SALISBURY — Scheduling details have changed concerning the town’s role in the Denzel Washington film “The Equalizer,” but Salisbury Beach Center will have a cameo in the movie.
Mark Fitzgerald briefed selectmen recently, giving them an update on the date and time when the Columbia Pictures’ movie will shoot a scene in town. According to Fitzgerald, the date has been changed to Sept. 3.
Selectman Freeman Condon expressed concern for local businesses, since it will coincide with the Labor Day holiday and the last big tourist weekend of the summer, but Fitzgerald said that they are OK with the change. A number have agreed to open early to accommodate the filming, Fitzgerald said, and some movie extras will be seen going in and out of local stores.
Fitzgerald is working closely with town officials, including Public Works director Donald Levesque and police Chief Tom Fowler on the schedule, in hopes of minimizing any disruption from the huge endeavor.
Fowler said Fitzgerald, who’s spent months working on the project, was told last week that the timing of the Salisbury shoot had changed. According to Fowler, the current schedule will have crews building the movie set on Broadway beginning at midnight Tuesday, Sept. 3, which includes constructing a Ferris wheel.
Shooting will take place starting Tuesday morning and will run all day until about 9 p.m., Fowler said, and crews will be back Wednesday morning to remove all traces of the set. Fowler added that Fitzgerald promised that by Thursday, everything will be back to normal.
The movie company will pay the town for any expenses incurred while here, including salary costs for town personnel, such as officers who will control traffic and the crowd on the days involved. Space in the municipal parking lot, where movie equipment will be located, will be paid for by the company as well, Fowler said.
“The Equalizer” plot is loosely based on a 1980s television series of the same name. It starred the late British actor Edward Woodward, who played a middle-aged, retired, CIA-type named Robert McCall, seeking redemption for his past bad acts. Placing ads that read: “Got a problem? Odds against you? Call the Equalizer,” McCall helped protect society’s underdogs by getting them out of trouble for free.
In the film version, which is set to be released next September, Washington is cast as McCall. According to published reports, in the movie, McCall defends a teenage prostitute, played by Chloe Grace Moretz, from a Russian mafia arch villain, played by New Zealand actor Marton Csokas. Other co-stars are David Harbour, Haley Bennett and Melissa Leo.
The movie reunites Washington with director Antoine Fugua, who worked together on “Training Day,” for which Washington won a Best Actor Academy Award. He was also nominated for similar awards twice for his work in “Malcolm X” and “The Hurricane.”
According to Fowler, unless things change, the current plan calls for Washington to be at the filming at Salisbury Beach.
Using various places in Massachusetts as backdrops, the production company has shot in Haverhill, was at Groton House Farm in Hamilton last month, and was at the Crane Estate on Castle Hill on Tuesday.
Staff writer Jonathan Phelps contributed to this story.