SHELBURNE FALLS — A parked Peter Pan bus near the Glacial Potholes and a crowd of sunglass-wearing, baseball-capped visitors Thursday did not herald the annual return of tourists, but the start of scouting for a new Hollywood feature film.
On Wednesday and Thursday, film scouts and production workers with notebooks marked “The Judge — trial run” visited shop merchants, toured buildings, and even went on rooftops to consider possible camera angles, according to some people.
“The Judge” is the name of the Warner Bros. film, with an all-star cast that is to include Robert Downey Jr., “Up in the Air” star Vera Farmiga, Robert Duvall, Vincent D’Onofrio and Billy Bob Thornton, among others.
The plot of this drama/comedy is about a lawyer (Downey) who goes back to his small hometown for his mother’s funeral and learns that his estranged father (Duvall) is a murder suspect.
Although filming in Shelburne Falls has not yet been announced, it is an open secret around town that film staff has made inquiries about housing and other issues, for tentative filming in June. The production company is unofficially lining up extras.
When asked if the movie will be shot in the village, a stunt coordinator with the film crew, said “yes,” and that a local production office would be set up. “You need to talk to someone else about this,” he added.
Shelburne Selectman Joseph Judd said film production representatives are meeting with the Shelburne Board of Selectmen on Monday night at 7:45 p.m. He said the purpose was to discuss the particulars of the new Shelburne Falls film permit with film production representatives and for selectmen to ask them questions about “what they’re going to be doing while here,” Judd said. He stressed that nothing is definite at this point.
Diane Pearlman, executive director of the Berkshire Film and Media Commission, declined comment.
Also, Fred DeVecca of the Memorial Hall Association said the production crew had inquired about using Memorial Hall’s upstairs theater for prop storage and as a waiting place for film extras, as was done last year for “Labor Day.” However, no definite agreement was reached.
He said film representatives asked for a tour of the town hall roof.
It was only last June that the picturesque village became the setting for a major Hollywood film, called “Labor Day,” and starring Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet. That film is slated for release this year, although an official release date has not been announced.
In “Labor Day,” Keystone Market, Rethreads clothing store, Greenfield Savings Bank and the back facade of Good Spirits liquor store all provided settings for some of the film scenes.