Stepford Is Filming Here, Just Don’t Tell The Wives

Stepford Is Filming Here, Just Don’t Tell The Wives
The Hartford Courant
Patricia Seremet
July 18, 2003

So, when are those wacky Stepford Wives automatons coming to Connecticut? The word from Hollywood, m’dears, is they’re already here.

“Principal photography is underway,” is the cryptic way that Paramount Pictures describes, in a press release, the production presence of the “Stepford Wives” remake.

The first “Stepford Wives” (1975) was also filmed here, so the state is girding itself for the return. But where, pray do tell, are they?

“Principal photography underway” means that “we are starting to move around, but quietly,” says Paramount publicist Marsha Robertson, sworn to secrecy for fear she might be turned into a Stepford Wife herself.

The production company is ever so circumspect about where it will be shooting. Most filming will be done inside private homes in New Canaan and Norwalk. That’s where the Stepford men plot how they can re-engineer their women into walking, talking, ever-so husband-pleasing, meal-making robots.

Aha, but there is a big scene from the first movie where the Stepford Men’s Club meets and plots. It took place in the magnificent Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum in Norwalk.

And again, starting Aug. 18, filming will begin in that same mansion.

“We’re the only site from the original movie being revisited,” said Marjorie St. Aubyn, executive director of the museum, who is thrilled to have the likes of Christopher Walken and Matthew Broderick rattling around in her Victorian Renaissance revival mansion.

“It’s a wonderful thing to happen for Norwalk,” she said.

Paramount not only is paying $70,000 to rent the museum, but it’s paying “a significant amount” to restore the rotunda floor, lay the carpet and restore the paint.

“It’s like a `This Old House,'” she said. “Except it’s this most incredible castle.”

Until Aug. 18 when the actors from Paramount arrive and begin their conniving against Nicole Kidman and Bette Midler, the museum is open.

Having such a boffo movie coming to Connecticut is keeping Guy Ortoleva, head of the Connecticut Film Office, busy behind the scenes, also sworn to secrecy lest he be turned into the first Stepford Husband.

“We’re working in the background with lots of logistical details,” he said. “If everything goes smoothly and no one hears about it, we’re heroes.”

Ortoleva is working with Stepford producer Scott Rudin on getting another movie of his, a remake of “The Manchurian Candidate,” filmed here. He’s also scouting state locations for Fox 2000 Pictures for a movie to star Robert De Niro.

Just keep your pie hole shut.

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