Scorsese found secluded Taunton mill a perfect fit for his film

By Maria Papadopoulos

Hollywood’s path to the Whittenton Mills complex began when filmmakers were scouting Massachusetts for a state hospital.
“They were looking for a state hospital in Taunton and, while they were there, they found additional sites that served as locations for other scenes in the movie,” said Nick Paleologos, executive director of the Massachusetts Film Office.
Filmmakers chose the Medfield State Hospital complex for some scenes — and they also decided the Whittenton Mills complex would work for other scenes in the Martin Scorsese film “Ashecliffe,” based on the best-selling novel “Shutter Island” by Dennis Lehane.
The film is set in a 1950s mental institution and includes flashbacks to a Nazi concentration camp. Scorsese is using the old industrial buildings in the rear of the Whittenton Mills complex to replicate Dachau, a World War II concentration camp in Germany.
David Murphy, managing partner of Hamilton Development Partners LLC, and owner of the Whittenton Mills, first met with the Paramount Pictures locations department in October.
Murphy said filmmakers reached out to the Silver City first by calling Richard Shafer, director of Taunton’s Industrial Development Commission, and Shafer steered filmmakers his way.
Murphy gave filmmakers several tours of the property before Scorsese visited the city in December. He found the secluded mill location a perfect fit.
“I never thought that it would be this magnitude,” Murphy said of the film shoot. “I mean, they have hundreds of people here and they’ve taken over the whole site.”
Next month, hospital scenes will be filmed at the Medfield State Hospital complex.
Maria Papadopoulos can be reached at

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