ROCKPORT — Earlier this year, Hollywood transformed Rockport into the picturesque fishing town of Sitka, Alaska.
Now, another Tinseltown crew has struck a deal to film here. Only this time, Rockport — specifically Cape Hedge Beach — will appear on the big screen as itself. And on center stage for the drama "Edge of Darkness" when it films here will be Mel Gibson.
Filming is set to take place on Cape Hedge Beach on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 25 and 26. According to Town Administrator Michael Racicot. The scene is said to feature Gibson's character returning to Cape Hedge Beach, his daughter's favorite childhood place, to scatter his daughter's ashes into the sea.
According to a plot outline on the Internet Movie Data Base Web site, Gibson plays Boston homicide detective Thomas Craven, who while investigating the death of his activist daughter, uncovers not only her secret life, but a corporate cover-up and government collusion that attracts a CIA agent (Robert DeNiro) tasked with cleaning up the evidence.
DeNiro will not take part in the Rockport shoot, Racicot said.
Selectmen voted unanimously last week to approve a location agreement with a film crew requesting to shoot scenes for "Edge of Darkness."
A representative from the crew met with the Conservation Commission, harbormasters and Police Department in preparation for requesting the location agreement. The crew will only need use of the nearby parking lot and a section of the beach, Racicot said. No structures will be built on the beach, he said.
As part of the location agreement, the production company, which was not identified, agreed to donate $2,000 toward Rockport's yet-to-be-constructed animal shelter.
Prior to this year, it had been five years since Rockport's rugged coastline or quaint downtown shops had served as a backdrop for a major Hollywood production.
Before the Walt Disney production "The Proposal," filmed on Bearskin Neck back in April, the last film shot in Rockport had been scenes for 2003's "Stuck on You," which starred Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear. Rockport received $5,000 from 20th Century Fox to film "Stuck on You;" selectmen used the money to renovate Boy Scout Hall.
Filming for "Edge of Darkness" began in the South Boston neighborhood last week. The movie is slated for a 2009 release.
Jonathan L'Ecuyer can be reached at email@example.com.