Actress Tea Leoni couldn’t seem to contain her excitement or outrage Monday as she cheered, yelled and critiqued the referee’s calls from the bleachers of the soccer field at John J. Burns Park in Massapequa.
“That’s a high kick!” she shouted while springing to her feet.
“Clear the ball, girls!” she yelled.
Leoni was filming for her new CBS series, “Madam Secretary,” in which she plays U.S. Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord. Flanked by actors in suits, playing her security detail, Leoni's character rooted for a fictional Westmore Wildcats soccer team -- including her on-screen daughter, actress Kathrine Herzer -- and local players from the Plainedge Soccer Club’s Red Storm team.
In between takes, the seventh and eighth graders spent some time with Leoni.
“She told us we work well as a team,” said Rylie Trimble, 13, of Bethpage.
Rylie and her teammates spent hours kicking the ball around while the cameras rolled during a staged game against a group of girls from Connecticut that included soccer players and dancers. Some of the sequences were choreographed.
“This is mostly scripted and we’re not playing as aggressively as we usually do, so it’s pretty different,” she added. “It’s hard to hold back.”
Herzer was in goal, a role that Seaford resident Natalie Martinez usually plays when competing with her team. But Natalie gave Leoni’s on-screen daughter some tips.
“She’s doing a good job for a beginner,” she said.
The girls also praised Leoni’s soccer mom performance, but unanimously agreed that she reminded them more of their own outspoken dads than their mothers.
Vincent Battista is one of those fathers. He also was the person who worked with a casting agent to land the gig for his daughter Amanda’s team.
“It’s great that the show was filmed here and they used a local team,” he said. “This is their moment in the sun.”
Battista said he was told the scenes should appear in Episode 9 in about eight weeks.
Following the shoot at the soccer field, the crew also filmed down the road at the Nautilus Diner. A sign outside the Merrick Road eatery informed customers it would be closing early due to the shoot.
The restaurant, which dates back to 1963, reopened earlier this year after undergoing a major renovation. Owner Stella Efstathiou said the new look may have been what attracted the location scouts.
“‘I’m just so happy they chose this diner, they chose Massapequa, and it’s wonderful for the community,” she said.
Efstathiou also considers acting a hobby. She’s appeared in movies and TV shows as an extra in the past, so she was excited to make a cameo in one of the scenes.
Assemb. Joseph Saladino, a Massapequa native, said he, too, would be an extra in the diner scenes.
“I appreciate the opportunity to represent Long Island,” said Saladino, a Republican. “It’s pretty cool when the hometown guy has an opportunity to represent the folks that he loves so much.”