Next filming location

Showtime brought us three seasons of this strong television drama, featuring large weekly doses of Jason Isaacs! Find articles, reviews, and viewer comments about Brotherhood--and add your own!

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Next filming location

Post by Gillian » Fri Sep 02, 2005 9:45 am

From the Woonsocket Call ...

WOONSOCKET -- If you’re feeling nostalgic for the heady time when the Stadium Theatre played host to the world premiere of a Hollywood movie, take heart: The city is about to get a booster shot of glamour.

Next week, a production crew from the Showtime cable television channel is due to arrive in the city to shoot scene footage for "Brotherhood," a new dramatic series, according to Robert Billington, the president of the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council.

The plot of "Brotherhood" is about two Irish brothers on opposite sides of the law, one a clean-cut, rising political star played by Jason Clarke ("Rabbit-Proof Fence"), the other a mobster-like figure with friends in the underworld. He is played by Jason Isaacs ("The Patriot," "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets").

Set entirely in Rhode Island, the series is scheduled to debut in early 2006. A pilot for the series was shot last September, but "Brotherhood" production crews have been hopscotching across the state all summer to shoot footage for 11 episodes, ordered by Showtime following the completion of the pilot.

"It’s going to be great for the city," said Billington. "They’ll be spending money, buying products. But the really cool thing is, let’s see how the series plays out. If it’s something we like, it’s going to have a great residual effect."

Billington said about 150 technicians, actors and other members of the production crew will arrive in a caravan of trailers, trucks and other vehicles laden with movie-making equipment.

Because they want to be able to work with a minimum of distraction, Billington said crewmembers have asked that the exact time and location they will be in the city not be released. But Billington said he expects the shooting to be confined to one indoor site in the Main Street area.

"They were in and out of Pawtucket and no one ever knew they were there," he said. "I think they want to know Rhode Island is a place they can get their work done, get in, get out, and maybe come back again."

This isn’t the first time the city has held court for kingpins of the cinematic arts. In 1998, the Stadium Theatre played host to the East Coast premiere of "There’s Something About Mary," written and directed by Cumberland natives Peter and Bobby Farrelly. Crowds thronged the Stadium as actor Woody Harrelson and other celebrities arrived by limousine.

The Farrelly brothers brought the glitz back in 2003 when Cher came to town to celebrate the release of "Stuck on You," their story of conjoined, yet oddly mismatched twins.

"This is the third time for us," said Mayor Susan D. Menard. "It’s very exciting. It’s great for the city, great publicity for Woonsocket. There’s a lot of people from the film crew spending money in Woonsocket, eating in Woonsocket, so it’ll be great for the businesses."

Location scouts for "Brotherhood" were in the city earlier this week firming up the plans for the shoot. Owen Bebeau, the mayor’s human resources director, said one of their biggest concerns was the availability of parking for their vehicles. Bebeau said he met yesterday with Police Chief William J. Shea to firm up the logistics.

In a brief telephone interview, Colin Walsh, one of the location scouts who visited the city, said, "We’re excited to film up there. It should go quite smoothly."

The production crew has previously done location shooting on Federal Hill in Providence, a key-making shop in Pawtucket and a mill site in Cranston, according to Billington. They visited a site in Cumberland but haven’t made any commitments about returning to shoot, he said.

The prospect of getting images of the Blackstone Valley before the audience of a major cable station is enough to make Billington’s head swim. It makes him think of the impact of the once-popular network drama "Providence" and its riveting, panoramic vistas of the capital city, Narragansett Bay and other iconic images of the Ocean State.

If the local backgrounds are portrayed in a positive light, the exposure can translate into concrete economic benefits for the places those scenes are shot. As Billington puts it, "people like to go to places where things happen, especially if they are promoted in a wonderful way."

The executive producer for "Brotherhood" is Elizabeth Stephen, a Brown University theater arts graduate who is said to admire the Ocean State’s cultural and geographic diversity. She built the story around a script written by Blake Masters, a native of western Massachusetts.

Although Masters, the executive director, had originally set the story in a generic Northeastern city, the setting eventually morphed into Providence when Stephen became associated with the project.

Initially, the plan had been to shoot much of "Brotherhood" in Canada, where production costs are cheaper. Under the leadership of Steven Feinberg of the Rhode Island Film & Television Office, the General Assembly then passed legislation designed to make the state more competitive in the film industry, a move that helped persuade the "Brotherhood" people to stay local.

The "Brotherhood" pilot was directed by Phillip Noyce, whose credits also include hits such as "Clear and Present Danger," "The Quiet American," "Dead Calm" and "Patriot Games." He also directed several episodes of the popular 1980s television series "The Hitchhiker."

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