Sunday, January 4, 2009

Bunker Hill takes of Item Newsroom

Here is an article from Item Live about the Bunker Hill filming. Thanks to Bertha for the update.

TV stars, crew take over Item newsroom to film TNT's 'Bunker Hill' pilot show

By Robin Kaminski / The Daily Item

In a Hollywood minute, or over the course of about 12 hours, The Daily Item was transformed into a Boston Police Department Thursday for the set of the new TNT drama "Bunker Hill" starring Donnie Wahlberg and Bridget Moynahan.

A hubbub of activity has swirled around The Item Building since Wednesday morning complete with celebrities, set directors, cameramen, stand-ins and a slew of other people as the newsroom and other rooms were altered to look like a police department set in the Charlestown section of Boston.

Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, the pilot is centered on Wahlberg's character, Mike Moriarty, a Boston cop whose brother was shot in the line of duty.

Wahlberg's character reportedly comes back to Boston after serving a tour of duty in Afghanistan, one year after his brother was killed, to take his place on the force as a cop in Charlestown.
Associate producer Mark Hankey said one of the scenes filmed Thursday would be of Wahlberg's character meeting homicide detectives for the first time, and the other would be in the midst of an investigation.

Actress Jennifer Ferrin, who is playing the part of a district attorney, and Tony Curran will also be in the scenes.

Thursday's grueling 12-hour filming focused on Wahlberg's character searching through a police database and building a case against the main suspect for his first case.

Hesitant to divulge the exact details of the show, Hankey said the pilot is loosely based on the story of Charles Stuart, the Boston man who murdered his pregnant wife and inflamed racial tension by blaming a non-existent black suspect in 1989.

"There is a woman that is murdered on a bridge," he said. "But that's all I can say, I can't give it all away!"

Production designer Tracy Gallacher said The Item stood out amongst a number of architecturally suitable buildings fit for a Hollywood set.

"We were looking for an older, more grungy type of building, and we heard that Lynn was a very film-friendly city," she said. "So we sent a few scouts here and found a lot of great stuff in Lynn."

Throughout the newsroom, maps and photos of Lynn have been replaced with maps of Charlestown, and mug shots now line the walls where Item accolades hung for decades.

"All of the crew members had a lot of fun taking the fake mug shots," Gallacher quipped.

The vintage Item building did prove a brief liability during the 6 p.m. hour as the extra electrical burden of the filmmakers' equipment set off two separate fire alarms in the second-floor newsroom, halting filming.

The cast and crew, as well as Item staffers, were forced out on to the street. The Lynn fire department responded and electrical alterations by the film crew soon had the production back up and running.

Peter Berkrot, a stand-in for the pilot, who has appeared in Brotherhood, Caddyshack, and numerous other television and radio shows, said the shift at The Item has been far more luxurious than last week's icy cold filming on the Tobin Bridge.

"You have to be on set at all times and in earshot if they need you," he whispered in between takes. "On Sunday I worked from 8 a.m. to sundown and the wind was whipping. But you know, I had the hand warmers and the toe warmers."

Strikingly similar in appearance to Al Pacino, Berkrot said he has been in the business for over 30 years and worked with countless celebrities.

"Stand-ins can make $150 for eight hours, but more often that that, we're here longer than that," he said. "When you're a stand-in, you have to be able to jump right in and then get out of the way really fast."

Prior to filming at The Item, Gallacher said the crew shot scenes around Charlestown, including Pleasant Street and 40 steps, an area where Moynahan's character is supposed to live.

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