As a city that dates back to some of the earliest days of this country, it’s not surprising that much of our architecture is considered historical. Entire neighborhoods in Boston are designated “historical districts,” make it necessary that all businesses and residences within those limits adhere to strict standards in regards to maintaining the look of the time period the area is representative of. Many areas of Cambridge are the same way. This is part of the problem for the cast and crew of the 33 year-old PBS series, “This Old House,” which just began shooting it’s newest season at a home near Porter Square.
Cast members Kevin O’Connor and Tom Silva have been on the scene from the beginning, working on gutting the interior of the house and offering insight into what sorts of changes are being made to the structure. The Bellevue Ave. home was originally built in 1887 and is owned by Cambridge couple Sally Peterson and John Stone. Because the house is historic, the exterior will remain largely unchanged, but the interior will be completely gutted. Mounted cameras have been placed throughout the three stories in order to capture the progress of the work. As the renovations have already begun moving along, the construction crews are using various green construction practices as part of the overall show project. Many of the materials salvaged from the inside of the old home, including the kitchen sink, will be resold so that they can be re-used and repurposed. The first episode of the new season featuring the Cambridge home will premiere on WGBH this October.
Remember life without Facebook? Me either. But there was a time, not too long ago actually, that The Facebook was just an idea turning in the cogs of Mark Zuckerberg’s brilliant mind. In 2004, the Harvard student turned his pet project into the largest social network in the world thanks to two other students and a little financial help from his friend Eduardo Saverin. It quickly spread through the dorms of Harvard, extending its cyber fingertips to Stanford and other elite schools, until anyone in the world could join in updating statuses, upload pictures, and checking in on old friends of yesteryear.
The Social Network stars Jessie Eisenberg (Zombieland, The Education of Charlie Parker), who looks perfectly the part of Ivy league braniac Mark Zuckerberg, and Justin Timberlake smooth talks his way to the top as Sean Parker. Parker, who co-founded Napster in 1999, went on to become President of Facebook. Disney’s Brenda Song (“The Suite Life of Zack and Cody”) also co-stars.
So, a movie about a website? That sounds a little risky, but The Social Network takes us through the dark biography from the beginnings of TheFacebook.com to its global explosion with plenty of lies, betrayals and a love story or two along the way that could satiate anyone’s newsfeed hunger. Based on Ben Mezrich’s 2009 best-seller The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal, most of the movie was filmed in Cambridge. Although there were no scenes shot on Harvard’s Campus, Wheelock College, John’s Hopkins University, and Phillips Academy in Andover, MA doubled as Harvard yard.
The film looks like it will offer plenty of drama, and even though it is far from a documentary about the founding of the world’s most popular website, it should be interesting to see how a student’s part-time hobby turned into an integral part of almost every students’ lives. That, and the sepulchral version of Radiohead’s “Creep” during the trailer makes it look way to juicy to pass up. Catch it in theaters this fall.
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!
If singers-turned-actresses, outrageous ticket prices, and your Netflix account have turned you off to movie theaters lately, prepare to fall in love with the sights and sounds of cinema all over again. While the Harvard Film Archive (HFA) won’t be screening Avatar in 3D anytime soon, its collection of nearly 20,000 items—primarily 35mm and 16mm prints—is nothing to scoff at.
This spring, the HFA will screen films including The Salvation Hinters and Underworld by notable director Joseph von Sternberg and appearing in person, director Rakhshan Bani-Etemad’s Our Times and We Are Half of Iran’s Population.
Director of the HFA and a lecturer in Harvard’s department of Visual and Environmental Studies, Haden Guest recognizes that such less-than-mainstream cinema can be intimidating for blockbuster junkies. “We do show a lot of challenging and difficult modes of cinema,” he said, “but we do as much as possible to contextualize and introduce the films so one doesn’t have the feeling of being thrown into hot water. It’s my hope that our efforts to provide that environment that’s supportive of audiences that are unfamiliar.”
Guest explains that the selection of screenings is a testament to the HFA’s core audience: “I don’t think that there are many places in this country where you can screen experimental films to such a wrapt audience. We screen our films to a very unique audience of both old and young cinephiles,” While most moviegoers stream in from Emerson, Boston University, Mass Art, and of course, Harvard and the Cambridge community, Guest has also come to recognize a dedicated audience contingent driving down from Vermont and New Hampshire.
Whatever your commute may be, venture to the Harvard Film Archive soon. Check out the calendar for a complete look at screenings, lectures, and corresponding ticket prices. A division of Harvard University’s Fine Arts Library, the HFA is an affiliate of the International Federation of Film Archives and presents films most nights year round. All screenings are held in the Archive’s 200-seat theater located in the historic Carpenter Center for the Arts at 24 Quincy Street in Cambridge, MA.
In the former, Damon plays Mark Whitacre, a vice-president of a company accused of price-fixing who becomes an informant for the United States government. The Informant! was well-received and is based on a true story. It was directed by acclaimed filmmaker Steven Soderbergh.
Matt Damon is a Cambridge, MA native who was drawn to Invictus for a reason that has enthused many actors and actresses to take roles in the past – the chance to work with director Clint Eastwood. It’s a film about the famous South African President, Nelson Mandela, who encourages the nation’s rugby team to win the Rugby World Cup in 1995.
It’s appropriate that Damon should accept the role as the rugby team captain in Eastwood’s Invictus, since according to the news site TheAge.com.au, in high school he was an open advocate for Mandela’s release from prison.
