Traffic this week has routinely inched along Route 138 near the Easton border. Cars slow to a crawl at times, allowing people’s eyes to scan the cranes, demolished cars and cameras hanging around Raynham Park, perhaps hoping to see an explosion or – better yet – a movie star. if they don’t, it’s a good bet they won’t wait long for their next chance. While the state’s film-friendly tax credits have served as the honey for Hollywood’s bees, southeastern Massachusetts has often provided the hives for blockbuster films with what experts called an attractive mix of open space, small towns and industrial areas. since the tax credits were signed into law in 2005 – and expanded upon two years later – the area has provided locations for notable films like “Shutter Island” and “Surrogates” in Taunton, “Knight and Day” in Bridgewater, and “I hate You, Dad” in Brockton. The latest is one of, if not the biggest in terms of budget. “R.I.P.D.”, starring Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges as undead police officers in the Rest in Peace Department, started shooting action scenes last Monday in Raynham and is scheduled to return this week – at times, a publicist with the studio said, with members of the cast. LOCATION FITS THE BILL Raynham Park fulfilled what publicist Carol McConnaughey called “logistical needs for several key scenes” for the supernatural comic-book adaptation. a large, open parking lot at the former dog track has served as home to a makeshift tunnel and three-story-high green screens while the park itself has provided a place for lunch and caterers. it follows a trend locally that at the very least has sparked excitement for movie fans, and local officials say, helps infuse businesses, police and fire with extra income. “The state has everything of what you can’t get in the Midwest,” said mark Carey, commissioner of the Quincy Film Bureau. “we have the Cape Cod feel. we have the urban feel. we have open space. we have seasons, things that you can’t pre-make. “When they have a good experience and they have a bunch of movies lined up ready to be made, they’ll come here.” Experts say southeastern Massachusetts has provided a larger draw outside of Boston because unlike the North Shore, there’s ample open space and unlike Cape Cod and Rhode Island, it’s closer to the city. It’s helped spark eight local offices around the state dedicated to working with the Massachusetts Film Office in attracting filmmakers – five of which are located south of Boston. in Quincy, where Carey started one of the state’s first local branches at little to no cost, the city has benefited in attracting the small-time commercials that will pay $5,000 to use a room to blockbusters like “The Departed” that will pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to use space for a month. if the movie doesn’t fit in the city, Carey often recommends filmmakers look elsewhere in the area. For example, when location managers for the Tom Cruise movie “Knight and Day” were searching for open space to film a plane crash in 2009, Carey said he recommended they look farther south. an open field in Bridgewater served as home to a 200-foot firebomb during filming. “It’s the palette” of options that draws filmmakers, said Denis Hanks, executive director of F.a.M.E., the Plymouth-based initiative that promotes filming in nine communities in the area. “When they go outside of Boston, they can find the quaint little village,” he said. “and then they drive a couple miles, they can find the industrial buildings like they did for ‘Shutter Island.’” BUILDING a NETWORK But in landing movie sets, area promoters do as much promoting of themselves and their areas as they do in directing movies to the right locations. in an effort to create more local offices, Lisa Strout, director of Massachusetts Film Office, said there are plans for five seminars, including in Boston and Hyannis, aimed at educating local officials on how to promote their areas for films. It’s part of an effort to create a “state-wide film liaison network,” she said. “What I’ve seen in the past, as you get more activity and there’s a comfort level when working in that jurisdiction, it becomes, ‘What’s out there? Let’s check this out,’” Strout said.
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