There were those who were paid to be there.

And then there was the Nicolas Cage fan club.

For about 15 hours Saturday, film crews set up shop on McKeldin Mall to shoot a scene from the forthcoming National Treasure II: Book of Secrets, the sequel to the 2004 treasure-hunt-come-full-length-suspense starring Cage.

An open casting call mid-March hired 165 extras, mostly university students, for the scene that will beam the university to the silver screen when the movie is released late this year. And the possibility of catching a glimpse of the film’s lead actor reeled in a different crowd of about 200 gawkers who dared battle the day’s near-freezing temperatures and gusts of wind.

“I want to be impregnated by Nicholas Cage!” said Matt Tinsworth, a junior economics major. “He is my God.”

Rumors rippled through the crowd that some people drove from Philadelphia hoping to catch a glimpse of the actor who won the Academy Award for leading role in 1995’s Leaving Las Vegas. But Cage was only by a reporter spotted pacing about, eyes focused forward, not glancing toward the crowd.

Meanwhile, production crew members barked commands at the crowds loitering in the area.

The extras, who were there from about 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., were ordered to loiter, play football or skateboard as background activity. The scene centered around a conversation between the film’s main characters after they visit a linguistics professor at the university.

“No talking!” a production assistant yelled. “No flash photography! Turn off your cell phones!”

Cage, Diane Kruger (Troy), Jon Voight (Mission: Impossible, Deliverance, Runaway Train) and Justin Bartha (Failure to Launch, Gigli) were some of the film’s stars on the campus Saturday. Helen Mirren (The Queen) was not. In the film, Cage plays a treasure hunter looking to unveil the truth behind the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

And although Cage was hard to get, some managed a picture with some of the other stars. Tinsworth was one of the lucky ones.

“Voight’s a nice guy,” Tinsworth said after a picture on the mall with the Academy Award-winning actor and father of Angelina Jolie.

Michael Singer, the film’s publicist, admitted the production’s first choice for the scene was the University of Virginia. But he said the script was changed so the university will portray itself and won’t be a stand-in for another school.

“It’s an extraordinarily beautiful, picturesque campus,” Singer said.

Yet the setting posed some difficulties because of temperatures dipping to the mid-30s and an overnight dusting of snow before the filming of a scene that was written to take place on a warm, sunny spring day.

Lauren Ford, a freshman government and politics major, said she and other extras were required to dress lightly to fit the scene, despite the actual weather.

“It was pretty cold, but it was so much fun,” Ford said.

Contact reporter Laura Schwartzman at