Welcome to Stepford
By Asante Green
October 9, 2003
New Canaan is home to housewives, working wives and yesterday it was dominated by Stepford Wives.
Main Street of this quaint suburban town that bills itself as “The Next Station to Heaven,” was transformed for filming of “The Stepford Wives” redux that has captured the attention of celebrity star gazers and aspiring actors throughout the area.
“It’s exciting that New Canaan is receiving so much attention,” said Virginia Kaczmarek, who works at a nearby shop. “One of the cast members said they were supposed to look like Barbie, they’re all certainly playing the part.”
The movie, originally filmed in Connecticut, is a remake of the 1975 original about men from the fictional town of Stepford, Conn., who replace their wives with obedient cyborgs.
Warm temperatures provided the right atmosphere for the scene of a political rally on the steps of New Canaan’s stately town hall, which, like other downtown buildings and landmarks, assumed the fictional Stepford pseudonym. The town hall and offices of New Canaan were changed to the town hall and offices of Stepford and across the street was Stepford National Bank.
“You can’t stop Stepford! You can’t stop Stepford!” shouted nearly 200 actresses donned in soft pink, powder blue or canary yellow sun dresses sitting next to about 150 actors playing their “average” husbands also dressed in bright pastel shirts and khakis.
The remake will star Nicole Kidman, Bette Midler, Matthew Broderick, Christopher Walken and Faith Hill. Many of the extras involved in yesterday’s shooting were cast during an open call at Norwalk’s Lockwood-Mathews Mansion last month.
Stamford native, Barbara “Anthony” Wells, who stands about 5 feet 9 inches tall, with blond hair and blue eyes, said she was encouraged by her family to go to the open casting call. During a brief break in filming yesterday, Wells, who plays a Stepford wife appearing in the political scene, said she was excited to be in the film.
“Honestly, my family said that I fit the part. That’s why I’m here today,” Wells said. “It’s been really fun so far.”
Though security and New Canaan Police officers escorted onlookers away from the set, many hoped to catch a glimpse of the movie’s stars, who all appear in the political rally scene.
“I’ve been out here for a couple of hours and have not seen anyone,” said one New Canaan resident who refused to give her name. “You’d think you’d see at least one of them.”
Many of the actors and actresses stood chatting or getting their picture taken in front of Main Street stores waiting for filming to begin. Christopher Hardwick, a professional actor, passed the time while reading a book. Hardwick has been a background actor appearing in several scenes for the past three months.
“We are often left on hold because of changes in the weather, scheduling conflicts, so I always make sure to carry reading material that fits in my pocket,” he said.
Hardwick, who wore a pink shirt, matching belt, khakis and blue sneakers, said the clothing in the movie is very bright.
“I don’t mind at all wearing these colors,” he said. “They are Stepford colors, bright and fantasy-like, but it’s been difficult wearing summer clothes in the cool fall, especially in the morning.”
Christine Milano thought she’d be one of the tallest women standing 5 feet 10 inches. The Ridgefield resident, who plays a Stepford wife, was surprised to see women over 6 feet. “It’s like dozens of Barbie dolls all walking around,” said Milano, who was wearing a white sun dress with pink flowers on it. “I didn’t realize there were so many tall women.”
Milano said she was encouraged by her sister to try out.
“This whole experience has been incredible,” she said. “The movie is very different than its original; this will be pretty funny,” she said.