Lawrence getting $330K for ‘Live By Night’ filming

By Jill Harmacinski
Eagle Tribune
January 31, 2016

Filming of Ben Affleck's upcoming movie "Live By Night" took place in downtown Lawrence in November (Amanda Sabga/Staff File Photo)
Filming of Ben Affleck’s upcoming movie “Live By Night” took place in downtown Lawrence in November (Amanda Sabga/Staff File Photo)

LAWRENCE — Hollywood star Ben Affleck and his production crew have long packed up and left the Immigrant City.

But the final payment for the city, for allowing and cooperating with the filming of “Live By Night” in Lawrence, far exceeded the previous $100,000 estimate.

Officials announced the city and area businesses are being paid $330,000 by the movie production crew — which includes a $30,000 negotiated donation that will help make downtown Lawrence cleaner.

“At the end of the day, this was a net positive from the city … No one expected this could happen in Lawrence. And the best side of Lawrence was shown,” said Mayor Daniel Rivera.

Here’s the final breakdown: The city received $140,000 for personnel costs and repairs incurred due to the filming which ran from Nov. 12 to Nov. 23.

The production company will pay $166,000 to area businesses that reported losses due to filming.

“People couldn’t get to their stores. They didn’t have as many walk ins. They couldn’t make deliveries,” said Rivera, explaining why businesses reported losses during filming.

“They got something because their businesses were displaced at that time,” he added.

Also, the negotiated $30,000 donation to the city will be used to purchase new trash receptacles from the downtown area.

“This was part of the first conversation with the production company we had,” Rivera said during an interview Friday.

Traffic was halted and downtown streets closed at times as the film crew worked on Appleton Way between Lawrence City Hall and Lawrence Superior Court. Appleton Way itself was transformed into a bustling 1920’s shopping area.

Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera talks with Ben Affleck on the "Live By Night" movie set in downtown Lawrence last November (File photo)
Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera talks with Ben Affleck on the “Live By Night” movie set in downtown Lawrence last November (File photo)

“Live By Night” is a Prohibition-era, crime drama scheduled for release in 2017. Affleck, who lived in Cambridge at one time, wrote the movie’s screenplay, which is based on a novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane, who is from Dorchester.

Affleck is the movie’s main character, Joe Coughlin, the son of the Boston police captain who becomes an outlaw in Boston in 1926. Also starring in the movie are actors Chris Messina and actresses Elle Fanning, Zoe Saldana and Sienna Miller.

As the month progressed, more filming was done on the Casey Bridge, Canal and Methuen streets, at the Everett Mill and the Duck Bridge.

District F City Councilor Marc Laplante said during filming “the city was buzzing” and “you could feel the electricity.”

“It seemed like everyone was posting pictures and selfies with him on Facebook,” Laplante said.

But, he noted, the production company came to Lawrence with a “full wallet” making sure local government would not be burdened, local businesses did not lose money and “there was an extra $30,000 donation to the city for good measure.”

Laplante said he’s looking forward to seeing the movie and “the city’s prominent backdrop” on the big screen.

Rivera said there are “rumors” of other film crews coming to Lawrence but no plans have been firmed up yet.

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