By Ray Kelly
October 7, 2014
Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, is a thousand miles away from southwestern Indiana, but its beauty and charm made it a shoe-in for the filming locale of “The Judge,” said director David Dobkin.
Dobkin found Indiana too expensive to shoot the film and it did not quite match his vision for the fictitious Carlinville. He then turned his eyes to locations in Massachusetts, Georgia and Michigan.
While Georgia offered the best tax incentives, it did not have the vibe he felt in Shelburne Falls.
“When we hit Shelburne Falls, it felt emotional to me,” Dobkin said in a recent interview with The Republican. “It was a place I would fight to defend.”
In “The Judge,” slick Chicago lawyer Hank Palmer (Downey) returns to his childhood hometown of Carlinville, Indiana, where his estranged father (Robert Duvall), the town’s judge, is suspected of murder.
“I wanted a place so beautiful that you would question why he would leave,” Dobkin said. “Later, you learn he was cast out.”
Ninety percent of “The Judge” was shot in the Bay State with Shelburne Falls and the Norfolk County Courthouse in Dedham among the chief locales, he said.
A second unit was dispatched to Indiana to shoot aerial shots of farmland and silos, he added.
Dobkin, whose past credits include the blockbuster comedy “The Wedding Crashers,” described “The Judge” as an “entertaining drama.”
“It’s a crowd pleaser,” the 45-year-old Washington, D.C. native added.
Dobkin, who is producing a reboot of the comedy “Vacation,” said he hoped to direct another drama in the future.
And a return visit to Massachusetts?
“Are you kidding? In a heartbeat,” Dobkin said. “I love it.”