Movie comic Adam Sandler is returning to the North Shore to film parts of the sequel to his 2010 hit "Grown Ups" — but the film company is coming to Marblehead, not to Essex, which hosted the bulk of the core scenes in the original version.
Happy Madison Productions has been scouting local buildings and conferring with Marblehead officials and is seeking extras for "Grown Ups 2."
"They're already doing a shoot in town now," said a somewhat-perplexed Selectman Harry Christensen. The early filming did not include any Hollywood stars, but instead involved taking still photographs of a cylinder rolling down a hill.
If that seems odd, Christensen was quick to add, "I'm pleased they're using Marblehead as a venue."
The movie will not only showcase the town — it will also juice up local businesses, he said.
An enthused Chamber of Commerce Director Ann Marie Casey agreed. "I think it will be an excellent economic boost to Marblehead." The company's last visit to town meant more business for restaurants and shops.
That was the case in 2009 in Essex, when the town took in some $150,000 for the film company's use of Centennial Grove and its cottage for some three months, and pumped an estimated $1 million into the town's economy.
This time, however, Happy Madison did not seek a renewed use of its 2009 site, but rather asked whether the town could accommodate a site with a large tent and extensive parking space.
"They did talk to us about that," said Essex Town Administrator Brendhan Zubricki, "but we don't have anything like that (as town-owned space).
"There may be some privately owned sites in the town that could accommodate that," he added, and they may be talking to private parties, I don't know. But we don't have anything municipal to offer this time."
Back in Marblehead, the Chamber is helping spread the word that Sande Alessi Casting in Boston has recently posted a call for stand-ins whose form matches each of the leading actors.
In addition to Sandler, that will include original cast members Chris Rock, Kevin James, David Spade, Salma Hayek and Maria Bello. New to the company will be former Boston Celtic Shaquille O'Neal.
Whether all these Hollywood performers will be coming to Marblehead is another question.
The original "Grown Ups" also included specific scenes set at a Marblehead Neck home fashioned to resemble a property in Los Angeles. Faux palm trees were brought in, and a massive fake gate was erected, along with an entire wing to the house.
When the film company was done, all of those things disappeared as if by magic.
In the sequel, it's expected that Marblehead can be itself, playing the part of a New England town.
The 2009 production brought few grumbles from residents, Christensen said.
Sandler's friendly manner made him especially popular with people who came by to watch the film company in action. It's mainly when film companies clog traffic that the complaints come in, Christensen said.
Resident Alexander Falk's extensively renovated mansion on Atlantic Avenue at the Marblehead/Swampscott line caught the eye of production company scouts seeking a place for Sandler to live.
The problem is that Falk has barely lived in the home himself.
"They wanted to rent the house," he said with a chuckle. "I told them, 'I just built it. I just moved in.' I had to tell them no." Maybe when his kids are older — for "Grown Ups 3," he said.
During filming of the original "Grown Ups," Sandler and some of the other stars of the film leased property's on Gloucester Eastern Point, and Sandler was often spotted around Gloucester — including at the St. Peter's Fiesta that June.
Alan Burke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.