.”