Original Artwork: Tom Miro
“Stepford Wives” to start filming Sept. 23
By Lisa Chamoff
July 30, 2003
NORWALK – In late September, Nicole Kidman, Matthew Broderick and other movie stars will start descending on the city for filming of the big-budget remake of “The Stepford Wives.”
Paramount Pictures is scheduled to begin shooting at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum on Sept. 23, and is expected to be there until the end of October. The museum will close Aug. 18 for preparation work on the mansion, a National Historic Landmark.
The movie will be directed by Frank Oz, and also will star Glenn Close, Christopher Walken and Bette Midler.
At a news conference yesterday, representatives from the museum, the Connecticut Historical Commission and the Connecticut Film Office outlined plans for the filming.
The movie could potentially bring $75,000 a day into the area, with the purchase of everything from hotel rooms and food to props, said Guy Ortoleva, executive director of the Connecticut Film Office.
About 100 cast and crew members will stay for 10 nights at hotels “in the area,” according to Mary Woods of the Coastal Fairfield Conventions and Visitors Bureau. “That can be from Greenwich to Bridgeport.”
Woods said her organization is not releasing the names of the hotels for confidentiality purposes, “and also to protect the hotels because they don’t want swarms of people scoping (them) out.”
Marjorie St. Aubyn, the museum’s executive director, said there would be little disruption to traffic in the area, since about 20 tractor-trailers being brought in by the crew will arrive before business hours.
“We will be a fairly self-contained unit during this time,” St. Aubyn said.
Parts of the original version of “The Stepford Wives” were filmed at the mansion in 1975. The mansion will be reprising its role as the Stepford Men’s Association, the club for men who replace their spouses with obedient cyborgs.
Paramount will bring in a crew to put down permanent carpeting in the mansion’s music and dining rooms, and on the rotunda staircase. The original wood floor of the rotunda, which is covered in red carpeting, will be restored and the panels from the rotunda’s skylight will have to be taken out individually and cleaned.
“That probably hasn’t been cleaned in 60 or 80 years,” said Paul Loether, acting director of the Connecticut Historical Commission.
Some walls will be repainted, and plaster molding near the main staircase will be repaired.
Loether said preparations for filming in these parts of the mansion are helping the restoration process.
“We see this as a way of really benefiting the building, not just using the building,” Loether said. “When Paramount leaves here . . . the building will be better for it.”
St. Aubyn said she hopes two marble sculptures that used to be displayed in the mansion’s entrance hallway in its heyday, and now sit at a private collector’s home in Pennsylvania, could be purchased by someone willing to donate them to the museum.
The sculptures, “Pocahontas” and “The Wept of Wish-ton-Wish,” would cost $250,000, and Paramount has agreed to pay to transport and insure them.
“We would like them in the entrance hallway for this movie,” she said. “Otherwise, what they’ll do is go out and find fake statues. We’d like to bring them home.”
Copyright © 2003, Southern Connecticut Newspapers, Inc.