Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sneak peek of Tom Brady's SmartWater ad in LA



New England Patriots' injured QB, Tom Brady, chats with Entertainment Tonight while on set of his new SmartWater commercial (embedded above) in Los Angeles. Brady says he would like to team up with fellow H20 spokesperson, Jennifer Aniston.

“I don’t know if this town is cut out for me, man,” Brady spills to ET's Kevin Frazier on the Left Coast set. “Even in L.A., I find a quiet little place that ... feels more like where I grew up. I grew up in a smaller place where it wasn't so Hollywood. I have a great family and that's what's important to me.”

Click here for the ET exclusive.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Zellweger receives Harvard's Hasty Pudding nod

You had me at Harvard? Renee Zellweger, known for her work in "Jerry McGuire," "Bridget Jones's Diary," "Cold Mountain" and her latest fish-out-of-water flick "New in Town," has been tapped as this year's Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year.

Zellweger will receive her Pudding Pot on Thursday, Feb. 5--an honor given by Harvard's undergraduate drama troupe--preceded by a parade in Cambridge's Harvard Square where the star will be escorted in a convertible followed by several Harvard men dressed in drag. The Hasty Pudding ceremony will take place at the university's renovated New College Theatre, 10-12 Holyoke St.

Harvard's Man of the Year award will be announced next week, with a celebration slotted for Friday, Feb. 13.

Last year, Christopher Walken and Charlize Theron were honored as the Hasty Pudding Theatricals’ Man and Woman of the Year.

UPDATE: Zellweger apparently spilled the beans to Dave Letterman on the Thursday, Jan. 29 "Late Show" before the Hasty Pudding crew could alert the press. Who knew Zellweger's bee-stung lips were loose?

‘Dancing with the Stars’ couple wow The Estate

Karina Smirnoff and Maksim Chmerkovskiy from “Dancing with the Stars,” recently engaged on New Year’s Eve right before the calendar flipped to Jan. 1, 2009, will show off their moves—and her Harry Winston engagement ring—at The Estate, 1 Boylston Place on Saturday, Jan. 31 kicking off at 10 p.m.

Smirnoff, who recently ended a two-year relationship with former DWTS contestant and “America’s Best Dance Crew” host Mario Lopez, accepted Chmerkovskiy’s proposal.

At the event at The Estate tomorrow, ladies get in free before 10 p.m.

No word when the dancing duo plan to get hitched but season 8 of “Dancing with the Stars” is slotted to kick off Monday, March 9.

Tickets are $20 in advance. Click here for more information.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The week in quotes from Hollywood in the Hub

“Anytime I hear a movie that might be filming in Boston, it shoots up on my priority list. I did grow up in Sudbury, but all my friends live in Boston, so we pretty much hit sleazy, dirty Boston bars."

--Chris Evans, the homegrown hottie from "Fantastic Four" and co-star in the upcoming flick "Push" with Dakota Fanning,
says there's no place like home ... especially the sleazy, dirty bars.

“We're scrambling to keep up with the demand, and one of the things that this conference hopes to achieve is to let people who are looking for work in the industry know how to get it."

--Nicholas Paleologos, executive director of the Massachusetts Film Office,
tells NewsCenter 5 at the MFO's first career fair held at the InterContinental Boston on Saturday, Jan. 24 that job-seekers looking to break into the state's booming movie industry may be in luck.

“We have a handful of planes circling the runway waiting for SAG to ink a deal with the studios before coming in for a landing. I’m expecting somewhere between 8 and 12 major projects this year--depending on how fast SAG re-ups with the studios.”

--MFO's Paleologos spills to the Boston Herald that ousting Screen Actors Guild president Doug Allen is good news for the local film industry.

"They could never make a James Bond movie like any of the 'Bourne' films because Bond is an imperialist, misogynist sociopath who goes around bedding women and swilling martinis and killing people. He's repulsive."

--Cambridge homeboy Matt Damon, in town participating in a discussion about Haiti at the John F. Kennedy Library on Tuesday, Jan. 27, raised a few eyebrows after rapping with the Miami Herald about his take on James Bond.

“He’s spilling the beans and telling us everything that happens before it happens. He’s ruining it for everyone in this area . . . This is serious information.”

--An alleged family friend left a supposed voicemail message here at MTV headquarters in NYC claiming that Medford native turned reality star
Luke Verge does win over Brody Jenner's affections to snag the ultimate BFF bragging rights on MTV's "Bromance."

“Rumor has it that Kate Hudson’s character actually works at a different firm with a longer name. Even so, we’re tickled to see our firm’s name in Hollywood lights. It’s all in good fun, and it comes at a time when everyone can use a laugh, for sure.”

--Ropes & Gray spokesman John D. Tuerck says that while the firm did not plan for the brief flash of the Ropes & Gray nameplate in the made-in-Boston "Bride Wars" ... they're blushing over the big-screen cameo anyway.

GLAAD president Neil Giuliano resigns from post

Neil G. Giuliano, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), is resigning "to pursue personal interests while completing his forthcoming book about his public and political life," according to a statement from the advocacy organization.

Prior to GLAAD, he served for 10 years as the mayor of Tempe, Ariz., after 25 years at Arizona State University.

Back in August 2007, I interviewed Giuliano while he was vacationing in Provincetown during Carnival week.
In the piece, Giuliano weighs in on GLBT issues and how the cultural landscape has shifted in the past decade.

"There has been tremendous cultural change in the last 10 to 15 years," he says. "And it’s only going to continue to change. That’s a lot of the work GLAAD does as the media advocacy and anti-defamation voice of the community. The culture has to change before people go to the ballot box and will vote for our issues."

Click here for the interview.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Taking hi-tech road with NYC-based Contentinople

After publishing several news features since the holidays, I officially signed on today as a freelance reporter with TechWeb's NYC-based Contentinople, a fairly new B2B publishing group focusing on online content technology.

Their tagline? Networking the digital media industry.

The gig is a nice marriage coupling my years as a freelance journalist/editor with my experience as a Web producer starting with the online division ABC Radio in the '90s to my current work in Boston.

My piece today called "TV in 3D Craze Hits the Super Bowl" follows what NBC is calling a "monsterous" event airing at the end of the second-quarter break during the Super Bowl this Sunday, including a 90-second 3D movie trailer for "Monsters vs. Aliens" and a commercial for SoBe Lifewater. On Monday, Feb. 2, the 3D glasses can be reused for the post-Super Bowl episode of "Chuck" on NBC.

