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PEOPLE Goes Inside Leonardo DiCaprio's Top-Secret Movie Set

08/17/2009 at 10:15 AM EDT

PEOPLE Goes Inside Leonardo DiCaprio's Top-Secret Movie Set
Leonardo DiCaprio on the Paris set of Inception
KCSPresse/Splash News Online
After a private Mediterranean cruise with 12 pals that sailed from Aug. 12 through 16 along the French Riviera, Leonardo DiCaprio got an early jump on Labor Day by going back to work Monday in Paris for his latest movie, Inception, directed by Dark Knight's Christopher Nolan and which started shooting in London last month.

Trade reports have described Inception as a contemporary sci-fi action thriller set within "the architecture of the mind." But for DiCaprio and his costars, La Vie En Rose Oscar winner Marion Cotillard and Juno Oscar nominee Ellen Page, the setting was one of the more recognizable bridges on the Seine.

The bridge itself – the Pont de Bir-Hakeim – is no stranger to the screen, having recently been seen in 2007's National Treasure 2. Steven Spielberg also used it and its above-ground Metro line and distinctive view of the Eiffel Tower in his 2005 Munich, while Marlon Brando walked across it in the groundbreaking 1973 Last Tango in Paris. Now it's DiCaprio's turn.

After 7 a.m. makeup and wardrobe call, the star was on the Bir-Hakeim by 8:15 and worked until 12:15, as did Page. Cotillard was into makeup and wardrobe at 7:30 and at the bridge by noon.

Monday's scene on the closed set utilized two giant mirrors, each the size of a storefront and slowly rotating and reflecting each other. The leading man – dressed in a grey-green Armani jacket, black trousers and looking very tanned and blond – stood between them, creating a funhouse-mirror effect of a thousand reflections before the mirrors pulled away to reveal him walking the bridge with Ellen Page amid a sea of extras.

An argument develops between them and Page turns violent, shoving him, knocking him down. What followed were shots of the extras, standing as still as statues, as though they were frozen in time.

Shooting will continue in Paris through Thursday.

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