By Caroline Enos
July 24, 2019
Adam Sandler filming Netflix movie at Moonies’ villa
Adam Sandler is back in Gloucester this week to film parts of his new Netflix comedy, “Hubie Halloween,” at Cardinal Richard Cushing’s former villa on Western Avenue.
The film, co-written by Sandler and produced by his company ― Happy Madison Productions ― and Netflix, follows his Halloween-obsessed, wacky and widely mocked but still good-natured character, Hubie Dubois, through a murder mystery he must solve to save Halloween night in his hometown of Salem.
The two-day interior shoot of a haunted house scene began at the villa at 190 Western Ave. Thursday morning and will wrap up Friday night. The villa, once owned by the Daughters of Mary of the Immaculate Conception, was purchased by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Holy Spirit Association for Unification of World Christianity — known as Moonies — in 1980 and is still owned by the Unification Church, according to city records.
Movie crews set up their base camp at Stage Fort Park’s main parking lot. All public parking ― with the exception of handicapped spots ― has moved across the street to the field next to the playground. The park is otherwise be open and operating normally.
Actors Kevin James, Michael Chiklis, Mikey Day, China Anne McClain, George Wallace and Peyton List have joined Sandler in Gloucester for the shoot, according to Charlie Harrington, the film’s location manager.
James also starred in Sandler’s “Grown-Ups,” which was filmed in Essex. During the filming of that movie, Sandler and some other stars of “Grown-Ups” leased properties on Gloucester’s Eastern Point, and Sandler was often spotted around Gloucester — including at St. Peter’s Fiesta.
Other members of the star-studded “Hubie Halloween” cast include Kenan Thompson, Maya Rudolph, Melissa Villaseñor, Steve Buscemi, Julie Bowen, Rob Schneider, Tim Meadows, Shaquille O’Neal and Noah Schnapp, among others.
Fred Gabrielli, owner of the production’s catering company, Gala Catering, and Sandler’s private chef on set, said crews were happy to stop in Cape Ann.
“(Sandler) loves it here, and I love it here. There are a lot of great people here,” said Gabrielli, who lives in Dallas and has catered 24 of Sandler’s movies over the past 23 years. “I love the weather here, but when we did ‘Grown Ups’ here, it rained every day. (This time), the weather has been great and being by the water is really nice. It’s gorgeous.”
He said Sandler’s favorite food is chicken, prepared every way possible, and the actor does not eat carbs or unnatural sugar.
“(Sandler) is just such a good guy,” Gabrielli said. “He’s very particular of what he eats because of his diet, and he’s really trying to stay in shape.”
Gabrielli said the production has just reached the halfway mark in its six-week filming schedule in the area, and about 4,000 extras — many North Shore locals — have been used in the film.
Meg Jarrett, film liaison in the Cape Ann area for the Massachusetts Film Office, said about four or five Cape Ann-based people have been hired as production assistants and in other lower-level positions for the film while it is shooting on the North Shore. She said working on projects that come to the area is a great way for young people to get into the film industry.
“Productions that come to Boston will hire locals for their next project, and their careers take off from there,” Jarrett said.
Crews also filmed an extravagant Halloween carnival on Salem Common this week and doused a Danvers neighborhood and parts of Marblehead in Halloween decorations for scenes earlier this month. The production will head to Mendon after wrapping in Gloucester.
“(Production companies) don’t like to stay in one place for too long because it can be a burden on the town or city,” said Jarrett, referring to area closures and detours that productions can cause. “But they also bring a lot of economic development to the area.”
The production is set to return to the area later this summer.