The news that crews with Playtone Productions will begin parts of the upcoming HBO miniseries “Olive Kitteredge” on the grounds of Rockport’s former Cape Ann Tool Company, as reported in Saturday’s Times, is sure to generate excitement there this week.
Anytime a film crew comes to Cape Ann, there is a curiosity factor to see what’s going on. And then there’s the chance to bump into the likes of Sandra Bullock and Adam Sandler, who were seen frequently around Gloucester and Cape Ann during their work here in “The Proposal” and “Grown Ups,” respectively in 2008 and 2009.
But, as Saturday’s story noted, the presence of film crews – and it’s been a growing presence in recent years — provides more for local residents and businesses than the chance to do a little star-gazing. The town of Essex and its business community raked in an estimated $1 million or more from the three-month filming of “Grown Ups” at Centennial Grove and elsewhere. And as Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce Vice President Peter Webber noted, the screen “visibility” can also provide a great boost for local communities — even if the host town isn’t really part of the series or film.
While Rockport essentially stood in for Sitka, Alaska, in “The Proposal,” and while Gloucester and Rockport are expected to serve as a fictional Maine town in “Olive...,” Webber recalled that Bullock cited Rockport on a talk show when “The Proposal” was released, spurring more visitor interest.
No one should expect “Olive Kitteredge” to spur “Grown Ups” revenues for Rockport or anywhere else. Michael Rauseo, who owns and is revitalizing the former Tool Company, said Playtone has leased his property for about three weeks, not three months.
But a visiting film company’s presence once again means much more than star searches and autographs. It’s another good step for our creative economy — and that’s always good news.