Last Friday, I chatted with Paramount Pictures' executive VP of operations about the studio's push for theaters nationwide--including indie cinemas--to make the transition to digital.

So far, it's been a fun ride. I'm genuinely looking forward to reporting on the topsy-turvy digital media landscape as it evolves and continues to transform the music and film industry.

Click here to follow my work on Contentinople.

Made-in-Boston films slotted for release in 2009

In the comments section of a previous posting on the made-in-Boston flick "The Pink Panther 2," Loaded Gun reader Boston Knucklehead asks:

"I totally didn't even realize that this was filmed here locally. Where can we see what movies are being filmed in the area?"


Here's a comprehensive list in chronological order (including the two locally-shot films already released):

*Bride Wars, released Friday, Jan. 9
Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson play best friends who are pitted against each other when their wedding dates clash.

*Paul Blart: Mall Cop, released Friday, Jan. 16
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.

*Pink Panther 2, release Friday, Feb. 6
Martin's Jacques Clouseau teams up with a squad of bumbling International detectives in an attempt to stop a globe-trotting thief who specializes in stealing historical artifacts.

*The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, release Friday, May 1
A bachelor played by Matthew McConaughey is haunted by the ghosts of his past girlfriends (including Ben Affleck's wife Jennifer Garner) at his younger brother's wedding.

*The Maiden Heist, limited release in May
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. Catch a sneak peek of the art-heist comedy at Worcester's Hanover Theatre at 7:30 p.m. March 7, 2009.

*The Proposal, release Friday, June 12
Shot in the Bay State but set in NYC and Alaska? Diva boss Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) forces her assistant Andrew (Ryan Reynolds) to marry her in order to keep from losing her visa status in NYC and avoid deportation to Canada. The Rockport-shot scenes act as a stand-in for ... get this ... Sitka, Alaska.

*The Surrogates, release Friday, Sept. 25
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.

*Shutter Island, release Friday, Oct. 2
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."

*The Box, release Friday, Nov. 6
Based on the short story by Richard Matheson, "The Box" stars Cameron Diaz as Norma Lewis and James Marsden as Arthur Lewis, a suburban couple with a young child who receive a simple wooden box as a gift, which bears fatal and irrevocable consequences. "The Box" is directed by "Donnie Darko" filmmaker Richard Kelly.

*Edge of Darkness, release Nov. 11 (limited)
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. "Edge of Darkness" was shot in Boston from Monday, Aug. 18 until Saturday, Nov. 22.

*The Governess, (filming postponed with release slotted for Dec. '09)
"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.

*Don McKay, release TBD
This Andover-shot flick starring Thomas Haden Church as Don McKay, a high school janitor who leaves his hometown after a tragedy and returns 25 years later to rekindle a romance with his old flame, played by Elisabeth Shue.

*The Hatteras, release TBD
This made-in-Rockport thriller, with a working title of "Hatteras Hotel," 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 Invention of Lying, release in 2010
Formerly titled "This Side of Truth," the Ricky Gervais comedy starring Tina Fey is set in a world where no one has ever lied, until a writer seizes the opportunity for personal gain.

*Black Mass project, release in 2010
Jim Sheridan, the acclaimed Irish filmmaker of "My Left Foot" and "In the Name of the Father," plans to film the quintessential Whitey Bulger flick based on the book "Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob." Filming is slotted for April.

Sneak peek of Tom Brady's steamy Stetson ad



OK, he may not be engaged to Brazilian glamazon Gisele Bündchen but our fave sidelined Patriots QB Tom Brady sure knows how to steam up the small screen in the above behind-the-scenes peek of his infamous Stetson cologne ad.

Sure, the clip comes off a bit over-the-top with words like "seductive" and "stimulating" popping up throughout and there's enough phallic imagery to make Freud blush, but Brady sure knows how to work that come-hither sex appeal.

Maybe Bündchen gave him a few, um, pointers?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Snag a Dennis Lehane-inspired Novel-Tee shirt

Are you a Dennis Lehane junkie? You're in luck. The homegrown author of a series of made-into-movie novels like "Mystic River," "Gone Baby Gone," and the latest "Shutter Island," has teamed up with PROTECT, a political lobby group for child protection based in Knoxville, Tenn. for a series of T-shirts inspired by his novels.

For a mere $24.95, snag an Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane T-shirt straight from the pages of "Shutter Island." Because at Ashecliffe, you definitely want to make sure you're on the right team.

The Protect.org shop also boasts a Hurley's Drive-In shirt from "Mystic River" and a Kenzie & Gennaro Investigations Novel-Tee from his series featuring Patrick and Angie including "Gone Baby Gone."

Not into Lehane? Dont' fret. PROTECT's online shop has shirts inspired by "High Fidelty" author Nick Hornby and "Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs" scribe Chuck Klosterman.

Click here for the lowdown.

Monday, January 26, 2009

'The Maiden Heist' premieres at Hanover Theatre

Christopher Walken and William H. Macy, stars of the made-in-Boston flick "The Maiden Heist," are slotted to offer a sneak peek of their art-heist comedy at Worcester's Hanover Theatre at 7:30 p.m. March 7, 2009.

Initially unveiled at the American Film Market in Santa Monica last November to strong reviews, the screening in March will mark its world premiere with a national release scheduled for May 2009.

"The Maiden Heist," formerly known as "The Lonely Maiden," stars Walken, Macy and Morgan Freeman in a comedy of errors following three museum security guards and their attempt to steal artwork after it's been transferred to another museum.

Proceeds from the movie gala will benefit The Worcester Art Museum. The WAM's Renaissance Court and art galleries were transformed into the film's scene of the crime back in December 2007. Boston locations include South Boston's Murphy's Law and the fire-destroyed The Grecian Yearning in Allston.

The film's director Peter Hewitt, producer Rob Paris and screenwriter Michael LeSieur are also scheduled to attend the premiere.

Click here for tickets, ranging from $30 to $200 for VIP access.

UPDATE: "I don't anticipate any screenings of 'The Maiden Heist' in the near future," Yari Film Group's Emily Lambert e-mails the Globe saying that the made-in-Boston flick "The Maiden Heist," slotted to be unveiled at Worcester's Hanover Theatre at 7:30 p.m. March 7, 2009 , may not see the light of day.

