While it’s no secret Boston has become the unofficial capital of Hollywood East, with numerous films and TV shows shooting here each year, it’s been hard not to stumble across camera crews and make-shift sets, despite sometimes very well-guarded production details. What has been kept slightly more hush hush has been the hotspots in the Hub that the stars of these projects hit when they’re not on the clock.
Boston’s restaurant scene has caught the Hollywood wave and starting offering more upscale options. Not surprisingly, many of the celeb favorites are centered around the Back Bay/Newbury Street area. Long-time favorite Sonsie has played host to Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Hulk Hogan, Roger Clinton, and Donnie Wahlberg.
For dessert, it seems that everyone in fact does scream for ice cream. The Newbury Street location of Ben & Jerry’s posts pictures on their walls of the famous faces that often stop by their store. Alec Baldwin, John Mayer, Jane Fonda, Ellen Pompeo, and players from the Celtics have all grabbed a cone recently.
In order to keep in shape (and perhaps work off the pounds from all that ice cream) the Sports Club/LA, adjacent to the Ritz Carlton hotel is arguably one of the most upscale gyms in town. That’s why it’s not surprising that The Rock, Justin Timberlake, Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, and Emilio Estevez, Reese Witherspoon, and Britney Spears have all been spotted working out there at one time or another.
To blow off a little steam in a different sense, Felt Nightclub is a big favorite with the glitterati. Stars like Brendan Fraser, Adam Sandler, Kevin James, and Chris Rock have all made a presence there in the past year or so while they’ve been in town for projects. Other stars like Mark Wahlberg, Matt Damon, and Ben and Casey Affleck frequent the hip spot whenever their roots call them home again.
Speaking of Mark Wahlberg, he and Will Farrell will be at his restaurant, Alma Nove, in Hingham, MA celebrating the premiere of their new flic, The Other Guys, showing at the Patriot Cinemas in Hangham. The Alma Nove restaurant is owned by three Wahlberg brothers, including chef Paul Wahlberg, and family friend Ed St. Croix.
There’s a plethora of other places HEC has spotted celebs during their off hours. Singer Seal was seen in Boston’s Public Garden last spring while he was in town to sing the national anthem at Fenway Park. Actress Natalie Portman was in Cambridge in February for a friend’s wedding. Brooke Shields was spotted in her off-time from shooting Furry Vengeance at South Boston eateries Flour2 and Sportello. Funnymen Denis Leary and Lenny Clark grabbed lunch at the Four Seasons last spring while Leary was in town for his son’s graduation from Emerson College. Grown Ups costars David Spade and Colin Quinn were seen last summer grabbing a weekend bite at Sel De La Terre on Boylston Street.
★ Cast of the Bay State film, Fury Vengeance talk about real life animal encounters at the premiere (above).
★ Two-time Tony Award winning actress Frances Sternhagen, also known as Cliff’s mom on Cheers and Bunny MacDougal on Sex and the City, performs at the Salem Theatre Company.
★ Katie Holmes to star as Jackie Kennedy in HBO miniseries.
★ Scott Brown’s daughter, and former “American Idol” contestant, Ayla, gets job on CBS’s “The Early Show”.
★ “Project Runway” contestant, designer Kara Janx, to appear at the May 12th and 13th Stylefixx event in Boston, previewing her spring 2010 line.
★ The New England Patriot Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen drop $20 million to build the their ideal home in Brentwood, California.
A slew of Massachusetts-filmed movies began hitting theaters in February and continue to roll out this summer. Furry Vengeance hit theaters last Friday coming in at number five in the box office. The kid flick chronicles a standoff between titan real estate developer Brendan Frasier and some cute and not-so-cuddly woodland critters fighting to keep their habitats preserved. Furry Vengeance also stars Brooke Shields. The Lightkeepers, starring Richard Dreyfuss, opened in March. Set in early 20th century Cape Cod, Dreyfuss plays a reclusive lighthouse keeper who has sworn off women.
