Newport Daily News 07/08/2014

Woody Allen in Newport to film Rhode Island-based movie

By Sean Flynn
Staff writer


Woody Allen began filming his next film on Monday at the Fastnet Pub on Broadway and then moved over to the Jane Pickens Theater for additional scenes.

Broadway was shut down periodically when the cameras began to roll, but quickly re-opened when members of the production crew yelled,”Cut!”

Allen walked outside Fastnet a few times to talk to the crew, but was keeping a lid on his upcoming schedule for the film shoots. The title of the new film also has not been released yet.

Steven Feinberg, executive director of the state’s Film & TV Office, was outside Fastnet and said he was pleased with the way things were going.

“Woody Allen will be shooting the film entirely in Rhode Island until the end of August,” he said.

Feinberg said he could not reveal any of the storyline at the producer’s request, but was pleased film scenes were being shot in Newport and later around the state, including in Providence.

“This film will be a Rhode Island postcard for a global audience, and we will shine as a result,” he said.

Feinberg said he could not talk about other possible film locations.

“It’s fluid until they make a final decision,” he said.

As Feinberg was talking, actress Parker Posey walked into the Fastnet. She has had supporting roles in several big-budget studio films, including”Superman Returns,” in which she played Kitty Kowalski, Lex Luthor's ditzy sidekick. Her many other films include”You've Got Mail,” “Josie and the Pussycats,” and”Laws of Attraction.”

She became known during the 1990s after a series of roles in independent films that gained her the nickname “Queen of the Indies.”

The stars of the new film are Emma Stone and Joaquin Phoenix.

Stone also co-stars in Allen’s new comedy,”Magic in the Moonlight,” which opens at the Jane Pickens Theater and other locations around the country on Aug. 15. Colin Firth is her co-star in that film, which was filmed in France.

“It's very exciting,” Kathy Staab, owner of the Jane Pickens, said Monday afternoon as the film crew was setting up outside the theater.

“Jane Pickens is having an international film debut as a set,” she said.”We’re proud to be part of it and we can’t wait to have Magic in the Moonlight‚ open here. It’s all coming together.”

Among the fans outside the Fastnet on Monday afternoon were Lisa and Lee Collier from Atlanta.

“It’s cool and very exciting,” Lisa Collier said.”It takes a lot to excite us, but we’re huge Woody Allen fans. We love him.”

Dave Daniels of Newport was among the spectators who occasionally shot photos with their cellphones of the film crew at work.

“No photos please,” said a member of the production crew.

“That’s the picture patrol,” Daniels said.” They are being fussy about taking photos. It doesn’t make any sense. I would think they are used to this sort of thing. Every one has a cellphone these days.”

Erin Mulligan, the city’s purchasing agent, was also on the set. She handles film permits for the city.

“Newport’s a wonderful destination for so many people,” she said.”Having a film like this here adds an extra buzz that makes it even more exciting.”

“It was a team effort to get the film here,” she said, referring to the city, Discover Newport (the regional visitors and convention bureau), and the state film office.

Feinberg said he is pleased with the number of films and television programs that Rhode Island has attracted in recent years, including”Moonrise Kingdom,"Dan in Real Life” and ”Evening,” all of which shot scenes in Newport.

“I worked like a pit bull to get this,” Feinberg said of the Woody Allen film.

He said other states were hoping to attract the film as well, and initial locations in this state did not work out.

“But finally, we found a few other anchor locations that Woody really liked,” Feinberg said.”The locations were open to filming so it was a win win. Once we secured those locations, the rest fell into place.

“Now we have a Woody Allen film - pretty darn cool.”

Other films and television shows will be shooting soon in this state, he said.

The film ”Bleed for This” will be shot in Rhode Island in November and will tell the Vinnie Paz story, Feinberg said. Vincenzo Pazienza was born in Cranston and is a former world boxing champion in both the lightweight and light middleweight classes. He boxed under the nickname of”The Pazmanian Devil.”

This film will be a Rhode Island postcard for a global audience, and we will shine as a result.‚ STEVEN FEINBERG executive director of the state Film&TV Office