Opinionated Matt Damon returns to Boston

Cambridge homeboy turned Miami Beach transplant Matt Damon, slotted to speak about Haiti at the John F. Kennedy Library tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 27 with Partners in Health founder Dr. Paul Farmer, is raising a few eyebrows after rapping with the Miami Herald.

In the interview here, Damon slams conservative New York Times columnist William Kristol saying: "He's an idiot -- he wrote that we should be grateful to George Bush because he won the Iraq war. We! Won! The! War!'"

And, when asked if there are any comparisons to his "Bourne" character and James Bond, Damon shoots back: "They could never make a James Bond movie like any of the 'Bourne' films because Bond is an imperialist, misogynist sociopath who goes around bedding women and swilling martinis and killing people. He's repulsive."

Hmmm, tell us what you really think.

In a separate piece here, Damon says he plans to stick around in Miami Beach with his wife Luciana.

''The business definitely does not require you to live in Hollywood, at least not for me at this point in my career,'' Damon says. "Very, very few of my movies get shot in Los Angeles. And here, I don't have to deal with any of the nonsense."

Of course, his hometown crowd here in Boston would welcome the opinionated Damon with open arms.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

NBC's 'America's Got Talent' casting in Boston

Can you contort your body into a human pretzel or swallow swords while riding a unicycle? You're in luck.

"America's Got Talent," NBC's hit series from "American Idol" producers FremantleMedia and Simon Cowell's SYCO Television, returns this summer to feature the hottest and most unique performers from across the country to the surprise, delight, amusement and entertainment of millions of Americans nationwide.

Reality TV's ultimate variety show--currently scouting in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Chicago--plans to cast in Boston and they're looking for all types of acts ranging from bands to dancers to comedians to aerialists.

Producers are asking for a video link of your performance (time to dust off your baton and whip out the camcorder) and some background information including your occupation outside of your talent and how you began performing and why.

UPDATE: Boston Casting is now in charge of scouting for locals. E-mail Jason at jasonagtcasting@gmail.com if interested. Also, click here to learn about the open casting call on Saturday, March 7 and Sunday, March 8.

Celebrity Casino Night at Boston's Four Seasons

The Four Seasons Hotel will transform into a star-studded Celebrity Casino Night fundraiser kicking off at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 24.

Christopher "Peter Brady" Knight and his "America's Next Top Model" wife Adrianne Curry are featured in the "celebrity support and appearances" list along with John Shea from "Gossip Girl," director Penny Marshall, Ken Casey from the Dropkick Murphy's and the New England Patriots' coach Bill Belichick.

However, "celebrity support" must be something other than the obvious because Dorchester native and "Bunker Hill" actor Donnie Wahlberg, who is included on the roster of stars, definitely will not make it to the benefit for Journey Forward, a worthwhile non-profit helping those with spinal cord injuries.

Why? Wahlberg and his NKOTB bros are currently in the U.K., wooing their London fans.

Wahlberg's brother and head of the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation, Jim, will be on hand just in case you're going through Donnie withdrawal.

7:30-11:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24, The Four Seasons Hotel, 200 Boylston St. $150. 415-216-8494.

UPDATE: ANTM's Adrianne Curry was unable to attend due to work obligations.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Did Luke Verge win MTV's 'Bromance' top prize?



Did local Luke Verge win over Brody Jenner's affections to snag the ultimate BFF bragging rights on MTV's "Bromance"? Some guy in the audio clip above, posted on Barstool Sports, believes so ... in fact, the alleged family friend left a supposed voicemail message at MTV headquarters in NYC.

“He’s spilling the beans and telling us everything that happens before it happens,” the caller says about Verge with a thick Medford accent. “He’s ruining it for everyone in this area . . . This is serious information.”

Verge, a self-described "designated party animal" and 24-year-old substitute elementary school teacher originally from Medford currently living in Las Vegas, says his stint on reality TV in Los Angeles is a far cry from his life growing up in Medford.

"I mean the first night [we] were at a lingerie party with smoke-shows and taking limo rides. Back home I'm lucky to see half a nip from the drunk girl who fell over at the local dollar draft bar," Verge writes on his blog here.

Now, isn't that bromantic.

UPDATE: Medford's Luke Verge does win MTV's "Bromance." Get the lowdown here.

Daniel Yakovleff Memorial Fund throws fundraiser

In memory of Daniel Yakovleff, the 20-year-old gay man who was murdered at knifepoint in January 2008, friends of the popular hairstylist will hold a fundraiser Sunday, January 25 at the South End Buttery to spearhead the Daniel Yakovleff Memorial Fund (DYMF).

"The Daniel Yakovleff Memorial Fund was formed in December 2008 in order to raise awareness and funds in an effort to address important and pressing issues among the LGBTQ community in Boston," writes the group's president, Elle Jarvis, here.

The event will start at 6 p.m. with a cocktail reception and Raw Bar provided by Island Creek Oysters. From 7-9 p.m. there will be a three-course dinner by Chef Chris Henry and beer donated by Harpoon Brewery. Top off the evening with a yummy cupcake from The South End Buttery Cafe.

Tickets are $75. Click here to learn more.

Yakovleff was brutally murdered in the Savin Hill apartment in Dorchester last January and his alleged killer, Steven Odegard, who he met at the Eagle bar in the South End is currently incarcerated awaiting trial.

The triple-decker apartment located at 56 Tuttle St. in Dorchester where Yakovleff was found murdered caught on fire on Dec. 31, 2008 and became completely engulfed in flames. The crime scene is now inhabitable.

Click here for the latest on the Yakovleff investigation.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The week in quotes from Hollywood in the Hub

"So as we all saw this past monday ... I got the boot! Very upsetting but inspiring at the same time,"

--Gary Vaughn, a finalist for Brody Jenner's affections on MTV's "Bromance" until last week,
writes on his blog that he returned home to Mattapoisett after taping the show in LA and found a renewed optimism.

“It’s like really fun to do."

--Salvatore Santone, a nine-year-old actor from Holbrook who snagged roles in three made-in-Boston films and the locally-shot Italian TV show "Four Single Fathers," says he's officially caught the acting bug.

"I always wanted to shoot in Boston because there are so many movies that take place in New York, and I felt that the suburban area outside of Boston is such a - to me, it's photogenic. Some people might not think that. In some ways, because I spent all my formative years there, I am a regional filmmaker."

--Tze Chun, Randolph native and director of the Sundance Film Festival entry "Children of Invention," spills to the Globe why he returned to his suburban Boston roots.

