By James Niedzinski and Joann Mackenzie
---- — ROCKPORT — The latest development at the site of the defunct Cape Ann Tool Company on Granite Street may not be what some might have hoped — it is the location for a new Home Box Office miniseries, “Olive Kitteridge.”
Crews began setting up this past week, and are expected to be filming along the North Shore the beginning of next week.
An open casting call in Gloucester weeks ago drew some 250 people, and casting director Billy Dowd, who is handling local non-union extras and bit part players, says anyone who couldn’t make it and is still interested may contact him by email at Billydowdcasting@gmail.com.
Applicants should include their name, contact information, a recent photo (face), age, height, weight, hair color, and any past acting experience. The production may also need people with cars, so anyone with a car might want to make note of it.
Dowd said that applicants will be contacted as production needs arise, any time between start of shooting Tuesday, Sept. 3, and production wrap in late November.
The miniseries will follow Frances McDormand (of “Fargo” Oscar fame) as the title character, Olive Kitteridge.
The HBO series, based on the Pulitzer Prize winning 2008 novel by Elizabeth Strout, is being co-produced by McDormand, Tom Hanks, and Hanks’ Playtone Partners’ partner, Gary Goetzman.
Mike Rauseo, the property owner and developer who hopes to turn the site of the defunct Cape Ann Tool Company into a mixed-used residential and business lot, said he does not know much about the movie project, other than that the property is rented for about three weeks.
He said he has not read the book himself, but “some of the people who work for me said the book is pretty good.”
He added that the continuing processes of building and demolition on the site, which has remained vacant since the 1980s, will start up whenever filming is finished.
“Olive Kitteridge” tells the story of a New England town full of illicit affairs, crime and tragedy.
While the story line is no reflection on Rockport, movies and television shows have found themselves drawn to Pigeon Cove Harbor before.
Peter Webber, senior vice president of the Cape Ann Chamber Of Commerce, said while he does not know the details of the production’s workings either, but recalled when “The Proposal” was shot in Rockport.
He said shooting a movie, television show or commercial does have a positive financial impact on communities.
This is because cast and crew members visit shops and restaurants in the area, and the town’s appearances on screen also get the word out about Cape Ann.
“The visibility on the screen for our area is a great boost,” he said, recalling actor Sandra Bullock mentioning Rockport on a talk show when “The Proposal” was released.
Harder to measure is the money spent on production, location shooting, set design and materials, Webber said.
“We welcome HBO and Playtone to Massachusetts” said Lisa Strout, director of the state Film Office, in a prepared statement. “(We) are so pleased to host such a prestigious project with such extraordinary talent.”
The production has hired and cast locally, and is utilizing Massachusetts-based businesses and services. The series will also star actor Richard Jenkins.
James Niedzinski and Joann Mackenzie can be reached at 978-283-7000, or firstname.lastname@example.org and jomackenzie@gloucestertimes, respectively.