Joe Judd calls turkeys with Hollywood stars

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    From left: Director of Photography Julio Macat with his sons Max and Andreas Macat filming the hunting scene of "Daddy's Home 2" in Massachusetts. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO—

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    Turkey-hunting expert Joe Judd coaches young Scarlett Estevez on how to hold a rifle for a turkey hunting scene in "Daddy's Home 2," a holiday movie to be released by Paramount on Nov. 10. Cinematographer Julio Macat is holding Estevez in this photo. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO—

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    "Daddy's Home 2" star Mark Wahlberg holds Joe Judd's favorite turkey caller in a scene from the movie. Both Wahlberg and Will Farrell went on to autograph the turkey caller before giving it back to Judd. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO—

Recorder Staff
Published: 10/25/2017 7:35:11 PM

SHELBURNE — If you want to know anything about turkey hunting, who do you call but Joe Judd, three-time president of the National Wild Turkey Federation, a sportsman since age 10, and a nationally renown wild turkey caller.

When the filmmakers of the Paramount Pictures holiday movie, “Daddy’s Home 2,” wanted a realistic turkey hunting scene, Director of Photography Julio Macat asked Judd to spend a day with movie co-stars Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell, showing the actors how to call a turkey, and viewing the filmed scenes, to see if they looked credible. And Judd also showed young Scarlett Estevez, portraying a 9-year-old girl, how to hold a shotgun.

The Christmas comedy opens in theaters across the country on Nov. 10, but the filming for a turkey-hunting scene took place six months ago, on April 13 at the Nashoba Valley Ski Area. Snow-blowers worked overnight to create a wintry background.

“In our story, we needed someone to be an adviser on how a kid would go turkey hunting,” Macat explained. “Joe spoke with the property master about the props, guns and ammunition. He came out to make sure (Estevez) was holding the gun properly.”

Macat’s first big box-office hit was the 1990 holiday hit, “Home Alone,” and he has gone on to make 36 more films, including “Ace Ventura,” “Moonlight and Valentino,” “The Wedding Planner,” and the original “Daddy’s Home” film. Earlier in his career, Macat did the cinematography for concert and music videos for performers such as Peter Gabriel, Melissa Etheridge, Phil Collins and many others.

Macat and his wife, actress Elizabeth Perkins, have a home in Shelburne Falls and in Los Angeles. Macat said he first met Joe Judd in 2012, when his wife was a guest on Judd’s local Falls Cable TV show, “On the Ridge.”

Judd, a 21-year former selectman and current Shelburne town clerk, grew up going on hunting trips with his father and grandfather. Judd has hunted in at least 20 states, and in 2013, he received the Roger Latham Award from the National Wild Turkey Foundation — the highest honor that can be bestowed on a volunteer member. And for years, he has traveled throughout the Northeast, giving lectures and sharing his expertise with others. While president of the National Wild Turkey Foundation, Judd worked to make the eastern wild turkey the state game bird and to have Nov. 18 declared “Eastern Wild Turkey Day in Massachusetts.”

‘Daddy’s Home 2’

“Daddy’s Home 2” continues the story of two dads who are raising their shared children. Mark Wahlberg plays Dusty, the macho, biological dad and ex-husband, while Will Ferrell plays the sensitive, emotional loving stepfather, Brad. The blended family plans to spend the holidays together, but the plot thickens when both dads’ fathers come to spend the holidays with them (Mel Gibson and John Lithgow).

In one scene, Dusty’s father (Gibson) gets a remote cabin where the family will spend the holidays, and where he wants to take his grandson hunting. But the boy doesn’t want to go. Instead, it’s the 9-year-old granddaughter who wants to hunt.

On the day that was filmed, Judd brought several turkey callers with him, and showed the actors how to use these devices.

Judd was advised not to speak to the actors unless they approached him first. But he did have a chance for some small talk.

“Nice chili, huh?” said Will Ferrell, during a meal break. Judd agreed about the chili. “I was surprised how tall Will Ferrell is,” he said.

Also, Gibson asked Judd why he was there. When Judd explained he was there to advise them on the hunting scene, Gibson said, “Oh, of course,” and slapped Judd on the shoulder.

Mark Wahlberg liked Judd’s most prized turkey caller and was quickly using it “like a pro,” Judd said. Wahlberg’s character, Dusty, ended up doing the turkey calling in the scene using Judd’s caller.

The filming included a flock of turkeys, along with a bird handler, and the birds were made to appear to be chasing the would-be hunters in one scene. Judd said the birds had strings attached to their legs, so they couldn’t go too far away from the scene.

Both Wahlberg and Ferrell ended up autographing Judd’s turkey caller before the props department returned it to Judd. “They both signed it for me, so that was very nice,” said Judd. He bought two more of the same turkey callers as gifts for them.

After the filming, Judd got to review the scene to make sure it looked authentic.

“He loved it,” Macat said. “He had a really good time that day. The director would ask him if it looked real, or as real as it could.”

Macat said much of the movie was filmed in Concord, but the cabin was actually in Great Barrington. “We turned two city blocks (of Concord) into a snowy wonderland,” he said. “It was (supposed to be) a fictitious village near the cabin.”

“I was happy to be able to shoot something in Massachusetts,” he added. “I would be finishing the work and drive on Route 2 and be home.”

Macat’s two sons, Max and Andreas Macat, were also running cameras on that day’s filming. Macat said the movie includes some travel shots on the Mohawk Trail in Charlemont and around the Berkshire East ski area.

Macat said he hopes to be able to bring the film to Pothole Pictures, so local people can see it, as they have other locally filmed movies.


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