Reflections of a Shelburne Falls residentIf you’ve lived in Shelburne Falls more than 18 months, you can’t walk down Bridge Street without a memory or two of a movie star sighting or extras waiting day after day on the sidewalks for “Action!”
Everyone has stories about the filming here of “Labor Day” in 2012 and “The Judge” in 2013. The main place my life intersected with Hollywood was Baker’s Pharmacy. My husband was out of his blood pressure medication, so I headed to the drugstore.
Someone in a crowd of people in front of Keystone Market next door called my name (trying to warn me the pharmacy was off-limits), but I was in a rush. The muscular man who’d been keeping the riffraff off active filming sites for “Labor Day” was down the sidewalk a bit with his back to me, so I figured filming was happening elsewhere. I slipped inside the pharmacy. Four people with ’80s big hair and bright clothing sitting on swivel stools at the old-fashioned ice cream counter saw me and told me the “pharmacist” in the white lab coat behind the counter could help me. That caused them to laugh uproariously. To my left, a man I was later told was director Jason Reitman peered into a large camera heading on a track straight for me. The real pharmacist, Sid Anderson, appeared behind me and whispered, “Can I help you?” What came out of my confused brain was, “I’m just not sure if this is a pharmacy or a movie set.” Being the nice man he is, he quickly refilled the prescription. As I headed out, I held it above my head and yelled back at my friends by Keystone — “Score!”
I also was within hug range of an actor while he was filming “The Judge” here in 2013, when I was running the after-school program at Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School.
One Friday, teachers brought the children to the school cafeteria for an unscheduled assembly.
Once there, a nondescript man in a straw hat, olive green T-shirt and pants, and Timberlands strode through a back door, waved, and sat on the steps leading up to the school stage. It was Robert Downey Jr., looking quite different without the shining white shirt and large sunglasses he wore while filming. Then they had the best question-and-answer session a kid could ask for on a Friday afternoon:
Child: “Could you come and make the next ‘Iron Man’ movie right here?”
Downey: “Yes, except we always blow up wherever we’re filming.” (Students cheered.)
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