"I was an extra. No lines, but I'm seen walking around in a mall cop uniform."I just went and saw it (Sunday). I thought it was good. I laughed."

--Bill Dugan, an aspiring actor from Roseville, MI and featured extra in "Paul Blart: Mall Cop,"
learns the "no small parts, just small actors" lesson.

“Boston’s a great city, we had so much fun. There was one restaurant in the North End that was really amazing, but because of time constraints and the shooting schedule we didn’t get out as much as we liked.”

--Kevin James, riding high after snagging the No. 1 slot with the made-in-Boston "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" flick at the box office over the weekend, he may come back to the area for two more films.

“We try to be like a ‘real movie theater,’ with popcorn and real theater seats and trailers before the movie. But at the same time, we’re playing not only new independent films and foreign films, but also classics from the full range of film history, from ‘Casablanca’ to ‘Planet of the Apes.’ We’ll show pretty much any movie that we think has entertainment value or artistic value or historical value.”

--George Bragdon, program manager of the Coolidge Corner Theatre, says it's been a blockbuster year for local indie theaters.

Lindsay Lohan checks out Harvard, snubs Estate

Before supposedly hosting last night's quick-and-dirty gig at The Estate with gal pal DJ Samantha Ronson (the set only lasted an hour and a half), the "Mean Girls" actress reportedly checked out Harvard's campus with Caroline Kennedy's daughter Rose Kennedy Schlossberg, a current student at the iconic ivy league campus.

Ronson joined her crimson-haired girlfriend on a trek through Harvard's Widener Library and the Loker Reading Room.

Lohan studying at Harvard? It's possible ... but highly unlikely. I mean, have you read her MySpace blog?

However, she expressed interest in Harvard back in 2007 when she first entered rehab.

"Despite what nearly everybody thinks, Lindsay is an incredibly bright girl when she’s sober; and now that she is sober, she wants to have the college experience she gave up to refine her craft as an actress,” her spokesperson claims here.

And speaking of the Estate gig, gossip wrangler Perez Hilton says the so-called host of last night's event "hid behind the curtain" wearing a hoodie and "never once looked at the crowd."

Click here for the Lohan backstory.

'Pink Panther 2' transforms Boston into Paris



Steve Martin stars in the made-in-Boston sequel, "The Pink Panther 2," hitting theaters Friday, Feb 6.

Following the formula of the string of less-than-stellar locally-shot films--like "The Women," "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" and "Bride Wars"--the film was made in the Hub to take advantage of our state's insanely low tax breaks ... but set in another city.

Get this, "Pink Panther 2" attempts to transform Boston into Paris. How do you say 'stinks' in French?

In the flick, Martin's Jacques Clouseau teams up with a squad of bumbling International detectives in an attempt to stop a globe-trotting thief who specializes in stealing historical artifacts.

"Pink Panther 2" was shot in Boston, Chelsea, Bedford, Westwood and Winchester.

Click here for the official site.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Lindsay Lohan joins Sam Ronson at The Estate

It's official. Lindsay Lohan plans to stand by her gal pal, DJ Samantha Ronson, at tonight's Winter White Party at The Estate, 1 Boylston Place.

Ronson will spin while her crimson-haired girlfriend will host the evening kicking off at 11 p.m. and lasting until 2 a.m. Doors open at 9 p.m.

Before heading to The Estate, Ronson and Lohan are slotted to stay at the Liberty Hotel and are expected to dine at Scampo.

The duo, who reportedly had a falling out during their big New Year's Eve bash sponsored by SoBe Lifewater at Miami's Mansion, were back together at last Sunday's Declare Yourself "Rebirth of Citizenship" inauguration event in DC.

Lohan responds to the break-up "rumors" surrounding Ronson on her MySpace blog here. "Get your stories straight please," she shoots back. "It's really annoying to have all of your friends e-mailing you saying, i saw, i read, etc... NOT TRUE."

Click here to see for yourself. Tickets are $20 a pop.

Plymouth Rock Studios gets 'green' light

Plymouth Rock Studios took an important step forward today after the state's secretary of environmental affairs gave the OK for the project to file a single Environmental Impact Report, significantly shortening the timeframe of the studio's environmental review.

Ian A. Bowles, secretary of energy and environmental affairs, says the studios will serve as a model for Hollywood execs and the booming local film and TV scene including proposed sites like SouthField Studios in Weymouth.

"The project includes a noteworthy commitment to design and build a state-of-the-art, green sustainable studio that will minimize the project's environmental footprint, provide exposure for renewable energy, technologies including a 500kw solar photovoltaic system, and serve as a model for developers in Massachusetts and studio heads in Hollywood," Bowles adds.

Slated to open Sept. 2010, Plymouth Rock Studios will become a major staging area and production studio for filmmakers and offer an educational component.

Approved by Plymouth on Oct. 27, 2008, the full-service "green" film and TV studio facility will boast 14 sound stages--ranging in size from 18,000 to 24,000 square feet--and would be built on the site that's currently a 240-acre golf course.

Click here for the latest on Plymouth Rock Studios.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Local indie cinemas flourish during tough times

While national movie box-office numbers are down by $9.6 billion compared to 2007, the Taunton Gazette reports here that indie movie houses like the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline and the Brattle in Cambridge are boasting a blockbuster year.

“We saw an increase in ticket sales. We’re waiting to crunch the numbers for the whole year, but we believe we saw a small increase in attendance, as opposed to other years where we’d seen a number of small decreases in attendance. Now we see an up tick,” says Ned Hinkle, creative director of the Brattle Theatre.

George Bragdon, program manager of the Coolidge Corner Theatre, echoes Hinkle's enthusiasm adding that people are flocking to the indie theaters seeking an escape.

“This season it’s been pretty good,” says Bragdon. “It’s kind of surprising given the economic climate. But going to movies is one of those luxuries for people who are looking to do something that takes their minds off of whatever else is bothering them. They still shell out for movies.”

Click here for the complete article.

Dunkin' Donuts hands out free Charlie cards

On Friday, Jan. 23, Dunkin' Donuts teams up with actor Peter Ostrum, the former child star from "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," to hand out 10,000 pre-paid Charlie Cards to morning commuters from 7-10 a.m. at Boston's North Station, South Station and Back Bay.

Ostrum, slotted to be at South Station, will work with Dunkin’ Donuts in presenting one lucky commuter with a “Golden Ticket” for a year’s worth of Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee and a Charlie Card for unlimited subway rides on the T for one year.

