Columbia Pictures wants to film part of an Adam Sandler comedy in Southborough, and they went before the Board of Selectmen last night to ask for permission. They didn’t get it, but they didn’t get rejected either.
In May the movie company wants to set up a 5-day shoot inside and outside Pilgrim Church. The scenes involve the characters coming back to their hometown to attend the funeral of their high school basketball coach. Four days of filming would be outside the church and one would be inside.
Logistic managers from Columbia Pictures explained that for the outside scenes, they want to lay sod to cover St. Mark’s Street between Pilgrim and the old burial ground. They would start setting up on May 11 with filming scheduled to happen May 18-22. The sod would be in place through Memorial Day weekend.
In total, St. Mark’s Street would be closed for about 2-1/2 weeks, with periodic closures of Common Street during filming. If the town agrees, Columbia Pictures would make a “donation” to the town in the amount of $10K. Pilgrim would get an additional location fee, but that amount was not disclosed.
The selectmen were hesitant to lend their approval, citing concerns about traffic flow at the busy Route 85/30 intersection and the potential impact on Main Street residents and businesses.
“I think it would be more disruptive for the town than you’re suggesting.” Selectwoman Bonnie Phaneuf said. “I consider the compensation extremely low given that it’s Columbia Pictures.”
The selectmen were also concerned about traffic. Location managers for Columbia Pictures said they anticipate about 100 cars for the crew and as many as fifteen 18-wheelers full of gear. They plan to approach St. Mark’s School, St. Mark’s Church, and Fay School about parking accommodations. While they expect the majority of parking would be on private land, they requested use of the back of the combined Pilgrim/Town House lot for the five days during the shoot.
Because the sod on St. Mark’s Street would be in place through Memorial Day, it could impact the annual Memorial Day parade which normally travels down St. Mark’s Street and into the old burial ground.
In the end, the selectmen asked for more information, particularly around traffic contingencies and parking plans, before they would render a decision.