Celeb Spotting

Behind the scenes at James Harden's new commercial: Coffee shop becomes pizza palace for one day

Behind the scenes at the filming of James Harden's new commercial

Siphon Coffee James Harden Foot Locker
Rockets star James Harden filmed a commercial at Siphon Coffee on Sunday.  Siphon Coffee/Instagram
Siphon Coffee James Harden Foot Locker
The commercial closed Siphon for the day.  Siphon Coffee/Facebook
Siphon Coffee James Harden Foot Locker
A look at all the equipment required for a commercial shoot. Diane Caplan/Instagram
Siphon Coffee James Harden Foot Locker
Siphon Coffee James Harden Foot Locker
Siphon Coffee James Harden Foot Locker

Closing a popular coffee shop on a beautiful Sunday requires a pretty special occasion. Something unlikely, like Foot Locker deciding it's the perfect venue to film a new commercial featuring Rockets superstar James Harden.

Siphon Coffee found itself in that situation this weekend, when it announced Saturday afternoon it would be closed all day Sunday "for a private event shooting a national TV commercial."  It turns out that in the ad, Harden is promoting the new Nike Zoom Run the One that comes out Nov. 15, Eater Houston reports.

  "(Harden) sounded like he really practiced his lines," Caplan said. 

Owner Michael Caplan tells CultureMap that the process started a week ago with a location editor who was scouting out options. "They came out to our space three mornings in a row and took a bunch of pictures. They really loved our space," he said.

When they called on Friday to inform Caplan that executives in California had chosen Siphon, they had some bad news. "'We're going to make you a pizza space,'" Caplan recalls being told. "'We think pizza is more in our demographic than coffee.'"

After agreeing on a price of $5,500 to close for the day, a crew arrived at 3:30 a.m. Sunday to begin setting up. In place of Siphon's regular chalkboard menu that lists coffees and food items prepared in the shop's kitchen, the crew hung a sign listing various pizzas and added a few props. Regulars will recognize the seating area, which remained unchanged.

A crew of actors and Siphon barista Carrie started working at 8 a.m., ahead of Harden's arrival at 12:30 p.m. Caplan says he was impressed by the Beard's performance during the three-hour shoot. "It seemed to me like he was doing really well," Caplan says. "He sounded like he really practiced his lines."

The shoot ended around 5 p.m.

The owner even had a chance to talk to the star between takes. "I met James and told him to check us out. He told me he really liked our space. I'm hoping to see him in the next few weeks," Caplan said.

Look for the commercial to air soon. In the meantime, head to Siphon for its scientific brews and possible celebrity sightings.  

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