News Column

Something about the North Shore?

August 8, 2013

YellowBrix

Aug. 08--First, Denzel Washington.

Now Cameron Diaz might be right behind.

A scout is expected to take a look at Gordon College on Grapevine Road in Wenham today as a possible filming location for an upcoming Diaz movie. The school's quad is of specific interest, said Cyndi McMahon, director of marketing and communications.

"It is one of the most traditional campus quads in the area, with a sweeping green lawn bordered by New England brick buildings," McMahon said. "That seems to be of interest."

McMahon said the scout only told her that the movie "was about math," and they were looking to start filming in the fall. Officials at the Massachusetts Film Office said they had no information on the film.

This could be next in the string of movies with scenes being shot locally, including the HBO miniseries "Olive Kitteridge," which is set to be filmed in Beverly and surrounding North Shore cities and towns from September to November. The movie will star Frances McDormand in the title role, with Richard Jenkins playing her husband, Henry.

The miniseries is based on a novel of the same name by Elizabeth Strout, which is told in a series of short stories. Released in 2008, the Pulitzer Prize-winning book covers the life of Olive Kitteridge and the people in a small town on the coast of Maine.

Lisa Cholodenko will direct the miniseries.

Beverly Chamber of Commerce Executive Director John Somes said he received a call from a representative of HBO saying that a crew of about 100 people is coming to the Beverly area to film for the cable television network. They were looking for information on tourist sites and restaurants, he said.

He said the crew is still scoping out possible filming locations, including area mansions and possibly the Beverly Golf and Tennis Club. Having a film shot locally for a few months is great for the local economy, he said.

"It brings in a crew of people, and they need a place to stay and eat," he said, noting that there is also a need for medical staff and on-call doctors and dentists.

Last month, Washington was seen filming scenes for "The Equalizer" at Groton House Farm in Hamilton. There were also scenes shot in Swampscott in May and June.

The film, expected to be released in 2014, is a big-screen adaptation of the popular 1980s television series that starred Edward Woodward as a private detective with a mysterious past who doled out vigilante justice.

Last year, Larry David filmed scenes for his upcoming HBO movie "Clear History" on the North Shore, including at North Shore Music Theatre and Marino's Cafe in Beverly. The movie, scheduled to premiere Saturday at 9 p.m., is about a disgraced former marketing executive who plots revenge against his former boss, who made millions from the electric car company they once owned, according to imdb.com.

In April, scenes for "American Hustle" were filmed near the former District and Superior Court buildings. The film's cast includes Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Renner.

The 1970s corruption movie is set to be released in December.

Adam Sandler's "Grown Ups 2," which hit the big screen last month, was also filmed primarily in Swampscott and Marblehead.

Robert Bradford, president of the North Shore Chamber of Commerce, said he is always excited to hear of movies being filmed on the North Shore. The industry brings in more than 10,000 jobs and $495 million in wages throughout the state, he said.

"It helps out with our lodging, our restaurants, and it provides jobs," he said.

Many production companies seek out Massachusetts filming locations because of favorable tax incentives, including a 2 percent production credit, a 25 percent payroll credit and a sales-tax exemption, according to the Massachusetts Film Office.

"I think the benefits far outweigh the tax credits," Bradford said.

McMahon said Gordon College typically receives several calls a year from film and television producers wanting to take a look at the campus as a possible filming location.

In the past, the Discovery Channel filmed scenes at Gull Pond on campus for a segment on its TV show "Time Warp." The series looked at things normally not seen by the naked eye, either because they occur too fast or because they are outside the spectrum of light visible to people. Also, the music video for "Do You Love Me?" by indie pop band Guster was filmed in the Barrington Center for the Performing Arts in 2010.

"We haven't had a major motion picture film on campus," McMahon said.

Staff writer James Niedzinski contributed to this report.

Staff writer Jonathan Phelps can be reached at 978-338-2527 or by email at jphelps@salemnews.com. Follow him on Twitter at JPhelps_SN.

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(c)2013 The Salem News (Beverly, Mass.)

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