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!
2010 has been a big year in Hollywood East, with many made in Massachusetts films coming to the big-screen with much fanfare and success, as other future TV and film projects went to work in the Bay State, ensuring more New England flavor will be infused into Tinseltown’s productions for years to come. We took a look back at some of the major stories that you wanted to know about.
The Company Men, starring Ben Affleck, debuted at the Coolidge Corner Theater in February as part of the Sundance Film Festival. Writer/director John Wells sat down and talked to us about his film, which also co-starred Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner, and Massachusetts native Chris Cooper, as a group of executives who were laid off in a corporate down-sizing. The movie had filmed in Boston and surrounding suburbs in late spring and early summer 2009.
Also in February, we got an update on the Plymouth Rock Studios, where we found out that the studio had been downsizing and moving ahead with financing efforts in an attempt to get the construction of the project successfully off the ground. Not much else has been heard from the studio since then.
In March, the Massachusetts state legislature made several attempts to cap the successful film tax credit program, putting various versions of the bill with amendments to vote, before finally laying it to rest in favor of the notion that capping the bill would limit film-making in the state, negatively affecting potential job creation that occurs as a result of these films.
In May, filming began of the romantic comedy, What’s You’re Number, starring Anna Faris and Chris Evans. Numerous casting calls were held in advance of production, calling for both union and non-union extras that were needed to fill the various wedding and crowd scenes in the film. Filming continued throughout Boston’s neighborhoods, including the North End, Back Bay, Financial District, and waterfront from mid-May to mid-July.
This summer and fall, we saw the first of a number of made in Massachusetts flicks get released, including Furry Vengeance, Knight and Day, Grown Ups, and The Social Network. Many of these films were shot in the area during the spring and summer of 2009.
In July, we spoke to Christopher Murphy, Film and TV Development Executive at MyTV New England, who formally announced a new distribution program that would help bring locally made TV shows and films to broadcast TV through branded entertainment and budgeting made in-line with already acquired funds. This new type of programming has already helped bring viewers around New England Debra Crosby’s Talent Quest TV show, and a new independent film series that will be debuting in February.
In September, Ben Affleck’s second directorial endeavor, The Town, debuted in theaters, co-starring Blake Lively and Chris Cooper. Affleck, who also starred in the movie, filmed the movie throughout Boston and Charlestown in the summer of 2009. The film is based on the book of the same name, and is set in Charlestown.
In October, the state of Connecticut announced formal plans to break ground on a $50 million studio sound stage that will also include a hotel, restaurant and shopping complex, and will create as many as 500 union construction jobs over the next year.
Earlier this month, The Fighter debuted at theaters, instantly garnering award-season buzz, starting out with 6 Golden Globe nominations. Starring Dorchester’s Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, the real-life story of fighter Mickey Ward was filmed in the greater Boston area in the late spring and early summer of 2009, and will continue to be a favorite as Oscar season draws nearer.
This month also marked the end of Nick Paleologos’s tenure as executive director of the Massachusetts Film Office, as a recent bill passed in August that reorganized the duties of the office, and a new agency called the Massachusetts Marketing Partnership was created which will be responsible for the development and promotion of film and sports events in Massachusetts from 2011 onward.
Overall, 2010 marked a great year for Massachusetts, and Hollywood East in general, and we look forward to bringing you all the excitement to come in 2011!
The local film community, as well as local businesses can sigh in relief after yesterday’s decision by the Massachusetts House to reject the amendment that proposed to limit to the film tax credits, and thereby paving the way for continued feature filmmaking in the Bay state. Per the Boston Herald’s announcement yesterday, state lawmakers rejected an amendment that would have limited the film tax credit, instead agreeing (including House Speaker Robert DeLeo) that filmmaking truly does help create jobs for locals.
Although out-of-state film producers bring their own crew for specific tasks, they also rely heavily on local businesses from caterers to equipment rentals, skin care services and of course, background extras. Film community members protested 3 weeks ago during hearing 3854 on March 3rd at the state house and later the bill was rejected on March 11th after much debate. Yesterday, after rejecting additional amendments, the Bill was finally laid to rest. We New Englanders may not get star-struck by celebrity actors in our neighborhoods, but if it involves job creation, we can live with it.
Stay tuned for our interview with the Massachusetts Film Office Executive Director, Nick Paleologos for what’s in store for 2010!
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