Summer blockbusters Grown Ups and Knight and Day are both due out June 25th, but that’s not the only thing they have in common. Both were filmed in Massachusetts, but that’s about where the similarities end. Grown Ups features a star-studded cast headed by Adam Sandler, Salma Hayek, Steve Buscemi, Chris Rock, Kevin James, Rob Schneider, David Spade, Maya Rudolph, and Tim Meadows (whew!). The group reunites as adults after their high school basketball coach dies and inevitably hilarity ensues. Knight and Day pairs up Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz on an action-adventure with a tinge of comedy. The two play a globetrotting fugitive couple on the run who realize nothing is what it appears to be, even each other.
The Social Network (Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake) and the The Town (Ben Affleck and Blake Lively) are due out this fall. Every college kid will identify with The Social Network with its history and evolution of ex-Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg’s creation of Facebook (which has its roots in Cambridge). In The Town, Ben Affleck is a bank robber who’s feelings for a bank manager get in the way of his next heist.
Set to come out in 2010 with no official release dates are The Company Men and The Fighter. Ben Affleck is having a busy year, also starring in The Company Men along side Kevin Costner and Tommy Lee Jones which premiered earlier this year. The Fighter (Christian Bale, Mark Wahlberg, and Amy Adams) takes a look at boxer “Irish” Mickey Ward’s early career in the 1980s. Local actress Erica McDermott also makes an appearance.
It seems like no matter where you look this year, there’s a good chance you’ll see Massachusetts in many shots on the big screen!
Soon to hit theaters, the Massachusetts-filmed family comedy, Furry Vengeance, starring Brendan Fraser, Brooke Shields, and Rob Riggle. The movie, which is actually set in Oregon, follows the story of a real estate developer, played by Brendan Fraser, who finds that his latest endeavor is being protested by the native forest animals upset at having their homes disturbed by the construction. Hilarity ensues as Fraser’s character endures countless assaults by all sorts of woodland creatures, great and small.
Taking advantage of the state’s generous tax credits, the movie did most of its shooting in Boston, Topsfield, Danvers, and Crane Beach in Ipswich, Massachusetts during the summer of 2009. In addition to bringing big-name stars to the Bay State, this is the first of two animal themed comedies to film here last summer that will be released in 2010. The other, The Zookeeper, starring Kevin James, filmed mostly at the Franklin Park Zoo and will be out in theaters this October.
Furry Vengeance also stars Angela Kinsey and Ricky Garcia, and is slated for its theatrical release on April 30. Were you an extra on this film? Tell us about it!
Watch the trailer here:
As more and more movies have turned to Hollywood East for filming locations, Boston has become quite the celebrity hub. Combined with the number of stage shows, traveling theater, concert venues, world class hotels, world-renowned universities, and high-profile sporting and charity events, Beantown’s ability to attract the A-list crowd is significant. With stars ranging from former SNL castmembers, to popular movie actors, to reality show winners, lately, it seems like there’s no telling who you could run into walking down the streets of Boston these days.
Here at Hollywood East Connection, we’ve heard about a variety of celebrity sightings over the past year. These stars have been spotted all around town by fans. Singer Seal was seen in Boston’s Public Garden. Actress Natalie Portman was in town in February for a friend’s wedding in Cambridge. Brooke Shields was spotted in her off-time from shooting Furry Vengeance at a number of South Boston eateries. She wasn’t the only one sampling local eats, funnymen Denis Leary and Lenny Clark grabbed lunch at the Four Seasons last spring, and Grown Ups costars David Spade and Colin Quinn were seen this summer grabbing a bite at Sel De La Terre. We even caught Lady GaGa’s make-up artist shopping at the Pru.
