And so, another year has passed in Hollywood East, and with it, a ton of projects, developments, and other news items that captured our interest throughout 2011. Let’s take a look back at what made headlines in Hollywood East over the past year.
A bevy of big budget productions pranced their way through the Bay State, bringing with it a steady stream of big name stars. I Don’t Know How She Does It brought Sarah Jessica Parker, Christina Hendricks, and “Cheers” alum, Kelsey Grammar. Ted brought Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, and Seth MacFarlane. Here Comes the Boom brought Kevin James, Salma Hayek, and Henry Winkler. I Hate You Dad brought Adam Sandler, Adam Samberg, and Leighton Meester. And finally, R.I.P.D. brought Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon, and Kurt Russell.
We were excited to see all the films that debuted this year that filmed in Boston in whole or in part in the past year or two. Films like The Zookeeper, Moneyball, I Don’t Know How She Does It, and What’s Your Number showed movie-goers across the country why the Bay State makes such a beautiful backdrop for major motion pictures.
There were also updates on the state of the MA film tax credits, with some changes taking place. The Office of Travel and Tourism took over the responsibilities previously looked after by the Massachusetts Film Office, with Lisa Strout taking over for Nick Paleologos.
In more disappointing news, it seems the Plymouth Rock Studios project has been put on permanent hold.
Culled from our own backyard, we spoke to local stars of film, TV, and music. Brighton-based band Gentlemen Hall made us lend an ear and a cheer as we watched these talented youngsters make their live national television debut on the Billboard Music Awards.
We were lucky enough to get invited to a sneak peak of the Footloose remake, and got to talk to home-grown star, Kenny Wormald on how he brought a little bit of Boston to the new version of this 80s cult classic.
Reality TV continues to make headlines year after year. In 2011, we watched with excitement the adventures the infamous “Deathwish Movers” went through each week, and cheered on local stars on “Top Chef: Desserts”, “Chopped”, and the “Expedition Impossible” who did New England proud. The genre even inspired the hilarious web-series, “Real Housewives of South Boston”, which we sincerely hope to see more of in 2012!
The culinary world even captured our attention, with it’s Hollywood East Connections. Our favorite homeboy, Mark Wahlberg, surprised us all by venturing into the culinary world, opening the aptly named Wahlburgers in Hingham. “Hell’s Kitchen” star, Jason Santos, opened Blue Inc., and “Top Chef; All Stars” contestant, Tiffany Faison, opened the ever so cutely named BBQ spot, Sweet Cheeks.
These are just a few of the fabulous and fascinating stories that kept us connected in Hollywood East this year. Here’s hoping 2012 brings with it more excitement in TV, movies, and music across the New England states!
Its not unusual in the movie-making process for some time to pass between when a movie completes filming and when its actually released in theaters. Often the time between the production and its release can mean that the debut of a movie comes in the year following the year it was made. Sometimes, it takes a little longer.
The Zookeeper was filmed in Boston in the summer of 2009, and featured the likes of Kevin James, Rosario Dawson, and Joe Rogan. During production, crews were spotted all around Beantown, in places like Boston Common, Commonwealth Avenue, and the Franklin Park Zoo. The film follows the quirky tale of a zookeeper (James) who aspires to win back the hand of a lost love by getting help from the talking animals who are residents of the zoo he works at. The movie was originally set to be released in the fall of last year, but tested very high with preview audiences, so it instead got pushed to a higher profile summer release for this year. The trailer has just been released, and many familiar Boston sights can be seen, in addition to the amusing CGI effects that make the many animal costars talk.
Kevin James, who is no stranger to filming in the Bay State with other features like Paul Blart Mall Cop and Grown Ups filming here, has recently been spending even more time in the area, filming his newest project, Here Comes the Boom, in the cities of Boston and Lowell. Looking very different from his appearance in The Zookeeper trailer, the actor has reportedly lost about 80 pounds for his new role as a biology teacher who becomes an Ultimate Fighting champion to raise money for his school’s flailing music program. The movie was spotted filming in East Boston throughout the Memorial Day weekend.
Hollywood East is bright with hot to trot Hollywood film crews all over New England. And lucky for us, our inboxes are filled with casting calls, workshops and classes.
We know there can be a lot of dilly dallying between gigs especially with the winter we had, so we thought we would share some hot happenings to keep you in the loop this spring.
Want to be a movie extra? Right now is the time to try it out here in New England. With Ted, Here Comes the Boom and I Hate You, Dad currently shooting and gearing up for shoots, casting companies such as Boston Casting, C.P Casting and South Shore Casting are looking for you.
An extra helps create the reality of the location, making the scene look just right for the main actors. It may not seem like important work, but it’s what makes the flick real. And being an extra isn’t as easy as you might think, with early morning starts, wardrobe changes, waiting in the “holding area,” and possibly working a 12-14 hour day. But over time, these experiences allow you to grow and develop your craft as an actor in the background.
