Thursday, April 18, 2013

UNO Physics Student Assists on Remember Sunday, a Hallmark Hall of Fame Television Film Airing Sunday on ABC

Remember SundayUNO Physics student Isaac Meisenheimer spent time this winter with actors Zachary Levi and Alexis Bledel on the set of Remember Sunday, a Hallmark Hall of Fame and Disney ABC Television movie which airs at 8 p.m. on Sunday on ABC television. Photo courtesy Isaac Meisenheimer

University of New Orleans undergraduate and physics major Isaac Meisenheimer is on his second career. After spending 10 years in the film industry, where he moved his way up the ladder to writing and directing films, he decided to go to college to study astronomy and physics. At 35, he is a UNO freshman and physics major, as well as president of the University's chapter of the Society of Physics Students.

When movie producers recently contacted the University of New Orleans for help with a television film, administrators knew exactly who to turn to for help.

"He's a physics major but he's an amateur astronomer as well so he's actually quite knowledgeable," said UNO Physics Professor and Department Chair Kevin Stokes of Meisenheimer. "He also has a background in the movie industry, so when the movie company contacted me, I immediately thought of him."

Hallmark contacted Stokes in fall seeking a consultant to assist with the filming of Remember Sunday, a Hallmark Hall of Fame and Disney ABC Television movie which airs at 8 p.m. on Sunday on ABC television. The film, which stars Zachary Levi and Alexis Bledel, is about an astrophysicist who sustains a head injury and cannot create new memories. Meisenheimer was hired to make sure that Levi's character sounded intelligent – and was accurate -- when he spoke about astronomy.

"UNO will be in the credits, which I'm very proud of, provided they got their physics right," said Stokes.

Meisenheimer, who has come close to making several movies himself, worked on the film from December through February. He met with Hallmark on behalf of the University in fall and found that producers "needed somebody to read the script, make sure that it made sense from a scientific point of view and make notes for the production [team]," Meisenheimer said. "I made notes of problems."

At one point, Meisenheimer noted that the script included new discoveries in astronomy that had already been made. On his advice, producers sent the script back to writers for revision.

When it came time for filming, UNO astrophysicist and professor Greg Seab loaned books, star charts and star atlases. Meisenheimer wrote pages for an old astronomy journal seen in the film. Producers borrowed one of his telescopes to use as a prop and asked him to provide on-set guidance.

"Any time the main character...was on camera talking about science or astronomy or any of the science stuff, they wanted me on set so I could advise him directly," said Meisenheimer. "For example, the pronunciation of certain terms or the differences between shooting stars and comets, which are two very different things."

 

Lagniappe: As president of the University's chapter of the Society of Physics Students, Isaac Meisenheimer planned this week's Einstein Week, a celebration of science, at UNO.

Read more about Einstein Week at UNO and Meisenheimer's involvement >>