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!
The annual tree lighting on Boston Common was held on December 1st this year. The unseasonably warm evening drew hundreds of local residents out to the Common, where they were treated to free samples and give-aways from vendors like Dunk Donuts, Nantucket Nectars, Hood, and Jet Blue.
The event was hosted by WCVB-TV’s J.C. Monahan and Anthony Everett, and featured a number of great performances by talented stars, including renowned saxophonist Grace Kelly and the Boston Children’s Chorus. Former American Idol contestant Siobhan Magnus, a native of Barnstable, performed some classic holiday tunes dressed in a snow-queen-like ensemble, including sparkly white flowers over her ears. The a capella group, Rockapella, most well-known for singing the theme song on the TV show “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” gave a lively performance of their holiday favorites, with choreographed dance routines and interpretive hand movements. “Percussionist” Jeff Thacher of the group grew up in Boston and attended Berklee College of Music. The group is currently on tour with the Boston Pops. Featured performer, New Kids on the Block member, Joey McIntyre, himself a native of Needham, surprised the hundreds in attendance by introducing fellow New Kid and Worcester native, Jordan Knight, on stage to sing “Little Drummer Boy” with him. Later in the show, Jordan’s brother Jonathan, another NKOTB member, joined his bandmates and the other performers on stage for the lighting of the tree.
Check out HEC exclusive video of Joey’s Performance of “O Holy Night”
A variety of holiday of events and performances will continue throughout the month of December. Check out some of our favorites below:
Nutcracker Nov. 25-Dec. 31
This year’s Boston Ballet performances of the holiday classic will be the last year you can see it in the same form it has been since the 90s. The current sets and costumes will be retired at the end of this year and will return to the stage entirely re-imagined with new sets and costumes in 2012.
The Slutcracker Dec. 2-24
This alternative version of the classic show uses sexy costuming, stripper poles, and burlesque-style dance routines for a naughty re-telling of the Nutcracker at the historic Somerville Theater.
Zoolights Dec. 2-4, 9-1, nightly Dec. 16-Jan. 1, 2011 (closed Dec. 24-25)
Come view the annual light show at the same zoo where they filmed Kevin James’ The Zookeeper! The event also features ice carving, Santa, and more than two million holiday lights all over the Franklin Park Zoo.
36th First Night Boston. Dec 31
The country’s oldest and largest New Year’s arts celebration will help ring-in 2012 with a variety of music and dance performances all over the city, as well as ice sculptures and fireworks. Over 1,000 artists in 200 exhibitions and performances in 35 locations will participate.
Other holiday events/performances:
“Radio City Christmas Spectacular” Citi Performing Arts Wang Theatre, Dec. 2-28
“The Snow Queen” American Repertory Theatre Loeb Drama Center, Dec. 10-31
37th Holiday Pops (Boston Pops Holiday concerts). Boston Symphony Hall, Dec 7-24
41st Christmas Revels Boston Sanders Theatre, Cambridge, Dec. 16-29
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.
On Monday evening, movie crews and production trucks for Mark Wahlberg’s new movie, Ted, were located in downtown Boston on Columbus Avenue, one block down from the Park Plaza Hotel. Parking restriction signs stated that crews would only be taking the space for 24 hours.
Amongst the equipment were lights, vans, trucks, and trailers, some with hand-written labels such as “writers” and others with photo-copied signs featuring the movie’s name/logo, as well as some sort of name or descriptor, such as “director” or “guy” or “Tanya.” While the now familiar movie set marker signs, denoted by their bright yellow color with black type and transposable type were also spotted in the area, the name on these signs read “Flash”, a code name similar to the likes of “Wichita”, which was used for the Tom Cruise flick, Knight and Day, and “ZK” for The Zookeeper, with Kevin James.
On Tuesday, Boston Casting also sent out a call for extras for overnight shoots on Wednesday and Thursday for “an upscale Hollywood agency party scene.” The shoot is taking place in Swampscott, and they were primarily looking for young females.
The film, which stars Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, and Giovanni Ribisi, began filming in March in Norwood. Voice-over star and Connecticut native Seth MacFarlane also costars. The movie is expected to be released sometime next year.
For more photos of the set spotted downtown, check-out our Facebook page here!
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.
Starting this month, AMC Entertainment, in association with the Autism Society of America, will be hosting “sensory friendly” screenings of family movies across the country. These “sensory friendly” screenings feature theaters that lower the volume of the film, raise the lighting in the auditorium, and welcome (or even encourage) patrons to talk, shout, yell, sing, or dance. The program began in Columbia, Maryland, where the parent of an autistic child put in a special request at their local AMC theater. That initial screening was attended by close to 300 parents and children.
