By: Jack Encarnacao
The Patriot Ledger
October 07, 2012
QUINCY–The school was clearly on its way out. It had stood since 1922, was breaking down in spots, and was positioned right next to a new state-of-the-art school.
Perfect, actor Kevin James thought.
“The school itself was starting to fall apart, getting a little old in certain areas, but it also had a great look for a school,” said James, the former star of the “King of Queens” television series. “This was perfect for what we wanted, just the feeling of it. We wanted it to have that East Coast, Boston feel.”
So the producers of the film “Here Comes The Boom,” which will be released Friday, set about retrofitting the shuttered Quincy High School.
In addition to filming classroom scenes in the building, which today awaits demolition, James said an octagon-shaped mixed martial arts cage was erected in the basement to help the crew train for the movie’s fight scenes.
“Here Comes The Boom” is about a high school teacher, played by James, who takes part in mixed martial arts fights for money to save the school’s music program.
Several Quincy High School students were used as extras in the film, including some from the music program, and casting calls for other extras drew big crowds.
The film also boosted some city school programs.
Columbia Pictures paid the city $114,500 in rental fees for the venues it used to film in Quincy. Of that, $80,000 for rental of Quincy High School went to the school department’s music program and $10,000 for rental of Veterans Stadium went to the athletic department.
The rest of the money went into the school department’s rental budget or to stipends for students who made cameo appearances in the film.
“It (the movie) was such a positive experience for the city. Everyone was talking about that movie. It was good for the city and great for the kids,” said Mayor Thomas Koch.
James, a native of Long Island, has made Massachusetts a sort of second home.
“Here Comes the Boom” was the fourth film he’s shot in the state. The others are “Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” “Zookeeper” and “Grown Ups.” Some “Mall Cop” scenes were shot at the South Shore Plaza and elsewhere in Braintree.
James’ latest was not Quincy’s first brush with Hollywood. Scenes for the Boston-based films “Gone Baby Gone” and “The Departed” were shot in the city’s quarries and shipyard, and Ben Affleck shot scenes for “The Company Men” on a residential street in Quincy Point.
While he didn’t have much time for sightseeing during his Quincy jaunt, James said he and his wife, who delivered the couple’s third child in Boston during the “Boom” shoot, have considered putting down stakes in Massachusetts.
“Because we shoot so much there and we love it there, we’ve thought a number of times of actually maybe getting a place down there,” he said. “And still might do it in the future, depending on where the business takes us.”
A former James assistant, Jason Vittorini, is a Hull native who appeared on a few episodes of “King of Queens.”
James said that in addition to favorable tax incentives, the state is an appealing place to film because the authentic feel of its urban and suburban neighborhoods.
“The look of it all, the feel of it all is just gritty, in a good way, and it definitely plays a character in the movie, it adds texture to it, it just does,” he said. “If you shoot that movie in Orlando, Florida, it’s not the same.”