It was quite the undertaking back in 2016 when NCIS teamed up with former first lady Michelle Obama to shoot a scene in the White House.
We all know that the White House is both the residence and the working place of the President of the United States. And we know it’s located in the nation’s capital of Washington D.C. What we don’t know, perhaps, is just how challenging it is and how much behind-the-scenes work it takes to shoot a scene at the White House for a TV show.
Thankfully, NCIS producer Charles Floyd Johnson shared some of that knowledge with us in an interview with the Television Academy last year. He told the story of how the show teamed up with the former first lady to promote Joining Forces — an organization that helps the families of veterans.
“I had luckily been in the White House before, and with the Obama’s when I did a picture called ‘Red Tails,'” Johnson explained. “So I had been there and I had met Mrs. Obama but not spent a lot of time with her.”
You can watch the entire interview with the NCIS producer down below:
‘NCIS’ Producer Explains the Process behind Filming at the White House
This time would be different from the first time that Charles Johnson met Michelle Obama. NCIS would be bringing all of their film equipment to the White House and the first lady at the time would be playing a role.
Johnson said that once Michelle Obama expressed interest in the collaboration, that sparked weekly meeting sessions on the phone to plan out the details. It took a ton of preparation and coordination between both sides. But once the day finally came, the show’s producer said it took two days to shoot the scene.
“This time, it took us two days. So we went to the White House one day and spent the whole day preparing. All the equipment had to be brought in before we got there. And with all of the security and everything it was just amazing.”
But Johnson says they never actually met up with the first lady until the day of the shoot.
“She had been working on her lines. She had about five lines,” he said. “And on the day we shot, it was all a buzz and we got ready. And then she walked in. And Michelle Obama is just one of those people when she walks into a room it just lights up.”
Not only did Michelle Obama talk the talk, she walked the walk. Johnson said that she nailed her lines in the first take. Obama’s part on NCIS — the popular military crime show — came in Season 13 Episode 22, “Homefront.”
“We know the sacrifices our military families are making, and it doesn’t go unnoticed. Nor do the sacrifices of our veterans,” Obama says to Gibbs during the scene.