UPDATED, Oct. 21: You never know where a local connection to a broader story might arise. Last fall, just after the farmers' market had closed for the year, trailers crowded the Russell Common lot.
Women dressed as if it were just after World War I donned makeup. Tight-lipped roadies allowed only that a film was in the works. Town Hall folks weren't talking.
Now it can be revealed: For two of the five-plus days they were in town, a company used Town Hall and the Masonic Temple to shoot scenes for "Professor Marston & the Wonder Women."
The film about a Harvard-educated psychologist with an intriguing life as an inventor and comic-book creator opens nationwide on Friday, Oct. 13, including theaters in Arlington (Capitol), Kendall Square, Cambridge; Somerville, Woburn and Burlington.
Pointing the way to including local landmarks in the film was Mike Bowes of Cambridge, at right, the line producer for the film. He is the son of Bob Bowes, who heads the well-known real-state company that bears his name.
Enthused about town sites
In a telephone interview Oct. 10, Bowes called the Masonic Temple "a special place," "fantastic" and "just what we needed" for the film whose period ranges from the 1920s to '40s. Built in 1923, the structure rises above Academy Street with fine period woodwork, a terrazzo floor and antique furnishings. See its rooms here >>
While at the temple, he crossed Academy and peaked in at Town Hall Auditorium and was "blown away." He found what he calls the "theater space" just right for scenes in "Professor Marston." Town Meeting members who may have long gazed at the Beethoven image above the stage likely have imagined a theater more geared to politics than the arts.
Watch this trailer for "Professor Marston," and you can see the scene set in the auditorium at 1:13 >> Town Hall, built in 1913, provides the backdrop for a recreated event that took place not all that long after.
Recommended to the film-production company in Los Angeles by a New Hampshire pal, Mike Bowes had a say about locations. He knew the two in Arlington after scouting locations for a documentary here four or five years ago.
Bowes, who grew up in Lexington, has been working in the film industry since 1999. He graduated from UMass/Amherst with a degree in communications.
As the line producer, he deals with the physical aspects of the production and makes it work: hiring crew, dealing with the location and equipment.
Part of his job is to maintain relationship with local officials, explaining what a movie crew is up to. In Arlington, that meant Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine and Patsy Kraemer, who handles Town Hall-related issues.
He said he appreciated their straightforward way of dealing.
'Wonder Woman' effect
The narrative feature film is directed by Angela Robinson and stars Luke Evans ("Girl on the Train," 2016), Rebecca Hall, Bella Heathcote, Connie Britton and Oliver Platt. It cost between $3 million and $5 million to produce.
It attracted national distribution, in part, because of the "Wonder Woman" effect. The success of that 2017 film about the Amazonian cartoon character has give it traction, Bowes said.
Apart from Arlington, "Professor Marston & the Wonder Women" was shot in Canton, Lowell, Milton, Norton, Tewksbury and Waltham.
What's coming up for Bowes? Next spring, he expects to use Masonic temple again in a documentary about American cross-continental flight. Behind the film is producer Stephen Lyons of Arlington.
"I hope Arlington becomes a location for more films," he said.
Which leads to the question: What others movies were shot here?
Beyond "This Old House," 2016 and 2013, a Channel 2 TV series, the Mass. Film Office lists these:
-- 1998: "The Out of Towners," aerial views of car driving; and
-- 1990: "Once Around," Mystic Valley Parkway.
Open house, scenes from film
The Mystic Valley Lodge A.F. & A.M. has scheduled its annual open house for Saturday, Oct. 21, from 9 to 3, on Academy Street. Here are where some scenes at the temple were shot >>
Boston Globe, Oct. 6, 2017: 'Professor Marston' reveals what wasn't in 'Wonder Woman'
Wikipedia: "Professor Marston and the Wonder Women"
Wikipedia: William Moulton Marston
This news summary was published Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, and updated Oct. 12, to add Capitol showing, open house and link to shots, and again Oct. 18, to highlight open house.
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