By Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein
Boston Globe Staff
March 31, 2010
There’s a long history of television shows that take place in Boston. “Ally McBeal.’’ “Boston Legal.’’ “Cheers.’’ And now J.J. Abrams’s series “Fringe.’’ But as we all know, most of those shows were (and are) filmed in Los Angeles, Toronto, and New York City.
But Boston may have a bigger role in the world of television, assuming that “The Quinn-Tuplets’’ and “Boston’s Finest’’ find success on the air. The two shows, which are in the thick of filming pilots around town, may bring a consistent Hollywood presence, unlike movies filmed locally, which are in and out, sometimes within a matter of weeks.
Former Bay State Film Commissioner Robin Dawson says that if the two shows get picked up, it could be great for local business. Television shows pump a steadier stream of income into the local economy than most movies. “It’s a guaranteed $1 million or $2 million of revenue, or whatever their budget is, each week,’’ Dawson said.
Of course, just because the pilots are being filmed here doesn’t mean the shows’ entire seasons will be shot locally. Often, as it was with “Boston Legal,’’ a pilot is shot here and then the cast and crew moves back to LA. Dawson says the decision to stay in Boston depends on whether the talent is open to living on the East Coast and whether the scenery is integral to the plot.
“It may have to be shot here,’’ Dawson said, of “Boston’s Finest,’’ which is about local detectives. “The Quinn-Tuplets,’’ however, a drama starring Amber Tamblyn and Anna Chlumsky about a family of grown-up quints, could wind up filming mostly indoors, making it easy to be on the West Coast. Dawson adds that just because ABC and CBS have invested in “Boston’s Finest’’ and “The Quinn-Tuplets,’’ respectively, it doesn’t mean either will see the light of day. “Boston’s Finest’’ is scheduled to shoot in Chinatown today.
‘Company Men’ finds a home
“The Company Men,’’ the Ben Affleck recession movie that was shot around the city last year, has finally been picked up for US distribution. The movie, which also features Tommy Lee Jones, Maria Bello, and Kevin Costner, got stellar reviews at the Sundance Film Festival, but wasn’t picked up until last week, when Harvey Weinstein’s company TWC secured domestic rights for the John Wells picture. Industry types report that the film will probably be released this fall. “The Company Men’’ was screened at the Coolidge Corner Theatre in January.
Kline’s in line for film festival
The Independent Film Festival Boston — which runs April 21-28 — has released its lineup and its list of special guests. Stars who will appear in person to promote their films include Kevin Kline, who will show his witty comedy “The Extra Man’’; “Buffy the Vampire’’ alum Amber Benson, who will show her sci-fi comedy “Drones’’; and “Happiness’’ director Todd Solondz, who will screen his latest movie, “Life During Wartime.’’ James Franco’s documentary “Saturday Night,’’ which is about “Saturday Night Live,’’ is set to close the festival. (He’s scheduled to give a talk with “SNL’’ producer Lorne Michaels to Tribeca Film Festival fans in New York after a screening on May 1.) As of now, Franco isn’t on IFFB’s list of special guests, but perhaps he’ll be open to a quick trip to New England. After all, it was announced yesterday that the “Pineapple Express’’ actor has been accepted to a PhD program at Yale.