Movie magic is latest draw in the Falls
Workers install temporary sinage to the Salmon Falls Artisans Showroom in Shelburne Falls converting it into a diner's exterior.
Shelburne Falls will portray Carlinville in the movie "TheJudge" being filmed there next week.
Scenic artist Jonathan Kohrman of Whately, who usually works in New York City or Boston, touches up the wrought iron on Memorial Hall which will be Crawford County Sheriffs Department for the film “The Judge”.
CARLINVILLE — For those who live in Shelburne Falls, coming home each night after work, or getting out for a morning walk this week has become a new adventure, as their New England village gets changed into the movie set for fictional Carlinville, Ind., It’s like a reverse Halloween — in which the town gets into costume and the residents come out to see it.
Greenfield Savings Bank and the Greenfield Cooperative Bank in Shelburne Falls have been given new “Carlinville” signs. The facade of the Salmon Falls Artisans Showroom is now the “Flying Deer Diner,” with interior scenes for this diner filmed inside the former Mole Hollow Candle Co. building, according to the word on the street. Some storefronts have been given awnings, and the exterior of Good Spririts and Rethreads has been made over into a bar.
Friday was the first day of filming for “The Judge,” which stars Robert Downey Jr. and an all-star cast. In the film, Downey’s character, a lawyer, returns to his hometown (Carlinville) for his mother’s funeral, and learns that his father (played by Robert Duvall) is a murder suspect.
Although Friday was devoted to aerial shots of a funeral procession, extras were called in to portray passersby in filming the motorcade from Clement Street, near McCusker’s Market, down through Bridge Street up to the Mechanic Street intersection.
Over and over again came the buzz of a low-flying helicopter, with a camera mounted on it, filming the moving cars on Bridge Street.
And over and over, the people hired as extras sat on newly installed Carlinville benches or walked from one designated place to another.
There were a lot of older cars with Indiana license plates. And certainly more sheriff’s cars from “Crawford County, Indiana,” than in Franklin County, Massachusetts. Four of these beige-and-brown “sheriff’s vehicles” were parked on Bridge Street Friday.
After living in the village for 20 years, I was amused to see people who I have seen walking the streets for years “pretend” to walk whenever someone yelled “Rolling!” Some looked uncharacteristically stiff, like wooden soldiers. I told one of the extras this and he just laughed. “We’ve had this conversation,” he said, nodding toward another movie extra. “What ARE you supposed to do with your arms?” he asked. “I never had to think about that before.”
Local police were out around 5 a.m, and the extras came in around 6:30 a.m. Also, a large group of local residents were hired to be “PAs” — production assistants, whose job was to politely tell the non-extras on the street where or when to wait if a scene was being filmed, or to ask a motorist not to park in a open parking space that was to be part of the movie scenes.
As a nod to businesses in the village, sandwich-boards were put up out of camera range, telling visitors that all stores were open for business.
There was one difficult moment when a huge, refrigerated produce truck couldn’t park in McCusker’s Market’s loading area, and double-parked behind cars that were to be in a scene. “Just give me five minutes,” the truck driver pleaded with the movie folks.
The production aide spoke to someone on a portable radio. “OK, five minutes,” he said, and then offered a group of PAs to help the driver unload his truck.
I noticed that the movie- scene cars were parallel-parked on Bridge Street, while the painted diagonal parking lines protruded from beneath. I wondered if those lines would show up in the movie or be airbrushed out.
Also, a new banner was strung above Bridge Street, where the RiverFest or the Bridge of Flowers Road Race banners usually are. This banner advertised a “Blueberry Festival” on Saturdays from June 3 to Aug. 20. Blueberries must have a longer growing season in Indiana.
“I kinda like the way they’ve changed the town — at least for a week or two,” said Amy Chattin, who works at McCusker’s deli counter. “They did a nice job. And they’ve been really polite to us,” she said.
One thing — Carlinville certainly has more movie stars than Shelburne Falls. Several people reported seeing Robert Downey Jr. and his family in town on Tuesday. Also, Robert Duvall has been seen in Hope & Olive Restaurant in Greenfield, and walking around the village.
John Sendelbach, a metal-and-stone artist who co-created a stone fountain near the Bridge of Flowers, was thrilled to see Robert Downey Jr. sitting by the fountain early this week. He and Paul Forth of Colrain had built and installed the fountain just last summer. “It’s always gratifying to see someone enjoying what you’ve created,” Sendelbach said.’