We’ve also heard from up-and-coming stars from the New England area about their experiences on set with all the big names. Local talent Bradley J. Van Dussen checked out Robin Wright Penn’s piggy toes on the set of Empire Falls and in his first-time movie role, teen actor Anthony O’Leary talked baseball with Ben Affleck on the set of The Company Men. Movie extra Kathy Fitzgerald recently shared with us details of her experience on the set of the the Martin Scorsese directed Shutter Island. She tells Hollywood East Connection:
“I worked on Shutter Island as a criminally insane person and was right on the side of the path that Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Max Von Sydow, and Sir Ben Kinglsey walked down. With the many takes of Leonardo walking down in his ‘detective’ costume, he and Mark kept looking at me with a quirk. I knew what it was, but could do nothing about it. Finally, after about 7 takes, and a ‘cut’ yelled out, Leonardo looked at me again and asked…”What’s with the curl?” Then they both started laughing. All I could say was…”That’s what they did to me, what can I say?” The hair people took my bangs and put them into one curl in the middle of my forehead, while the rest of my very long hair remained normal, if not nice and shiny.”
Whether its accidental encounters on the street, or more professional experiences with fellow actors on set, there’s no doubt that Boston has become quite the hotbed for celebrity activity. As the summer shooting season is about to heat up, we want to hear your stories about your close encounters of the movie star kind on the streets of Boston and its surrounding areas. Email your sightings, and snapshots to [email protected]!
Spring is in the air, which means it’s time for another Hollywood East Connection give-away. As we come out of winter’s hibernation, here’s your chance to freshen up your look with a celebrity facial by Master Aesthetician and celebrity makeup artist, Maria Lekkakos of the award-winning M. Lekkakos salon, spa, and boutique in Wenham, MA.
As our way of saying thank you to our loyal subscribers, we’re giving away one free Ultrasound Facial, a facial Maria does on her movie sets. Last year, Maria provided skincare services to celebrity actors, Brooke Shields, Rosario Dawson, and Salma Hayek, just to name a few, during the filming of Grown Ups , Furry Vengeance and Zookeeper last year.
The Ultrasound Facial is ideal for dehydrated, eczema, rosacea, mature and acne-prone skin. It combines the Signature M. Lekkakos Facial with SonoCare technology, to vastly improve one’s skin texture and yield long-lasting results.
If you’re not already a subscriber, make sure you sign up by April 20th for your chance to win. To subscribe, enter your email address in the field that says ‘Enter email address…’ on the right side of this page and click Subscribe. Click here for the official contest rules.
Lately, there’s been much debate over the state of Massachusetts’ film tax credit and the benefits to the local economy. Well here’s one business owner who felt a direct impact from last year’s local feature filmmaking.
Master Aesthetician and celebrity makeup artist, Maria Lekkakos of the award-winning M. Lekkakos salon, spa, and boutique in Wenham, MA, had the fortune of providing her skincare services to celebrity actors, Brooke Shields, Rosario Dawson, and Salma Hayek, just to name a few, during the filming of Grown Ups , Furry Vengeance and Zookeeper last year.
Raised in Rockport, MA, Maria trained under a top aesthetician in Greece, learning techniques and using products that are different from what is used in the U.S. While there, she networked herself within the local entertainment industry and started doing makeup on some of the country’s most popular entertainers. Upon returning to the U.S., she was often called upon to do work for them and eventually opened her own spa and salon. In 2004, Maria was crowned Miss Massachusetts USA and she has since been recognized by celebrities in the U.S. and many others in the beauty and fashion industry.
We met with Maria to hear her story and get a glimpse of her celebrity facial. Watch it here:
HEC: How did you get started in your career as an aesthetician?
I was really born with a passion for skin care. In school, chemistry was one of my favorite subjects. I was also a beauty product junkie. From a very young age, I would buy different beauty products at the drugstore and mix them in my mom’s kitchen.
HEC: How has your training helped you?
Tremendously. In addition to my formal education, I traveled, which was invaluable. Through my travels, I used a lot of different product lines and many different techniques, learning what works and what doesn’t.
HEC: What professional qualities are important in doing this type of work?
I think attitude and personality are very important. Aestheticians have to not only be confident in their work, but to also click with their clients.
HEC: What are the best and worst parts of being an Aesthetician?
For me, the best parts of being an Aesthetician are being able to show people what’s new, what works and what’s hot. One of the more difficult parts of doing this type of work is helping a client to understand that it takes teamwork. Sometimes clients don’t want to commit to a regimen, which can make our job more difficult.