This weekend, Jodi Purdy-Quinlan of South Shore Casting and Sande Alessi Casting — the Los Angeles based casting directors of Pirates of the Caribbean, Social Network — will be holding an open casting call for background extras on May 21st and 22nd at Carson Place (next to the Bay State Expo) South Boston. If you can’t make that event, there will be another casting on May 28th in Cape Cod. These casting calls are for union and nonunion actors. Become fans of South Shore Casting on FB to stay connected!
Boston Casting has sent also out at least a dozen emails announcing casting calls for extra work on Ted and Here Comes the Boom. Most of these castings don’t require a specific type and extra work isn’t the only casting going on at the hip agency. Web videos and commercial opportunities are on the rise.
How do you sign up to be an extra with Boston Casting? They offer a free agency pro tool where you can upload a head shot and resume to their database, and submit yourself for many types of auditions.
Once you’re in the Boston Casting database, they’ll contact you if you’re what they’re looking for, as long as you’re available for the entire day of the shoot. If you like this agency pro tool you can upgrade for a small fee which will give you access to your own website where you can upload more head shots, reels and even look at traffic on your site. But you don’t need to upgrade to get extra work – it’s free! So sign up and start submitting to some of these casting calls.
While your there, check out the Media Performance Center at Boston Casting. They have a fabulous spring line-up that could make any actor blush. Not only will you get the chance to perfect your craft but you can schmooze with some of the agents on site.
One workshop we’d like to spotlight is called Nailing the Audition with the acclaimed casting director, Angela Peri, founder of Boston Casting, on May 28th. With Peri’s fine eye, actors will leave with valuable insight and get connected with one of the busiest casting directors around. Room is still available, but seats are filling up fast.
Right now is the time to be part of the growing TV and Film industry in Hollywood East. Stay tuned for more upcoming casting calls and don’t forget to check out the Hollywood East Connection’s Career Scene page for more work opportunities!
He might be most well-remembered for playing a leather-jacket wearing, motorcycle riding, ladies man who had more onomatopoetic catch-phrases than anyone, but Henry Winkler is doing more than riding his mid-70s to mid-80s success into eternity. The actor, now in his 60s, is spending time talking to others about caring for stroke victims.
Winkler’s mother, Ilsa, suffered a stroke in 1989 at age 76, and lost her hand and arm mobility as a result. Winkler was unable to help her recover from these losses, and became one of her caregivers. Yesterday afternoon at the Faulkner Hospital at Brigham and Women’s in Boston, Winkler spoke to a stroke support group at the hospital about his experiences.
The star also has been known to work with the Annual Cerebral Palsy Telethon, the Epilepsy Foundation, Toys for Tots, and the National Committee for Arts for the Handicapped, and the Special Olympics, and has collaborated on a series of children’s books for those with learning disabilities. Winkler was diagnosed with dyslexia at age 31.
Winkler, who happened to also be in town shooting scenes for the new Kevin James comedy, Here Comes the Boom, was also spotted looking rather cheery in a yellow puff jacket on set at the old Quincy High School by the Boston Herald. Another one of his costars on the movie, Salma Hayek, was also spotted lunching at Stephanie’s on Newbury on Monday. Winkler himself has certainly been making the rounds, also popping up to talk to J.C. Monahan on “Boston’s View” on channel 5 and NECN to talk about his iconic role, his new movie, and to talk about his work with the Open Arms Campaign. The Emerson grad even taught some acting classes at his old alma mater.
Movie-making is returning to the Bay State. After a rather jam-packed 2009 which saw numerous major motion pictures filming in and around the Boston area, Beantown has not seen camera crews and production trucks since What’s Your Number with Anna Faris packed up in early July of last year.
Earlier this month, Columbia Pictures announced they had settled on a location for their new movie, Here Comes the Boom starring Kevin James, Salma Hayek, and Joe Rogan. The movie will begin shooting this spring, and will take place in only 20 days, reaching completion by June. The film will be shot almost entirely within the old Quincy High School building.
The story will follow James’s character, who plays a high school teacher by day, pro fighter by night in order to save the school’s music program.
Boston Casting has already held 2 open calls for both experienced MMA fighters, referees, and announcers, and actors that look like they can play high school-aged teens, for both principal and extra roles. More casting calls will be held as the film moves closer to actual production.
The vacant school building, which is set to be demolished after filming is completed this summer, will earn the city $80,000 in rental fees from the production company.
James is not stranger to filming here–in 2008, he filmed Paul Blart: Mall Cop at the Burlington Mall and parts of West Roxbury, and in 2009 he spent his entire summer here between The Zookeeper and Grown Ups. The Zookeeper is set to be released on July 8th of this year, and was directed by Frank Coraci, who will also direct Here Comes the Boom, and also costarred Joe Rogan.
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