‘The Judge:’ Live from Mocha Maya’s
Vincent D'Onofrio and Robert Duvall sit on the steps of Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls between takes on Thursday.
Robert Downey Jr on Bridge St. in Shelburne Falls between takes.
Robert Downey Jr., Vincent D'Onofrio and Robert Duvall on the steps of Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls between takes on Thursday.
Filming in Shelburne Falls of The Judge on Thrusday.
Filming a scene with D'Onofrio and Downey
SHELBURNE FALLS — It’s about 4 p.m. Thursday, and movie stars and extras are walking in and out of Mocha Maya’s. Grace Zabriskie, an actress who has been playing a scene all day with Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall, leaves the coffeehouse and gets ready for yet another take. Downey and his “double” are standing in front of Mocha Maya’s, but their backs are facing the shop windows, and we customers have been asked to stay away from the windows, where the camera might see us. I wish we could see both their faces, together.
It’s very cloudy — looking like rain — in the “real-life” sky. But here, in the glare of cannon-sized lights and the white reflecting screens, it’s as bright as a summer sky can be. Production assistants are tweaking the front of Mocha Maya’s also, removing signs and posters they don’t want seen on camera.
Thursday’s filming of “The Judge” brought out fewer spectators, but those who did come out got to see “the three Ds” — Downey, Duvall and D’Onofrio. Downey (and his double) are wearing a lawyer-like navy suit while Duvall and D’Onofrio are in casual clothes. Earlier, while they did an outdoor scene in front of Memorial Hall, the Iron Bridge was closed, and Bridge Street was closed from Main Street to the bridge. Most spectators craned their necks from alleys and side streets.
Now they’re filming right outside this window, and those of us in Mocha’s can barely see the action over the camera crew. But then the vehicle with Downey and Duvall pulls up and Zabriskie, who plays on outraged woman, yells and pounds on their car window.
A production assistant inside the coffeehouse tells us when it’s OK for us to walk close to the window or to leave. Nobody, however, leaves. And when they’re filming, it’s as quiet as a library in here. “I’ve only been on the job a few days now,” says the production assistant. “I think the coolest part of the job is to see actors really act.”
Now, D’Onofrio is in the car with Downey and Duvall, surrounded by lighting men and big cameras. The director, David Dobkin, is there, too.
This same scene has been re-enacted all day long, from at least around 10 a.m., and now it’s nearly 5. The actors didn’t even break for lunch. Half-sandwiches are being passed around to the crew, while Downey, Duvall and D’Onofrio are still in the car.
I think of how musicians and other performers want audiences for their shows and concerts —but might not want a big audience around while their rehearsing, while they’re struggling to get one single passage just right. In this case, the actors have an audience for every move they make. And it’s probably a more attentive audience than most that can be found in air-conditioned cinemas, with comfortable seats and widescreen views of everything.
You can reach Diane Broncaccio at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 277