This year’s national AMC program, which kicks off on Saturday, April 10th with a showing of How To Train Your Dragon, will feature 93 movie screenings in 47 cities across 30 states. A different film will be shown once a month throughout the summer and fall. The final film to be shown in October is the made-in-Boston flick, The Zookeeper, starring Kevin James. Theaters in the New England area that are participating in the program include Framingham (MA), Danbury and Plainville (CT). For a complete list of participating theaters, click here.
If you are interested in learning about ways you can help fight autism, one simple thing you can do is to shop at our Amazon store by clicking on the tab above called “Shop”and we’ll donate 2% of your purchase made through this link to the May Institute, which provides services to children and adults suffering with the disorder.
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:
There may not be many New England actors who can say they’re scheduled to appear in three feature films in 2010, so when we found local actress, Erica McDermott, we couldn’t wait to tell you how she did it. She may not be a household name yet, but she’ll soon be recognized for her work as a feature extra in Knight and Day, an extra in The ZooKeeper and a principal role in The Fighter. McDermott told us that she got “bit with the acting bug” after doing community theater and signed up for acting classes. At the same time, McDermott was actively looking for work in her field of nursing, when everything seemed to fall into place.
McDermott sat with Hollywood East Connection reporter, Mary Pierce and talked about her journey of auditioning and how she landed the principal role, playing along side Christian Bale, Mark Walberg and Amy Adams in The Fighter. Watch it here:
McDermott will be back on stage for Momologues on January 29th at the Scituate High School. Tickets are available at the Front Street Book Store located in downtown Scituate. Not only is McDermott working with local Director Lisa Rafferty on Momologues this winter but she’ll also appear in her new production, The Pink Ribbon Overdose.
We’ll be looking out for McDermott on the big screen this year and wish her continued success in Hollywood East.
2009 was a busy year for the Massachusetts Film Office. The plethora of movies that shot within the Bay State’s borders brought everyone from Academy Award winners (Ben Affleck and Kevin Costner from The Company Men), famous funny men and women (Adam Sandler, David Spade, and Maya Rudolph of Grown Ups, Kevin James of The Zookeeper), a former boy-band-er (Justin Timberlake of The Social Network), and celebrity Scientologists (Tom Cruise of Knight and Day, along with wife Katie Holmes). Thanks to the 2005 film tax credit signed into law by then Governor Mitt Romney, and newly revived under Governor Deval Patrick starting in 2007, Hollywood is finding new incentives in bringing their projects to the Northeast. Under this law:
“…studios, producers and filmmakers–who either shoot at least half of their movie or spend at least half of their production budget in the Commonwealth–are eligible for a tax credit equal to 25 cents for every new dollar of spending they bring to Massachusetts. No caps. No limits. No pre-authorization. No pre-certification.”
The MFO was first established in 1979, as one of the first official state film offices in the country. Since then, they have worked with filmmakers by providing resources in order for them to bring their projects to the Commonwealth, such as assisting with location scouting, housing, and crew referrals. Led by executive director Nick Paleologos and director operations Mary Chiochios, the MFO website features links for potential filmmakers to find information on town permitting, production guides, and information on the tax credits, as well as links to articles from both local and national publications covering Massachusetts-related entertainment news in television and film. Currently, their home page is spotlighting the latest edition of their digital magazine, covering in-depth articles on the effects of the tax incentives. Check out their website for that and more on the importance of this ever-growing state office.
In the wake of a major recession, not too many businesses can claim that 2009 was an “up” year for them, but for Boston-based Talamas Broadcast Equipment, which provides state of the art audio/video rentals and sales, 2009 was a glittering success. Located in Newton, almost ironically on California Street, they were the go-to company for Hollywood filmmakers shooting in and around Boston this year, including Grown Ups, The Zookeeper, Knight and Day, The Town, The Company Men, and The Fighter.
Owner of the company, Dave Talamas (above), realizes the potential that’s already being realized for the Massachusetts area and its turn in the spotlight. ”If we continue with the state’s film tax credit, this area could soon become a significant option on the national scene for Hollywood filmmakers” he says. Many LA filmmakers don’t want to transport their equipment across the country and often have last minute requirements that the Talamas company assists with. Requests can be as complex as major lighting fixtures to as simple as 2-way radios needed on the set. Most recently, the company was heavily involved with a number of holiday productions around the city, which were outlined in a press release on the Talamas website.
As the company and interest continues to grow in their services, Dave Talamas and his talented staff are covering all the bases. The company is holding an advanced training seminar on January 27th covering the newest digital recorders and field mixers, presented by Sound Devices. For more information, call 617-928-0788, or email at [email protected]
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