On Location: Hollywood Films in Lawrence

While the red carpet is being rolled out for the Oscars this weekend, we’re shining the spotlight on Lawrence, the location of some pretty big blockbuster films. 

The most recent movie to use these city streets as the backdrop is Proud Mary. Starring Taraji P. Henson (you know her from Empireand Hidden Figures!) the story centers around the character of Mary, a hit woman working for an organized crime family in Boston based on a novel of the same name written by Dorchester native, Dennis Lehane. Pivotal plot points were filmed at 60 Island Street with silver screen elite like Danny Glover as well as local actors vying for screen time as extras. Go behind the scenes with this story from the Eagle Tribune.

From the dramatic to the comedic, a place where people used to go to watch movies became the set for a major motion picture. Daddy’s Home 2 featuring Will Ferrell used the old Showcase Cinemas off of Route 114 to shoot a scene or two. Local actors playing extras mixed with the film’s stars John Lithgow, Mel Gibson and Mark Wahlberg who were all on set right here in Lawrence. Check out this news story from NBC Boston.

The recent resurgence of Lawrence as a Hollywood hub started back in 2015 when Ben Affleck chose the city as the location for his film, Live by Night. The A-list cast and more than 100 extras all in two-tone oxford outfits set the tone for big-screen portraits of iconic images like Essex and Canal streets, the Everett and Stone mills, the courthouse, the North Canal and Bellevue Cemetery. Get the details from the locals who were there in this article from Newburyport News. 

But it might have been Mill Street that started it all when it was transformed into a post-apocalyptic disaster of exploded cars and piles of trash for Surrogates. Filming took place for only one day but this futuristic setting served as a big cinematic moment, the entrance to a commune for people who think robots have taken over their society. And as The Eagle Tribune reports, the producers felt that the mills gave the scene a really interesting look. The city felt the energy and excitement as Canal Street was crawling with extras, camera operators and prop people as they filmed the Mill Street wasteland and bridge leading to the Washington Mills. 

And if you’re wondering, Riverwalk hasn’t made the Oscars yet, but it has been featured as the ultimate location for Boston Film Family, one of the leading true indie film companies specializing in horror and grind-house narratives.  

So, before you see the celebs walk the red carpet, admire the gowns and listen to the acceptance speeches on Sunday, why not watch one of these films featuring the city of Lawrence. Just be sure to look for your favorite locations as you enjoy the show.