Tuesday, January 13, 2009

SouthField Studios plan boasts Boston stand-in

The Los Angeles-based group known as International Studio Group (ISG) unveiled the plans for its new TV and film sound stage complex tranforming the Weymouth Naval Air Station into a $300 million project called SouthField Studios.

And, well, it looks a helluva lot like Boston.

According to a mock-up here, the front-lot-set streets of SouthField Studios will be sourced from historic Boston City locales. In fact, the set is a dead ringer for any brownstone-lined street in the South End or Back Bay neighborhoods. It's Beacon Hill ... without the hill.

The proposal continues, "These highly detailed facades will allow companies to shoot key exterior scenes in a controlled environment that includes publicly-accessible restaurants and shops to enhance the authenticity of the streets."

A Hollywood East stand-in for Boston? Yep.

As previously reported in Loaded Gun, the plan to build a multi-use movie complex will include 10 to 15 sound stages, production offices and more than 125,000 square feet of retail and office space.

The new studio, which needs to undergo state environmental review, could serve as a post-production facility for the slew of filmmakers currently taking advantage of the state's low tax credit.

Similar to the online push from Plymouth Rock Studios that ultimately passed as a $422 million deal with minimal opposition, SouthField Studios launched an aggressive campaign here with construction slated for the summer and an opening slotted for the fall 2010.

In addition, SouthField Studios will also feature an interactive film and TV tour in the heart of the town center for residents and guests. Think Universal Studios ... minus the rides.

Armed with its Boston facade front lot, this multi-use complex would be an ideal space for filming ongoing Boston-set TV series like TNT's "Bunker Hill" pilot starring Donnie Wahlberg and the Spike-TV project "War of '04."

The only caveat? The "controlled environment" may be too pristine for all of the thugs-on-film projects in the works.

Click here for the latest on SouthField Studios.


ron-newman said...

If the shops and restaurants are to be publicly accessible (i.e. real), how can they also be a controlled environment?

Sam Baltrusis said...

Good point. During the recent "Edge of Darkness" filming at Foodies in the South End, patrons were allowed to dine next door at Pho Republique during filming (they just had to wait for the OK from the director to enter or exit the restaurant). I'm assuming they will do while filming in Boston--rope off the entire block, put a few PAs to keep pedestrians from walking into the shot, moderate noise, etc. The biggest obstacle for filmmakers on the streets of Boston--besides pedestrian traffic, street noise and, well, the occasional stalker--are cars, car horns, sirens and public transit.

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