Hollywood shoot livens up Lake Ave

By Alex Gershanov
Published: April 2010

Adding a little excitement to the quiet life of Newton residents, film crews produced a Hollywood set out of a vacant Queen Anne Victorian style house on Lake Avenue.

Film and production crews were on site for the filming of the TV show Quinn-Tuplets from March 23 to April 6.

For the entire two weeks of its production, the house was a hub of activity. Over 100 men and women worked on the set and the filming process.

Police officers and security guards, redirecting traffic and keeping the outside noise level down during filming, were present around the clock. Production trucks and vans lined the streets; large machinery, including powerful lights, surrounded the house.

Quinn-Tuplets, a drama based on an Israeli show, follows the story of five siblings reuniting after the death of their mother. The juvenile Quinns, the first test tube babies to be conceived in the late 70′s, agreed to the shooting of a documentary film of their lives.

As they grew up, however, the Quinns became irritated by the ongoing documentary and eventually went their separate ways. The show picks up 25 years later after their mother is diagnosed with terminal cancer and portrays the Quinns’ efforts to reunite their family.

Quinn-Tuplets stars actors including Kenneth Mitchell and Amber Tamblyn, who played the role of Tibby in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

The house, built in 1890, is currently on sale by owner Mark Cannon. Among the many selling points of the house is the story that Aerosmith made a short stay there, during which they wrote the album Toys in the Attic.

The film crew paid Cannon $42,000 to rent the house for two weeks.

Before production began, Community Liaison Ryan Cook spoke to each resident in the neighborhood and informed them of the scheduled filming.

Although the constant commotion of trucks around the set and the bright lights used to recreate daylight during filming proved to be a formidable distraction, residents were generally pleased with Cook’s courtesy and the rest of the production.

“Cook put up bulletins ahead of time which conveyed comfort [to the neighbors], one resident, who lived in the adjacent house since 1937, said. “That guy made it easy.

Some neighbors were disturbed by the constant movement of trucks and machinery. To make up for the noise, Cook let a neighbors’ daughter, freshman Gabi Kaufman, watch the filming and meet Tamblyn between shoots.

“She was so nice and funny, Kaufman said. “She was more than happy to take pictures with us.

Kaufman’s sister explained that she developed more respect for the filming process after seeing Quinn-tuplets being produced. She recalled watching a short segment of the episode be reshot many times until it was perfect.

“Watching TV now, I see that a five second clip could have taken 30 minutes to shoot, she said. “Set up takes a really long time.

The actors and actresses did not get to see much of Newton during their short stay, though. Based at the Korean Church in Newton Highlands, the actors and crew were transported from doorstep to doorstep by production vans, seldom experiencing the city on their own.

The producers discovered the Cannon’s house through a realtor acquaintance, and chose it out of several potential candidates they were viewing in cities such as Winchester and Watertown.

Attracted by the Massachusetts tax credits for movie productions, Quinn-tuplets pumped a significant amount of money into the Newton economy.

“It’s a good price, Cook said, “Enough to make a significant impact; enough for the Mayor to sign off on it.

One production assistant estimated that the whole production was likely costing over $500,000, perhaps even reaching one million dollars.

Cook explained that the Massachusetts tax credit for filming is beneficial for both the movie producers and the state because filming provides an economic boost to the state.

“We rented out a church for food and parking lots, [as well as employing] the police department and the fire department, he said. “Ninety percent of the crew is local.

Filming for Quinn-tuplets did not take place solely in Newton, however, with at least part of the episode being shot in Lowell.

The show is directed by Mirium Leder, written by Mike Kelly, and is a CBS production. CBS will view the pilot episode in the coming months and decide whether or not they want to go through with the series.

Regardless of their decision, Quinn-tuplets brought an air of excitement to Newton that the city had not experienced since the shooting of The Next Karate Kid back in 1993.

At the end of the production, Kaufman and her sisters were excited that they got the opportunity to see Hollywood in action.

“We were fortunate, she said. “It’s something a lot of people don’t get to experience.

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