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.
Despite its incredible influence on society, few of us actually think about what it really takes to make it in the entertainment industry. For one local actor/director/producer, the reality is all too clear, and his efforts to break into this exclusive industry are beginning to pay off.
Next month, Tony Pertesis is debuting his film Welcome to Jensen’s Part I, which was shot and filmed in his home state of Connecticut. The film, self described as a part dark comedy, part science fiction, is about a young girl that “dream visits” her mother and father in purgatory. With the help of her grandfather, a fact that both characters are unaware of, the girl navigates purgatory and meets its eccentric inhabitants while simultaneously exploring the idea of death. The film was conceived, cast, directed, shot, and edited by Pertesis himself.
Pertesis began his initial pursuit to become an actor when he moved to Los Angeles at the age of 20 in 1999. Working with his agent at the time, Alvarado Rey, Pertesis procured predominantly Latino roles in movies and commercials until he starred as the god Apollo in Little Hercules in 3D and was able to portray his true nationality. Pertesis starred alongside Richard Sandrak, Hulk Hogan, Robin Givens, Judd Nelson, and Elliot Gould, among others. While working on the movie, he was featured in an episode of the VH1 show “Hogan Knows Best” where he rustled Hulk Hogan’s feathers by flirting with his daughter Brooke. Since his move to Las Angeles, Pertesis has starred in Asylum, The Lady and the Taxi Driver, Psychotic, A Sea Apart, and many other movies, television shows and commercials.
In 2008, Pertesis moved back to Connecticut where he teaches acting classes and advises aspiring actors on how to make a name for themselves in the entertainment industry. It was his students, in fact that partially inspired him to shoot the film. “The thing that truly inspired me to shoot this film was the fact that I had all of the people to put in a film,” Pertesis said in an e-mail interview. “One day I was shooting some background of beautiful scenery in Connecticut. Then I thought it would be cool to have such amazing scenery and to shoot a film with my students in it so they could see how movies are made and their hard work pay off in a film that will last forever.” He continues to perform locally and host stand up comedy.
The premier of Welcome to Jensen’s Part I will take place at the Fairfield Community Theatre in Connecticut on December 1st at 7:30 pm. The cost will be $10 and there will be an after party at Bravo, next door to the theatre. Watch the trailer here:
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