By Lisa Kashinsky
December 10, 2014
Two years ago, Sandy Young watched as filming for the Steve Carell flick “The Way, Way Back” came to Green Harbor.
Last Wednesday, Young watched as her town was yet again transformed into a movie set, this time for Walt Disney Studios’ “The Finest Hours.”
“It’s putting our town on the map again,” she said.
Crews spent Wednesday, Dec. 3 filming scenes at two locations in Brant Rock for the Disney movie, set for release in 2016.
“The Finest Hours,” adapted from the Casey Sherman and Michael Tougias book of the same name, tells the story of a U.S. Coast Guard rescue off Cape Cod after two oil tankers split in half during a February 1952 nor’easter.
Actor Chris Pine plays the hero, Boatswain’s Mate Bernie Webber. Casey Affleck and Holliday Grainger also star in the film, which is directed by Craig Gillespie. Sherman, a Marshfield resident, said he worked closely with the screenwriters on the script and took his daughters to the shoot.
“It was a great experience for them,” Sherman said. “‘The Finest Hours’ has been the talk of the town and it is so special to be filming the movie based on my book just down the street from my house. I couldn’t be more thrilled.”
Production started midday at the Ocean Street seawall, where crews sprayed fake snow, took down street signs and installed old-fashioned streetlights to help create a 1950s feel for the shoot.
Snow-dusted cars from the 1940s were also driven in for the scene.
Young, who lives in the Brant Rock neighborhood, stood on the corner of the snow-covered street watching the shoot with fellow residents Lisa Crane and Patrice Parry.
“It’s fun. It breaks up the everyday life of working and school,” Young said. “It’s just a little excitement.”
Young added, “It would be great if we could get some big A-listers down here.”
Paula Henry and her 14-year-old daughter, Francesca, joined them.
“It’s not everyday you see Hollywood in your backyard,” Henry said.
After wrapping by the seawall, production shifted to The Latest Scoop on Ocean Street around 6 p.m. Scenes were filmed both outside and within the ice cream shop, which had been transformed into Murray’s Diner for the shoot.
The front of the gift shop next door, Shore Things, had been turned into an appliance store as well.
Crews had again installed old-fashioned streetlights and sprayed fake snow. Since the shoot was set around Christmastime, Christmas decorations that fit the time period were also brought in, Scott Levine, the film’s publicist, said.
“They do painstaking research into the time period,” Levine said of the set decorators.
While the main set is in Quincy, the movie also has scenes shot in Cohasset, Duxbury, and Norwell. The movie will next move to Chatham on Cape Cod, where the bulk of the story takes place, Levine said.
Marshfield was chosen for the shoot based on its look and its proximity to the Quincy set, Levine said.
“The movie takes place on Cape Cod and these towns have the Massachusetts coastal feel of the Cape, but you’re closer to your production center,” he said.
Some residents, including Young and Henry, said that movies filming in Marshfield could help restaurants and businesses in town by bringing both residents and crewmembers in during the shoot, as well as drawing visitors to town afterward.
Maddie Bowen and her mother, Anne, were among the dozen people gathered outside the Venus II Restaurant and Sports Bar around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday night, watching in a light rain as crews filmed a car scene on the street.
Bowen said that movies filming in Marshfield help increase the town’s name recognition.
“To see a movie so big, a Disney movie, in Marshfield, it’s really unreal,” Bowen said.
Derek Maksy, a Lakeville resident who summers in Marshfield, was one of those taking in the movie magic from inside The Jetty restaurant.
He said he was doing work on his summer home in town when he found out about the shoot and decided to stay and watch.
“I think it’s great for the downtown businesses here,” he said.
Henry said that she hoped visitors would come back after the movie was done filming to “see that old New England charm by the sea.”
Young said she was looking forward to the movie’s release.
“It seems like forever waiting for the movie to come out, but it’s always exciting to see the final product,” she said.
Sherman said he hoped South Shore residents will pack the theaters when the movie is released.
“Disney is doing such a great job bringing the book to life and I can’t wait to see it in theaters,” he said.