It’s A Wrap!

‘Wives’ wraps up shooting
Hour Staff Writer

BaltoBoy Bette Scans 048.jpg

Scan: BaltoBoy Steve
Bette is thinking “FINALLY!”

NORWALK — After eight weeks of being used as the set for the climactic scene in “The Stepford Wives,” the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum reopened its doors to the public on Monday “This is the first time that anyone has seen a set from ‘The Stepford Wives,'” said Marjorie St. Aubyn, executive director of the museum.

Paramount Pictures and director Frank Oz used about three or four areas of the mansion in the scenes for the film and spent several weeks this fall restoring those areas to appear as they had in the late 1800s.

The museum, which “played the role” of the Stepford Men’s Association, a secret club for the husbands of Stepford, a small wealthy Connecticut town where the wives are a little too perfect, was until two weeks ago, filled with actors working on two scenes for the motion picture.

According to Suzanne LaTulipe, director of programming at the museum, stars such as Bette Midler, Nicole Kidman, Matthew Broderick, Christopher Walken and Jon Lovitz filmed scenes at the mansion.

“We lied with these folks for eight weeks or more,” said LaTulipe of Paramount.
Before filming, the mansion was filled with workmen.

The house’s central rotunda has been restored to the shade of red that it was painted when the Mathews family lived there, the woodwork on the floor and stairwell was refinished, four large reproductions of paintings in the style of the Hudson River School have been hung on the rotunda walls, new curtains have been placed in some of the rooms on the ground floor, reproductions of glasswork from the time period were put in the foyer and several areas in the mansion were re-carpeted.

“They really did a lot of work,” said Joe Pissero, chairman of the Lockwood-Mansion board of directors.

However, what the Lockwood-Matthews board considers to be the pinnacle of Paramount’s restoration of the mansion, is the return of two marble statues that originally stood in the foyer of the mansion, but were auctioned off 131 years ago, after the death of the house’s original owner, LeGrand Lockwood.
The two statues — Pocohontas, a Native American girl who married a white man and the Wept of Wish-Ton-Wish, a fictional white girl who was raised by Native Americans — were reacquired with the help of Paramount Pictures from the current owner, Frances Purcell of Scranton, Pa. “(Purcell) stood here in the middle of this (foyer) and was brought to tears,” said St. Aubyn. “He said, ‘They’re home.'” The museum will now have to raise $185,000 to keep the statues in the museum.

“Norwalk has gotten an extra Christmas present from Paramount,” said Norwalk Mayor Alex Knopp, who cut the ribbon at the reopening. “The expense of this enormous project could have never been funded by a municipal (budget).”

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