With all eyes on Mel Gibson’s film "Edge of Darkness," a few made-in-Boston projects have flown under the Hollywood-in-the-Hub radar. With a slew of features and TV pilots in various stages of production, there seems to be a recurring theme:
Hollywood is fixated with Boston-based cops and robbers.
The trend reminds me of the beginning of "The Departed"--Boston's ultimate cops-and-thugs film--when Jack Nicholson's Frank Costello says:
"When I was your age, they would say you could become cops or criminals. What I'm saying is this: When you're facing a loaded gun, what's the difference?"
Here’s a lineup of upcoming projects (either in pre-production, production or slotted for release within the next year) featuring Boston’s finest and most wanted:
Two U.S. marshals (played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo) investigate the disappearance of a patient from a hospital for the criminally insane on an island near Boston. Based on Dennis Lehane's novel "Shutter Island."
*Boondock Saints II
The underground indie flick returns following fraternal twins on a mission to clean up the Boston underworld while being tracked down by a FBI agent. The sequel is set in Boston but shot in Toronto.
Dorchester native and NKOTB Donnie Wahlberg stars in the Jerry Bruckheimer drama TV pilot for TNT. Tom Brady’s baby momma, Bridget Moynahan, is slotted to play a Boston cop widow and sister-in-law to Wahlberg’s Mike Moriarty, a Boston cop determined to protect the streets he grew up on from crime and corruption.
*Code of Silence
A film slotted to begin filming in March from "Townies" writer/director Mike O'Dea, "Code of Silence" follows boxer Mickey Callaghan with an extraordinary family legacy ... his father John Callaghan is a feared and ruthless Winter Hill crime boss.
*Edge of Darkness
Mel Gibson stars as a homicide detective for the Boston Police Dept. who digs up the many secrets surrounding the death of his activist daughter.
With filming scheduled in the Boston area this winter, "The Governess" stars Jennifer Lopez as a thief who poses as a wealthy widower’s nanny who must come clean when she starts to fall for the man she initially planned to rob.
This made-in-Rockport thriller follows a Boston police officer who becomes sheriff of a fictional New England town called Salem Harbor. His first case is to investigate the mysterious circumstances of a teen found dead after a night of partying at the "Hatteras Hotel."
*The Maiden Heist
Starring Morgan Freeman, Christopher Walken and William H. Macy, this made-in-Boston flick is a comedy of errors following three museum security guards and their attempt to steal artwork after it's been transferred to another museum.
*Paul Blart: Mall Cop
Kevin James stars as Paul Blart in "Mall Cop," a comedy about a security guard trying to stop a group of organized crooks who take over a mall. While set at the fictional West Orange Pavilion Mall in New Jersey, a majority of the film was shot at the mall in nearby Burlington.
The film, set in Boston in the near future where humans interact with one another through surrogate robots, stars Bruce Willis as a cop who tracks down murderers.
An adaptation of the Charlestown-based blue-collar heist novel by Chuck Hogan, "The Town" will feature Ben Affleck who recently signed on to write, star and direct in the film following a bizarre love triangle involving a crook, a female bank teller and a FBI agent.
*War of '04
Spike-TV has snagged a two-hour TV pilot centering around Irish gang warfare in Boston also known as "Madso's War." Walter Hill, an Emmy-award winner, is slotted to direct the scripted show while Ultimate Fighting Championship Dana White is producing.
*What Doesn't Kill You
Based on a true story of two childhood friends who turn to crime to get by, Brian Goodman's "What Doesn't Kill You" is the latest made-in-Boston film (starring Mark Ruffalo and Ethan Hawke) coming from the streets of South Boston. The movie is slotted for limited release in NYC and LA on Friday, Dec. 12.
(Photo: William H. Macy and Morgan Freeman in "The Maiden Heist," a Yari Film Group release)