Roger Moore writes in his Orlando Sentinel movie blog: “Frankly My Dear” that:
“If you go, hit the Bunker Hill monument first.”
Ben Affleck is talking about home — Boston.
“There are bars — I’m not naming names — down on the main strip, where guys have been known to get stabbed. And the projects are on the other side.”
He’s not talking about the Boston of Paul Revere, Old Ironsides and the Red Sox. Affleck is relating the sights in that part of Beantown — just a mile and a half from where he grew up — where he has filmed two movies. The rough “brown bag” as Affleck calls it neighborhood of Charlestown was the setting for “Gone Baby Gone” and Affleck’s second film as director, “The Town,” which opens Friday.
“The Town is a weird place to be a tourist. Unless maybe you’re a crime tourist. Aside from that,” Affleck chuckles, “it don’t take long to drive around Charlestown.”
As “The Town” (based on a Chuck Hogan cq novel “Prince of Thieves” points out, Charlestown is known for its bank and armored-car robbers, where the profession is passed down father-to-son. Affleck was drawn to the “rabbit warren” streets and the “clannish society” where nobody rats anybody out. Affleck, who grew up in nearby Cambridge, may not have known any bank robbers. but he knew where to find them. And he knew the lay of the land.
“If you’re already from a place, you’re ahead of the game. Your life has already done a lot of the work for you,” he says. “If I were to make a movie in Orlando or Little Rock or Phoenix, tell a story about people who grew up there, I’d have to go down there six months ahead of time. You have to immerse yourself, listen to how people talk, hear their stories, drive around their town.”
Affleck interviewed some bank robbers in prison, “and guys I’d talk to would say, ‘We did this robbery in the North End,’ and I hear that and I think ‘cinematic — old Italian neighborhood, narrow streets, distinctive restaurants you can shoot in.”
And knowing the city, he’d pepper “The Town” with details. “You’ve got to have a scene where some characters are in a Dunkin’ Donuts. … Somebody from out of town sees that and goes, ‘Dunkin’ Donuts?’ But if you grew up there, you know that Dunkin’ is the heart and soul of the city. EVERYbody gets coffee there, all day long. It’s not a Starbucks town.”
Read more at Roger Moores Blog: Frankly My Dear