Bruce Willis to film action scene in Hopedale

By Aaron Wasserman
Milford Daily News
June 3, 2008

HOPEDALE —If anyone can bring high-wire action to the Draper mill complex, it’s probably actor Bruce Willis.

Scenes for Willis’ new movie, “The Surrogates,” a sci-fi thriller, will be filmed at the mill later this month, town officials and the production company have confirmed. The movie has been shooting around the state since April.

A set is being constructed behind the mill’s Hopedale Street wing this week, and there are also several used Boston Police cruisers on site. People are not disclosing exactly when filming will begin, but Town Coordinator Eugene N. Phillips said it will be the second half of this month.

Bruce Willis, whose credits include the “Die Hard” action series, “Pulp Fiction” and “12 Monkeys,” will be on the set, said the movie’s publicist, Ernie Malik. Malik added that an action scene will be filmed at the mill.

“It worked visually for what we need to shoot this, which is a big action scene – a helicopter chasing a motorcycle, and then the aftermath,” he said about why the mill was chosen.

Town officials will host a meeting June 12 at 7 p.m. in the high school to update people about the production and answer questions.

The massive empty mill, in the middle of town, was the site of the Draper Corp. and is now the subject of a long-running, ambitious plan to redevelop it. First American Realty Inc. of Worcester, which owns the mill, did not return a message left about the filming. Security for the movie asked a reporter to leave the property this week, saying it is a closed set.

“The Surrogates” is the latest movie to be filmed in the Boston area in the past two years since the Legislature approved a tax break to entice more production companies to film here. The state provides up to a 25 percent tax credit on expenses and salaries, and a sales tax exemption, based on how much a production spends here.

“We’re delighted they made it out this way,” said Massachusetts Film Office Executive Director Nick Paleologos of “The Surrogates.” “One of the nicest things about this spring in terms of movies in Massachusetts is they’re all over the place – Lowell, Worcester, Taunton, Medfield, Burlington, Woburn, Gloucester and now, Hopedale.”

Phillips said he believes “The Surrogates” is the first movie to be filmed at the mill. Its production company contacted him last winter – about the same time, he said, a movie involving actor Ben Affleck also inquired about filming at the mill. That production will not happen, Phillips said.

“The Surrogates” is set in the near future, a time when humans interact through surrogate robots, according to published entertainment reports. Willis plays a cop who investigates the murders of other people’s surrogates. The movie is based on a graphic novel of the same name and also stars Ving Rhames and Radha Mitchell, among others.

Aaron Wasserman may be reached at 508-634-7546 or This and other stories about Hopedale can be found at

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