Unfortunately, Oompa-Loompas are not eligible for the “Golden Ticket” prize.

To help spread their so-called “Kin’ Do” spirit, Dunkin’ Donuts is launching a free transportation program in January in Boston and select markets throughout the Northeast.

GQB launches charity event on Tuesday, Jan. 20

The Guerrilla Queer Bar folks are back in Cambridge on Tuesday, Jan 20 to celebrate "National Day of Change" and, of course, Barack Obama's inauguration as our new president.

Deviating a bit from GQB's hetero bar takeover, the group is launching their first "GQB Charity" event at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 20 at Hong Kong in Harvard Square. Proceeds from the bash will go to Mass Equality.

"It's a lot like GQB, except we're also milking the bar to send all proceeds from the door (just $5 if you're cheap) and some of the drinks straight to Mass Equality (the people that got us that thing called marriage)," writes Josh Gerber in the e-mail blast.

Gerber continues, "While other inauguration balls may suck, you know that ours will be delicious."

Chris Muther from Mint Julep and the Brandon's from Revival are spinning. The GQB group also boasts hand-made shirts from local artist Ben Spear.

Also, the Hong Kong has shaken-and-stirred a drink for GQB called the "Obamination: A drink for equality" with $1 from each cocktail sold going to Mass Equality.

The spillover location is Grafton Street which is a bar/restaurant located next door to Hong Kong.

Click here for more info.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Kevin James plans two more made-in-Boston flicks

Kevin James, riding high after snagging the No. 1 slot at the box office with the made-in-Boston flick "Paul Blart: Mall Cop," says Massachusetts' tax incentives are enough to bring the funnyman back for more.

"[The state has] fantastic tax breaks but more than that, I tell you, it's got the great East Coast feel and the people are great. There's a chance that I'm going to shoot my next movie and the one after that there so I think we're going to do two more [in Boston]," James tells FOX25.

Co-produced by New England native Adam Sandler, "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" is a comedy starring Kevin James that follows a security guard trying to stop a group of organized crooks who take over a mall.

While the movie is set at the fictional West Orange Pavilion Mall in New Jersey, a majority of the film was on location at the Burlington Mall in Mass. for three months with additional scenes shot on Centre Street in West Roxbury, the Boston Harbor Islands and South Shore Plaza in Braintree.

James says he enjoyed spending St. Patrick's Day on a boat in the Hub. "We had a great time filming there with some very overzealous fans," he jokes. "We just had a blast. I didn't mind getting wet with little green paint."

Click here for the interview with Kevin James.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Will J.Lo's made-in-Boston flick move forward?

If the latest imdb casting update is any indication, Jennifer Lopez's made-in-Boston flick "The Governess" is slowly moving forward.

Three cast members slotted to play the rich offspring of a wealthy widower of the Webber family have been announced including Tessa Allen as Mandy, Becca Gardner as Addison and Tyler Posey as Preston.

Posey, an up-and-coming actor featured on "Brothers & Sisters" and "Smallville," played Lopez's 10-year-old son in "Maid In Manhattan."

As previously reported in Loaded Gun, Nigel Cole's "The Governess" with Lopez, initially scheduled to be shot in Boston this past September, has been moved to the first quarter of '09 with an anticipated release in December.

In "The Governess," Lopez plays 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.

There was some movie industry buzz regarding the fate of this made-in-Boston flick after the film's financial backers, Yari Film Group, was forced to put the releasing arm of its movie business into Chapter 11 reorganization.

Click here for the latest on "The Governess."

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Random Shot :: Jokake Inn from 'Raising Arizona'

I just got back after spending a fabulous ... and warm... weekend in Scottsdale, Arizona on assignment for a regional magazine.

Above is a shot of the historic Jokake Inn, located at the entryway of the upscale resort The Phoenician. This old-school southwestern gem is also a filming location where Nathan and Florence lived in "Raising Arizona," one of my favorite Joel and Ethan Cohen flicks from the '80s.

Click here for more photos from the "Loaded Gun Random Shots" series.
Photo by Sam Baltrusis

Friday, January 16, 2009

One more Irish mob-related flick hits Boston

Is Boston married to the mob?

Jim Sheridan, the acclaimed Irish filmmaker of "My Left Foot" and "In the Name of the Father," plans to film the quintessential Whitey Bulger flick based on the book "Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob."

According to reports here, Sheridan is gearing for a three-month shoot in South Boston beginning in April.

With the success of "The Departed" as well as a barrage of Boston-based projects in various stages of production including the Spike-TV pilot "War of '04," the Somerville Irish mob flick "Code of Silence" and the Graham King/Martin Scorsese project on Bulger hit man John Martorano, the latest news from Sheridan sounds like it's an Irish mob overkill.

While I feel like Boston continues to be an untapped resource of material for writers and filmmakers, I do believe that there's an oversaturation of Boston mob/crime films. In fact, I chronicled a majority of the thug-related productions here.

However, as we've seen with Scorsese's work, folks can't get enough of gang-related material, especially if it's inspired by reality and is reworked by master storytellers like Sheridan.

Click here for my list of Boston-based films in various stages of production.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bloc Party, Katy Perry slotted for House of Blues

As previously reported in Loaded Gun, the under-construction House of Blues on Lansdowne will officially open its doors on Thursday, Feb. 19.

The new venue announced its youth-geared opening series of concerts this week including Jesse McCartney on Friday, Feb. 27, Bloc Party on Thursday, March 19 and Katy Perry on Wednesday, April 1.

For those not in the know, Avalon officially closed on Oct. 1, 2007 and was sold to the House of Blues by the Lyons Group. The former Lansdowne hot spot is currently being transformed into a live-music complex that will accommodate 2,500 including a 350-seat lounge and a 125-seat restaurant.

Boston faves the Dropkick Murphys will play six consecutive nights from Thursday, March 12 until Tuesday, March 17.

Celebrating the 10th anniversary of its album "Clarity" with a 10-city tour, Jimmy Eat World announced that they're playing on the HOB stage on Thursday, Feb. 26. Other previously announced acts set to play the soon-to-be-opened venue include B.B. King and Buddy Guy on Sunday, Feb. 22 and George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic on Wednesday, Feb. 25.

Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 17 and are available here and here or by calling 800-745-3000.

The week in quotes from Hollywood in the Hub

"I mean the first night [we] were at a lingerie party with smoke-shows and taking limo rides. Back home I'm lucky to see half a nip from the drunk girl who fell over at the local dollar draft bar."