While Damon won an Academy Award for Original Screenplay for Good Will Hunting along with childhood friend, Ben Affleck, in regards to his acting, he’s only been nominated for a Golden Globe or Oscar in the past and has yet to win. No matter whose name is called to accept a Golden Globe the night of January 17th, Matt Damon has done the greater Boston area proud, and shows no sign of slowing down.
Women in Film & Video New England will be hosting their November Networking Night tonight at NOIR in Cambridge, from 6:30-8:30PM. These monthly networking events occur monthly at various venues around Boston and Cambridge. They enable women from around the area who are interested and involved in film and media to make connections within the industry and hopefully provide them with the resources they need to create their unique visions.
This free event is open to members, both current and future, and all attendees are invited to bring friends. Women in Film & Video New England sponsors mentoring programs, scholarships, and other opportunities for women interested in working creatively behind the camera. The organization was started in 1981 by eleven Boston-based media professionals, including Rebecca Eaton, Raquel Ortiz, Christine Dall, Alice Hoffman, and Janet Krause.
NOIR Bar at the Charles Hotel on Bennett Street, is a short distance from the Harvard Square T stop on the Red Line, and also offers validated parking. The evening will feature bargain bar food sandwiches and flatbreads. Interested guests should RSVP to [email protected]. The next Networking Night will be held at a to-be-determined location on December 1st.
Networking opportunities abound in Hollywood East. To find more opportunities to connect with others, go to the Career Scene page of our website.
★ Knight and Day (formerly Wichita) film crew sets up on Dayton St. in Danvers, MA (above).
★ They always come home again; Matt Damon and family are spotted around Boston.
★ Playtime in the park; Jennifer Garner brings daughters Violet and Seraphina out in Cambridge.
★ The Boston Bike Film Fest rode through the weekend.
★ Alex McCord of “The Real Housewives of New York City” stops by Burlington, MA.
On September 26, EnterpriseNews.com reported that Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz‘s untitled film project temporarily known as Wichita had just finished filming a scene in Bridgewater, MA. The production crew shot the simulation of a Boeing 727 plane crash in a Cumberland Farms cornfield early Friday morning. Despite a neighborhood notification that the “firebomb” blast would occur between midnight and 4am, the big bang didn’t take place until 5:28am. More than 100 residents parked their cars in fields off of Summer Street to witness the explosion.
But Wichita‘s affair with Massachusetts isn’t exclusively on the South Shore; according to a September 17 article on The Boston Globe Online, the flick just finished up a week of filming on Windsor Street in Somerville–the industrial area adjoining East Cambridge.
Wichita‘s stars have been enjoying the first days of fall in our beloved Bean. On September 25, the Boston Herald Inside Track reported that Diaz was spotted buying some cigs at Harrison Avenue’s Bostonian Market. Before you assault that long, cool woman with anti-smoking statistics, be sure to ask for her autograph.
Diaz and Cruise were also spotted filming on Congress Street in Boston on Monday. Check out the video below to catch HEC’s roving reporter Mary Pierce on location.
Wichita is scheduled to hit theaters next July. To catch up on Hollywood East Connection coverage of the work-in-progress, click here.
According to an August 24 post on The Playlist, scouts for The Social Network have recently been scouring Boston and Cambridge for potential filming locations. Based on the founding of Facebook, The Social Network will hit Boston for more than just the tax incentives; the concept of Facebook was in fact born in a Harvard dorm.
With production scheduled to begin next month, the project is already well underway. Aaron Sorkin (A Few Good Men, “The West Wing”, Charlie Wilson’s War) adapted the script from Ben Mezrich’s The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, and Columbia Pictures is in “advanced talks” with David Fincher (Fight Club, Panic Room, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) to direct. Kevin Spacey will produce alongside Dana Brunetti and Scott Rudin.
An August 22 post on End of Show reports that the film is currently backed by a $47 million budget.
Columbia Pictures: The Not-So-Accidental Billionaires.
De-Lovely actress and humanitarian Ashley Judd recently enrolled in the John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Mid-Career Master in Public Administration (MC/MPA) at Harvard University.
According to the program’s website, the degree is meant to help “increase the knowledge and skills of well established, high-performing professionals, who seek to enhance their public service careers or to move from the private sector to a leadership position in either the public or non-profit sectors.” The program will take approximately one year to complete.
The 41-year-old actress has become more active with humanitarian work in recent years. Since 2004, she has served on the board of directors of Population Services International, a healthcare nonprofit organization. Additionally, she’s spoken before the General Assembly of the United Nations about human trafficking, and served as a Global Ambassador for YouthAIDS, where she travelled to Third World countries like Rwanda, Madagascar, and Thailand. More recently, she has become an advocate of the Defender’s of Wildlife, speaking against Sarah Palin’s wolf hunting program in Alaska.
The star of Double Jeopardy and The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood seems to be following in the footsteps of her Where the Heart Is costar, Natalie Portman, who attended the Ivy League school in Cambridge, where she completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology in June of 2003.
Judd received her undergraduate degree in French from the University of Kentucky in 2007 after a 17 year sabbatical. Her next movie, Tooth Fairy, is due out sometime next year.
You can subscribe to HollywoodEastConnection.com by e-mail address to receive news and upates directly in your inbox. Simply enter your e-mail below and click Sign Up!