HEC: What advice do you have for someone trying to get work in this field?
That being successful is about getting as much experience and education as possible, even if it means working for free, so that you can build a clientele. Most new aestheticians don’t realize just how much time, effort, and work it takes to establish oneself.
HEC: What has been your most memorable work experience thus far?
The entire experience of working in Greece on celebrities and working on movie sets has been memorable. Preparing actors for certain scenes and then seeing those scenes on the big screen or stage is very rewarding.
On Friday, CBS Films released Extraordinary Measures to theaters, a film that chronicles a father’s journey to find a cure for his children’s debilitating illness. The movie costars Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraser. As first reported in the Boston Herald,
“the film is based on a true story that has its roots in Boston, but the city and Genzyme Corp., the company that found a treatment for Pompe disease, aren’t in the film.”
The disease, which is also known as glycogen storage disease type II, seriously hampers the body’s ability to break down stored sugar, when progressed, can leave its victims unable to eat, walk, or breathe on their own. Cambridge based scientists at Genzyme Corp. that worked on trying to find a cure for this horrifying condition are excited by the notion that this story is coming to the big screen.
“I hope it increases awareness not only of these diseases and gives more hope to people with other rare diseases.” Dr. Robert Mattaliano, a vice president at Genzyme told the Boston Herald.
Brendan Fraser’s character was based on the real-life John Crowley, a Harvard Business School graduate who quit his job to launch a biotechnology company in Oklahoma when he learned his young son and daughter have the disease. Years later, a drug treatment was successfully brought to the market, and the Harvard Business School and a Wall Street Journal reporter both published works chronicling Crowley’s inspiring journey. Crowley’s own memoir will be on bookstore shelves soon.
Despite Extraordinary Measures not being filmed in Beantown, star Brendan Fraser is not unfamiliar with making movies in the Boston-area. This past summer, he spent much of his time in the Bay State filming Furry Vengeance, costarring Brooke Shields, and is set to be released in April.
The trailer for the made-in-Massachusetts flick Furry Vengeance was recently released, showcasing a handful of Greater Boston area filming locations. Crane Beach, Danvers, and Topsfield were among the cities that the cast and crew frequented last year during production.
The comedy follows real estate developer Dan Sanders (Brendan Fraser) as he carries out his latest project: a shopping mall that threatens to wipe out a nature preserve. When the locals–raccoons, porcupines, and a huge grizzly bear–learn of the plans, an all-out battle of man vs. wild erupts. Dan’s wife Tammy (Brooke Shields) and son Tyler (Matt Prokop) are caught in the crossfire, and must help Dan realize the inhumanity of his efforts.
Furry Vengeance has partnered with the Take Part campaign in hopes of further promoting the film’s message of environmental action. Check out the site to see how you can contribute to wildlife protection efforts.
The movie is tentatively scheduled for theatrical release on April 2, 2010; be sure to check out the sneak peek below.
Brendan Frasier is at his comedic antics again with his new movie, Furry Vengeance, which began filming this week in schools and businesses in Topsfield, Massachusetts.
According to movie websites, the film will star Frasier as a real estate developer who relocates his family from Chicago to Oregon in order to build a new housing subdivision. This expansion into the Oregon wilderness will pit Frasier’s character against a plethora of woodland creatures angry at the human encroachment into their territory.
Directed by Roger Kumble, whose work also includes Just Friends, The Sweetest Thing, and Cruel Intentions, and written by Michael Carnes and Josh Gilbert, the cast of Furry Vengeance stars film heavy-hitters as well as actors new to the business. Aside from Frasier, the cast thus far is slated to include Brooke Shields, Ken Jeong, Dick Van Dyke, Matt Prokop, Skyler Samuels and Samantha Bee. The movie release is scheduled for early April 2010.
So for any New Englanders that are fans of the cast or what promises to be a heart-warming, lesson-learned comedy, head down to Topsfield in the upcoming weeks for a chance to get a glimpse of this movie being filmed.
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