--Luke Verge, a finalist for Brody Jenner's affections on MTV's "Bromance,"
writes on his blog that his stint on reality TV in Los Angeles is a far cry from his life growing up in Medford.

"Hello? Mama talkin', mama talkin'. OK?"

--Jennifer Lopez, allegedly slotted to shoot the ill-fated Yari Film Group flick "The Governess" in Boston, takes the mic and shushes the crowds at the Golden Globe Awards.

“It was either here or Australia. As much as I would like to see Australia, I was happy to spend it here and get my aunt’s home cooking to boot.”

--Elizabeth Banks, Pittsfield native and keynote speaker at the Commonwealth Awards on Tuesday, Jan 13, says her location options for the locally-shot sci-fi film "The Surrogates" were either Boston or Australia.

"He's a veteran from World War II, and his search leads him to the island's insane asylum. It unravels into a whole other set of problems, with twists and turns ... it is not a weekend comedy."

--
Leonardo DiCaprio describes his role in the made-in-Mass. flick "Shutter Island."

"The first draft took me so long, but as you know writing is not something you can put a rush on."

--Mike O'Dea, a Boston-based writer and actor who earned regional ink back in 2007 while shooting his low-budget flick "Townies," tells Loaded Gun that he's putting the finishing touches on the shooting script for "Code of Silence."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Boston-shot 'Man V. Food' airs on Travel Channel


In this brand new Travel Channel series, host Adam Richman travels the country in search of the biggest, baddest food challenges. Tonight he takes on Boston.

On Wednesday, Jan. 14 at 10 p.m., "Man v. Food" brings burger-eating to a whole new level. But first host Richman heads to Beantown for the East Coast Grill's Hell Night: a super-spicy feast where they serve some of the hottest foods on earth. The Pasta from Hell is topped with three Ghost Chilis, and a pepper from India that's 100 times hotter than a jalapeño. Next Richman is off to the Barking Crab (currently closed from Monday, Jan. 5 until Sunday, Feb. 1 for renovations. It's slotted to reopen Monday, Feb. 2) for some traditional New England fare: a four-pound clambake.

For the main event, Richman takes on the Eagles Deli Challenge in Allston with a local Red Sox fan: a whopping five-pound, 10-patty burger, with 20 slices of cheese, 20 pieces of bacon, five pounds of fries and a giant pickle. Over 1,500 have attempted the Eagles Deli challenge … and so far none have succeeded.

Will New York defeat Boston? Tune in at 10 p.m. Wednesday, Jan 14 to find out.

Will DiCaprio return for 'Shutter Island' reshoot?

As previously reported in Loaded Gun, Oscar-winning director of "The Departed" Martin Scorsese and his golden boy Leonardo DiCaprio are slotted to film reshoot scenes for the movie "Shutter Island" at the abandoned Medfield State Hospital located at 45 Hospital Rd.

Now that the Golden Globes are over, it seems that DiCaprio's schedule is jampacked promoting "Revolutionary Road." On Jan. 20, he dashes to D.C. to watch Obama's inauguration.

So, when is he back in Boston? Based on a tip here from the mother of Aidan Mitchell, the young boy who plays DiCaprio's son in "Shutter Island," it's soon.

Mitchell's mom reveals that her child has been called back for an additional shot with DiCaprio.

Based on the epic novel "Shutter Island" by Dennis Lehane, the Boston-shot flick features DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo and Ben Kingsley and was shot in Taunton's Whittenton Mills Complex (recrafted as the horrific Nazi concentration camp Dachau) as well as the Medfield State Hospital and Peddocks Island. Other locales include Borderland State Park, Hyde Park and Wilson Mountain Reservation in Dedham.

In other "Shutter Island" news, a source here--who talked to author Lehane in Arizona--says the first 10 minutes of the movie is deeply disturbing.

Lehane's take on the footage? "Teddy (DiCaprio) walks up the hospital on Shutter Island. There's a woman patient sitting there, with a scar across her throat. She looks at Teddy, and slices her finger across her throat. He said the scene freaks him out."

Click here for the latest on "Shutter Island."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Affeck, Garner name baby No. 2 Seraphina Rose

Drum roll, please! Ben Affeck and Jennifer Garner's new baby name is ... Seraphina Rose Elizabeth Affleck.

No explanation for the name from the couple's PR peeps. However, Seraphina is "derived from the Hebrew seraphim (burning ones), a name used in the Bible for the heavenly winged angels surrounding the throne of God."

Cambridge homeboy Affleck and wife Garner delivered their second daughter on Tuesday, Jan. 6. Seraphina, formerly known as baby No. 2, is a welcomed nursery mate to her three-year-old sister Violet.

Affleck, last seen accompanying his very pregnant wife Garner to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Beverly Hills on Sunday, Jan. 4, reportedly spent some jail time at the Norfolk County House of Correction with an yet-to-be-named convicted bank robber from Charlestown.

As previously reported in Loaded Gun, Affleck will follow-up his made-in-Boston directorial debut "Gone Baby Gone" with the Charlestown-based flick "The Town," an adaptation of the blue-collar heist novel by Chuck Hogan which was written for the big screen by Peter Craig.

Based on Affleck's recent sighting at the Norfolk County House of Correction, expect production of the flick to kick off in the spring of '09.

Click here for the latest on Affleck's "The Town."

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.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen are engaged

Here we go again. Contrary to earlier reports that Tom Brady proposed to Gisele Bündchen en route on a private jet from New Jersey's Teterboro Airport to Boston's Logan on Christmas Eve, People.com now confirms that the injured New England Patriots QB popped the question to the Victoria's Secret model with a diamond solitaire in Los Angeles over the weekend.

"He asked and she accepted," a source close to the couple tells People.com.

According to the report, the couple is planning an intimate ceremony in Costa Rica with a huge wedding catwalk in the spring.

Brady and Bündchen have both made headlines with previous high-profile break-ups. Bündchen's ex, Leonardo DiCaprio, is slotted to return to Boston this month to finish shooting scenes for Martin Scorsese's "Shutter Island" and Brady's baby mama, Bridget Moynahan, was recently in town filming "Bunker Hill," a TV pilot for TNT starring NKOTB Donnie Wahlberg.

Click here for the original Loaded Gun post.

Loaded Gun teams up with PaperG for local ads

Looking to publicize an upcoming event, new restaurant, a Valentine's Day spa package or special announcement? You're in luck.

