Earlier this year, the producers of “Grown Ups 2” were searching for a site near Boston to shoot some nighttime sequences involving an outdoor go-kart race. The twist: kids would be in the scene so it would have to be filmed indoors during the day.
With no space large enough to fit their needs, they built their own temporary stage on a field at the Phillips Park complex in Swampscott, Mass., 15 miles northeast of Beantown.
“We scraped the field, packed the base down with hard gravel, circled it with shipping containers three stories high, and got a giant tent from a company in Las Vegas and put it on top,” says the film’s greens coordinator Jeff DeBell.
The first level of containers was anchored to the ground and filled with 40,000 pounds of water to act as a counterweight. The inside of the structure was lined with blackout cloth and dressed with half an acre of Astroturf and real 65-foot tall trees covered with 36,000 silk artificial leaves.
“The construction of the house set was extremely realistic,” says Swampscott town administrator Thomas Younger. “It looked like a residential setting with a large back yard and pool.”
The production paid Swampscott $248,000 to lease various sites around town from late May through mid-August, including $175,000 for the Phillips Park property, $40,000 for a day of shooting at Swampscott Middle School and $5,000 for the use of the train station.
Residents of the small town also got the thrill of watching star-producer Adam Sandler doing regular-guy things like shooting hoops at the public basketball court. “If you went by the set, you’d see people at the gate watching (the stars) come and go.” Younger says. “It was the summer entertainment.”
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