It is not all that odd these days to see someone making a movie in Jamestown. But this week was a bit unusual because there were two different movies being created here on the island at the same time.
You can't miss the big budget Disney/Touchstone movie entourage. There are lots of signs pointing the way to "DIRL," which is short for "Dan in Real Life." The filming is taking place down the street from the Melrose Avenue School. A temporary trailer park has been created for the cast and crew in the parking lot of the Portuguese American Citizens Club.
Meanwhile, a shoestring budget documentary film crew had earlier this week taken over Ft. Getty. They were using the historic replica sloop Providence for shooting "American General." Actors in period colonial uniforms could be seen lounging on the wooden pier alongside the tall sailing ship. The anachronism in the scene was the hazy line of the Jamestown Bridge in the distance.
Yes, we've become somewhat immune to the movie cameras in Jamestown. This past summer Ft. Wetherill was the setting used by an independent movie maker. We all remember not all that long ago when the Farrelly brothers took over Narragansett Avenue and the village for "Me, Myself and Irene." They crashed a police car into the front of what is now the Conanicut Marine Ship's Store. East Ferry became a park with a fountain, and the kids went wild over actor Jim Carrey.
Before that Jamestown hosted dueling twelvemeter sailboats in the Dumplings for the movie "Wind." A film crew transformed a waterfront home with movie magic.
That same location, it is rumored, features the dock and blinking light made famous in the movie "The Great Gatsby."
Scenes for the recent television show "Providence" were filmed in Jamestown. Production crews for PBS and the History Channel have been here a few times. And over the years there have been other movie-makers and documentary crews that have filmed here.
There's no doubt that the Jamestown business community benefits from the local movie-making economics. And the Hollywood types certainly add zest to our sedate island life. Locals get hired as extras and you may occasionally recognize an actor or an actress at a local coffee shop.
Jamestown has become a regular Hollywood East. Maybe the Town Council should establish a Jamestown Film Commission to promote, assist and keep tabs on the movie making here.