News Column

'The Equalizer' film crews arrive in Salisbury tonight

September 2, 2013


Sept. 02--SALISBURY -- There's only one more day to go before the crew from the Denzel Washington film "The Equalizer" takes up residence on Broadway to shoot a scene for the Columbia Pictures movie.

According to police Chief Thomas Fowler, plans call for the crew to start building the set at midnight tonight in the beach center. Construction will run all night, so filming can begin tomorrow morning and continue all day.

Broadway will be closed during the filming, and if more of the area is needed in the scene, the cordoned-off sections could grow, Fowler said.

Producers of Columbia Pictures are paying for 11 detail officers to protect the production and control the crowd, in order to ensure the movie can be shot without interruptions or excessive noise.

"I have been told the actor is 'very intense and all business,'" Fowler said. "He will have his own security and basically shows up when they are ready to film and leaves immediately after."

Salisbury-based talent agent Darlene Sweeney said Fowler's assessment is right. Actors often "stay in character" while filming and are not available to chat with spectators while shooting, she added.

"It's a great process, but it's a professional process," said Sweeney, owner of WSM Talent. "This is a professional set and there is a protocol to be followed by everyone on it. You aren't supposed to talk with people on the set. Basically, you don't talk to them, they talk to you."

Sweeney said although it's a good opportunity to watch a film being made, a good deal of tomorrow's filming will be spent waiting for short snippets of scenes to be shot -- and reshot. While the cameras are rolling, spectators will need to be absolutely quiet. And even in between the filming, approaching an actor is prohibited, Sweeney said.

Police will set up a barrier between the set and spectators, Sweeney said, but if people are loud or cause production issues, that barrier is made wider to keep people farther and farther away.

Sometimes, at the end of a shoot, actors may come out and greet the crowd, she said, but that's their decision.

Sweeney also refuted a rumor circulating around town.

"Some people are thinking they might be able to walk onto the set and get work," she said. "That's not the case. Casting has already taken place for extras."

According to Salisbury Chamber of Commerce President Maria Miles, some beach business owners have been asked to open up as early as 7 a.m. to provide the correct background for the film.

"The Equalizer" plot is loosely based on a 1980s television series of the same name. It starred the late British actor Edward Woodward, who played a middle-aged, retired, CIA-type named Robert McCall, seeking redemption for his past bad acts. Placing ads that read: "Got a problem? Odds against you? Call the Equalizer," McCall helped protect society's underdogs by getting them out of trouble for free.

In this film, Washington is cast as McCall. According to published reports, in the movie, McCall defends a teenage prostitute, played by Chloe Grace Moretz, from a Russian mafia arch villain, played by New Zealand actor Marton Csokas. Other co-stars are David Harbour, Haley Bennett and Melissa Leo.

Set to be released next September, the movie has used a variety of places in Massachusetts as backdrops. The production company has shot in Haverhill, Groton House Farm in Hamilton and at the Crane Estate on Castle Hill. Salisbury Beach was chosen for the background of an amusement park scene.


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