Stars of Ben Affleck’s new Boston-set flick, ‘The Town,’ invade Fenway Park for premiere

By Kristen Walsh
The Patriot Ledger
September 15, 2010

BOSTON — His love of all things Boston didn’t make Ben Affleck any more comfortable shooting some of his new movie at Fenway Park.

“I don’t know what to make of it. I’m either excited or panicked,” the actor said Tuesday night at Fenway, where “The Town” was premiered.

Affleck co-wrote, directed and starred in the film, which was shot in and around Charlestown, the North End and, of course, Fenway.

It was the first time a movie has been shown at Fenway. A large screen was set up on the visiting team’s dugout, facing the stands.

Actors from “The Town” walked a red carpet in front of the Fenway stands. Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Hall, Blake Lively, and Kingston’s Chris Cooper were excited to be back in Boston.

“I had never been to Boston before filming this movie, but it’s such a wonderfully historic, beautiful city,” Hamm said.

Asked about his portrayal of U.S. Sen. Scott Brown during an appearance on “Saturday Night Live,” he said the accent he spoke with probably sounded more like Mayor Quimby on “The Simpsons” than authentic Boston.

“The Town,” based on the novel “Prince of Thieves” by Chuck Hogan, will be released nationwide on Friday.

The stars couldn’t stop singing the praises of Affleck for all the work he did in the making of the film.

“He’s a filmmaker. It doesn’t matter what he doing, it’s all part of one collaboration,” said Hall, who plays the love interest of Affleck’s character.

“He’s a Renaissance man – an irritating multi-tasker,” she joked.

Renner and Lively said they loved the time they spent filming in Boston, and particularly liked the food.

“I’ll do anything to be back in Boston,” said Renner, an Oscar nominee for 2009’s “The Hurt Locker.” “I ate a lot while we were here – in the North End, Charles Street. It was all great.”
Lively was the last one to walk the carpet, trailed by boyfriend and “Gossip Girl” co-star Penn Badgley.

“My favorite thing about Boston is the restaurant o ya . We just went for a tasting on the way and had an 18-course dinner,” she said.

In addition to Affleck, several other cast members hail from Boston. Slaine , a rapper-turned-actor who got his start in Affleck’s “Gone Baby Gone,” was a concessions seller at Fenway as a teen. He said returning as a movie star felt surreal.

“This is home, where I like to be, where I find inspiration. There are a lot more stories to be told here,” Slaine said.

Cooper was involved in the push for the state tax credit that encourages the making of Hollywood productions in Massachusetts.

“I love spending my springs and summers here, so to be able to film two movies here – first “The Company Men” (which premieres in October), where I got to know Ben (Affleck), and now this – it’s been great,” Cooper said.

The night seemed to mean something to the cast, and to others who arrived under the radar.

Hidden under a Sox cap and arriving after the press line, Boston-bred Matt Damon arrived at Fenway to watch the film and support his childhood friend and co-Oscar winner, Affleck.

Affleck said he hopes the movie will pay tribute to the people of Boston.

“All three movies I’ve done here show the working-class neighborhoods of Boston. I think essentially they’re good people here, and I don’t sugarcoat anything, but I hope we honor who they are,” he said.

For Ben Affleck, there’s no place like home
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