Loaded Gun, a Boston-based pop culture blog and PaperG, an online social-advertising network that connects local advertisers with local publishers launched an events-driven virtual bulletin board platform today on LoadedGunBoston.com as a way to offer an innovative and economical way for locals to get the word out.

Click here for a sample.

Advertisers who sign up this week will get a deeply discounted early-bird rate--as low as $50 for the first month--when using the promo code LGLAUNCH.

Forget complicated rates and strange file formats. You can have your business or event featured on Loaded Gun in less than five minutes. Spec requirements for the ad should be an 800x1024 bulletin board image (shown when the user clicks "Enlarge flyer" off the opened flyer), which we automatically resize to 383x490 (shown when the user opens the flyer) and 126x162 (how the flyer appears on the bulletin board).

Victor Wong, who founded the company with four Yale students and Harvard grad Roger Lee, came up with the idea of PaperG's Flyerboard platform while taking an intermediate microeconomics class in New Haven, CT.

"The Internet is mostly dominated by large national companies that pretty much saturate the online experience with useless ads and drivel for mortgage companies and various unscrupulous educational institutions," Wong tells the Yale Daily News.

Wong continues, "But my company basically changes the local media experience by focusing on local businesses and local happenings that need attention and that consumers are actually looking for."

Click here to sign up for the do-it-yourself ad solution.

Oy! Boston-set 'Ronna and Beverly' hit Showtime

If Patsy and Eddie from "AbFab" were Jewish and had thick Boston accents, they would be the politically-incorrect comedic duo from "Ronna and Beverly."

Sketch queens Jessica Chaffin and Jamie Denbo team up with "Weeds" creator Jenji Kohan to produce a set-in-Boston pilot for Showtime, following two-middle aged Marblehead women who publish and aggressively promote a dating guide for Jewish singles called "You'll Do a Little Better Next Time."

Chaffin and Denbo have been hashing out the characters in L.A. clubs and YouTube for years putting on shows like "Ronna and Beverly's All Jew Review" and "Ronna and Beverly's Kosher Xmas." The fictional duo of Glickman and Ginsburg have been friends for 40 years ... 38 if you count the two years they didn't speak.

Kohan tells Variety that the "Ronna and Beverly" project for Showtime came together quickly.

"They've created two of the most fully realized characters I've ever seen," Kohan says of Chaffin and Denbo. "It came together so easily when we all sat down to write the script."

The pilot will start shooting in February with "Freaks and Geeks" director Paul Feig. No word if exterior scenes for the Boston-set pilot will actually be shot in the Bay State.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

'Code of Silence' flick prepares for a knockout

Mike O'Dea, a Boston-based writer and actor who earned regional ink back in 2007 while shooting his low-budget flick "Townies," tells Loaded Gun that he's putting the finishing touches on the shooting script for "Code of Silence."

"The first draft took me so long, but as you know writing is not something you can put a rush on," he says, adding that the Boston Globe's City Weekly unveiled today an in-depth feature here. "Thank you for following and reporting on the progress of the movie."

"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.

In the Globe piece, the filmmaker says he's been scouting for Somerville-based locations including Kelly's Diner on Broadway in Ball Square for one scene and an apartment building at the top of Winter Hill.

O'Dea, who recently signed a deal with Michael Z. Gordon of My Own Worst Enemy Productions, says he moved the setting of the film from Charlestown to Somerville to avoid any confusion with Ben Affleck's upcoming Graham King-produced movie "The Town" and Donnie Wahlberg's currently-in-production pilot for TNT called "Bunker Hill."

He's hoping that Somerville will embrace his film.

"We had a lot of problems with the parents in Charlestown detesting the movie because of its violence," O'Dea tells the Globe. "And then, after the gunfire incident, it just felt like we completely burned our bridges . . . in every way."

Armed with a projected $4 million production budget, the made-in-Somerville Irish mob trilogy is slotted to be shot during a four-week stint in Somerville beginning on Saint Patrick's Day, March 17, 2009.

As previously reported in Loaded Gun, O'Dea is shooting for big-time actors for the film including Michael Madsen.

Click here for the latest on "Code of Silence."

Elizabeth Banks gets wicked in 'The Uninvited'

Homegrown beauty Elizabeth Banks has taken a star turn since raising eyebrows with her role in "Zack and Miri Make a Porno."

The Pittsfield native, slotted to be the keynote speaker at the Commonwealth Awards on Tuesday, Jan 13, recently signed a deal with L'Oreal Paris to be a spokesperson for the company which includes print and TV ads hitting the U.S. in February.

"Elizabeth's talent and beauty is matched by her intelligence and approachability," Karen T. Fondu, president of the L'Oreal Paris, says here. "She has a natural charm and an incredible ability to captivate an audience."

Banks, producer of the upcoming made-in-Boston sci-fi film "The Surrogates" and a featured presenter at the Golden Globes and VH1's Critics' Choice Awards, plays wicked stepmother Rachel in a remake of the Korean horror flick "The Uninvited," hitting theaters Friday, Jan. 30.

The film revolves around Anna (played by Emily Browning) who returns home after spending time in a mental hospital recovering from the tragic death of her mother. Her recovery suffers a setback when she learns her father has become engaged to her mother's former nurse Rachel (played by Banks). That night, Anna is visited by her mother's ghost warning her of Rachel's wicked intentions.

Click here for the lowdown on "The Uninvited."
Photo source DreamWorks LLC and Cold Spring Pictures.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Winner of MTV's hip-hop 'Made' in Lynn announced



With the “Head to Head Hip Hop Challenge" show filmed at the Lynn Memorial Auditorium on Thursday, Nov. 20, three hip-hop hopefuls plucked from Winthrop High School--Abby, Eddie and Christine--are vying for the top prize after being coached by Boston native Cedric Crowe as well as CiCi Kelley and Sam Renzetti.

And the winner is ... Eddie. The shy, pop culture fanatic snagged a check for $10,000 and props from tough-as-nails "Making the Band" choreographer Laurie Ann Gibson. "You can be in one of my videos anytime," Gibson gushes at the Lynn Memorial Auditorium taping.

At one point, the Winthrop High School wannabe coached by Crowe wanted to quit the competition but was talked out of it by his mom, who knows a thing or two about not giving up after fighting cancer.

Abby, the goofy tomboy coached by Kelley, came in second and Christine, the cheerleader coached by Renzetti, came in third.

