Is Hollywood In The Stars For Madison?
The Hartford Courant
By NANCY BASTIAN
July 17 2003
MADISON — Antiques shows, concerts, and flag football games might not be the only activities taking place on the Green this September. The First Congregational Church, which owns the Green, has been approached by a company filming a remake of the 1975 science fiction thriller The Stepford Wives. The company is seeking permission to possibly shoot a scene on the Green as well as on the church’s front steps.
Church officials said last week that the church received a letter around June 23 from an Astoria, New York-based company connected with the film’s distributor, Paramount Pictures, expressing interest in the site as a potential filming location.
Church Secrretray Nancy Cash said that the church was told that Madison is one of two or three localities the company is considering.
Because everything is speculative, church staffers kept the news quiet and acknowledged that most members learned of the request when it broke last week in a regional newspaper.
“The request came out of the blue,” said Church Council Chair Ed Miller. “We were totally surprised.”
He said that at a July 1 meeting of the church’s diaconate and at a July 8 Church Council meeting, “The request was discussed and approved to consider.”
Miller added that the church has named a committee that will negotiate details should the production company wish to proceed.
“However, right now [July 10] we haven’t heard back from them,” said Miller.
He believes the company was looking to film sometime during the week of Sept. 22, should an agreement be reached. It is unclear if a star will be in the proposed scenes.
Academy-award winning actress Nicole Kidman is slated to play the lead Role of Joanna Eberhart. The cast includes other superstars, among them Glenn Close, Bette Midler, Christopher Walken, and Faith Hill. Matthew Broderick is being considered for the role of Kidman’s husband, Walter Eberhart.
Based on the a novel by Ira Levin, The Stepford Wives follows the fictional story of Joanna Eberhart who leaves New York with her husband only to discover that the women in her new community of Stepford, Connecticut, are mysteriously becoming brainless servants dedicated only to housework and their husbands.
The original film starred Katharine Ross as Joanna Eberhart and was filmed in coastal Fairfield County.
According to Guy Ortoleva, executive director of the Connecticut Film Video and Media Office in Rocky Hill, one location already selected in Connecticut for the remake is the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion in Norwalk, which served as the “Stepford Men’s Club” in the original movie.
Even if Madison isn’t selected as a site for shooting for the Kidman flick, residents can take heart that scenes from the 2001 romantic comedy Happy Accidents starring Oscar-winner Marisa Tomei was filmed off Neck Road. Directing the 1993 Best Supporting Actress was Madison’s Brad Anderson.
Ortoleva explained that Connecticut has a thriving film and media industry that generates some $3 billion dollars a year. As a Division of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, his office acts a liaison between the film industry and communities that serve as shooting locations.
“Each day a film crew stays in Connecticut, it has the potential of generating business for the local community since cast and crews need hotels [and] food,” said Ortoleva.
For most residents, the mere thought of having a major motion picture filmed in Madison is a cause for pride. As Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Eileen Speed expressed, “Look at Madison. It’s such a pretty place; it would be fun to see it on the big screen.”
The film is due out next year.
Copyright © 2003, Madison Source