Safar Coiffures, an upscale salon located at 23 Newbury Street, is where the trio gets a makeover before the big competition.

Cris Judd, J.Lo's ex hubby and dancer, Gibson and, Soulja Boy, who performed "The Bird Walk" with the dancers, were judges.

Click here for the backstory on Loaded Gun.

Bollywood's '1-800-Love' flick will film in Boston

Bollywood in the Hub? With the success of Danny Boyle's "Slumdog Millionaire," there's a renewed interest in contemporary films coming out of India.

Boston will get its taste of Indian cinema when John Abraham Entertainment films the flick "1-800-Love." Abraham, pictured above, is gearing for a two-month production schedule in Boston starting in May.

Abraham teams up with Abbas Tyrewala, an Indian director who won over Bollywood last year with his directorial debut, "Jaane Tu Ya Jaane." The script for "1-800-Love" was written by Tyrewala's wife Pakhi.

“We are going to Boston next year in the summer for the shooting of the film. It will be entirely shot in Boston," Abbas says here. "We will be there for two months. I'm currently preparing for this film as it has a completely different storyline."

The film's premise? Tyrewala says it's an adult comedy "inspired from the toll-free help lines in the US." Sounds like a winner.

Mel Gibson's 'EOD' film funds rides for homeless

Are made-in-Boston films the gift that keep on giving? Money donated by producer Graham King and actor Mel Gibson, recently in town filming the locally-shot movie "Edge of Darkness," is indirectly helping Amherst's homeless population combat New England's freezing temperatures, according to a report here.

Amherst College coughed up $40,000 of the money paid to them by the "Edge of Darkness" crews for property used during filming including the former Strategic Air Command bunker back in October. The "EOD" rent money was handed over to fund a program offering free taxi service to homeless folks in the area and temporary lodging in a local motel.

An equally philanthropic report surfaced back in December that Gibson himself donated $25,000 to Casa Myrna Vazquez, a South Boston domestic violence program and shelter for battered women.

Based on the dark 1985 BBC miniseries, "Edge of Darkness" follows Gibson's Thomas Craven character, a homicide detective for the Boston Police Dept., who digs up the many secrets surrounding the death of his activist daughter.

The positive news punctuates a tumultuous remake of the successful British miniseries including Oscar winner Robert De Niro abruptly quitting the flick on his first day citing "creative differences" coupled with Brit Ray Winstone replacing him as well as a flurry of manufactured rumors including Gibson's reported bar hopping around Boston in August.

Click here for the backstory on "Edge of Darkness."

Friday, January 09, 2009

Boston is roasted by 2008 'Razzie' nominations

Still in recovery from the film review bloodbath surrounding the made-in-Boston, set-in-NYC wedding day massacre known as "Bride Wars," hitting theaters today?

Hold on. There's more.

Larry Carroll of MTV News published his ballot for the 29th Annual Razzie Awards, an event roasting the worst films of the year and held one day before the Oscars on February 21.

Thank goodness Razzie-nominated director Dianne English transformed Boston's posh Newbury Street area into NYC. We may want to distance ourselves from "The Women," nominated for a slew of 2008 Razzies including Worst Actress (the entire cast of "The Women" is roasted) and "Worst Prequel, Sequel, Remake or Rip-Off."

Dorchester native Mark Wahlberg is fingered by the Razzie nominating board as "Worst Actor" and two nominations for "Worst Screen Couple," sharing the laurels with Zooey Deschanel an Mila Kunis.

The shot-in-Boston "My Best Friend's Girl" also gets slammed with a nod for "Worst Screen Couple," punctuating an already horrific 2009 for Arlington homeboy Dane Cook and Kate Hudson, still in recovery from her made-in-Boston debacle "Bride Wars."

Click here for the lowdown.

Mediabistro.com Lecture: Pitch Letter Essentials

Mediabistro contacted me yesterday to book an encore "Pitch Letter Essentials" class slotted for Thursday, May 7.

This will be my fourth semester as a Mediabistro.com instructor. For the seminar, I plan to go into pitch letter strategies for marketing professionals as well as integrating social media to spice up your query.

Click here to sign up for my Pitch Letter Essentials class 7-10 p.m. Thursday, May 7 at BCA, Calderwood Pavilion, 527 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02116.

My seminar last October was a huge success. I have a lot more to add this time around--especially material geared toward marketing professionals looking to craft the perfect pitch letter that will generate buzz from editors.

Here's the lowdown:

For a freelance writer, pitches are everything. They're your personal introduction, writing sample, and article outline all in one. They're how you break into a magazine and how you keep the assignments coming in once you do. Write a compelling query and you're on your way to an assignment, or at least an ongoing relationship with the editor; write a lousy one and you'll disappear into the slush pile.

Whether you're pitching a celebrity profile or a travel feature, there are some key techniques and strategies you need to know to come up with a killer query. This seminar will walk you through the most important ones, from researching your target publication to structuring the pitch to selling yourself as the perfect writer for the job.

In this seminar, you will learn:

*How to surprise editors with fresh ideas
*Techniques to come up with salable story ideas
*How to tailor your query letter to the publication you're pitching
*What editors look for in a query and what turns them off
*What makes an effective -- and not-so effective -- query letter
*Online query letters vs. print query
*How to package yourself as the ideal writer for your idea
*How to turn a query into an ongoing editor-writer relationship

Click here to sign up for the class.

Also, here are a few testimonials:

"I attended the class to help refine my story-pitching skills and - most importantly - to demystify what happens on the other end of a query submission. The class answered all my questions and even opened up a new channel of freelance opportunities." -- Wendy Booher

"Sam Baltrusis was excellent, and had a broad range of experience to draw on, including in new media. I especially appreciated his individualized suggestions and followup." -- Kimberly Davis

"Pitch Letter Essentials was the perfect course and Sam Baltrusis had all the answers I needed to put together my letters. This course is highly recommended!" -- Colleen Perry B.savvy Marketing Mashpee, MA

"Sam was terrific, knowledgeable, supportive, and interesting. He's already lived up to his promise to follow up with us by viewing and commenting on my blog and offering potential publications for my writing. Thanks to his direct and humorous approach, experience and knowledge, Sam offered much more than information ... he offered camaraderie and support for freelancers, new and experienced." -- Kate Daly

"The instructor was just terrific. He was fun, relaxed, and had tons of experience. We covered lots of territory. A very successful evening." -- Miriam Weinstein
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