Acclaimed writer and director Wes Anderson and crew descended on Prudence Island this past Friday to film scenes for the upcoming "Moon Rise Kingdom," a story that revolves around a pair of lovers who flee their New England town, which causes a local search party to fan out and find them.
The film stars Hollywood big shots Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray and Frances McDormand, among others, and is set to film all over Aquidneck Island and South County for the next two months.
Prudence Islanders, not know for their love of attention for the most part, do not seem to be outwardly bothered by the presence of Hollywood.
This, according to Bob Balaban, an Academy Award nominated actor for his role in Gosford Park, might have much to do with Director Wes Anderson. "Our director is unusual," Balaban said. "He is so pleasant, and so nice, he spreads the feeling of good."
Lori Cubellis, whose mother Marcie owns the general store and is also the island's postmaster, has been working closely with the crew since pre-production.
"They all have been great," she said. "I have worked with the location manager Eoin Walsh, helping them find locals and props for filming. It will be interesting to see it when it is all finished."
Todd Smith, a 15-year-resident of Prudence Island, also has no problem with the crew being on the island. "These guys have been great," he said. "They drive nice and they are polite. I don't have one complaint."
On the flip side, Smith adds, "things like this bring attention to our island, and I personally think that might be a bad thing.
"This is a unique place and it is getting found fast. This movie will help perpetuate that and prices on everything will start to go up."
Prudence Island Ferry Gets Hollywood Attention
The day started early for ferry drivers on Friday, with two trips in the morning, before regular scheduled service to bring over crew and equipment. About seven vehicles and 47 people were transported.
The filming of the ferry scene with Capt. Leite was scheduled for the afternoon when the ferry would not normally be in use.
According to Leite, "the ferry schedule was not impacted at all for regular schedule trips and in no way did this affect transport to and from the island" for residents and business purposes.
Most of the day's filming took place on the north end of the island where one resident says she would not normally go due to the tick situation that plagues many an islander and visitor alike. Medics were on hand for the duration of the filming and were diligently checking actors and crew for the small, pinhead-sized deer tick.
The PIA Hall (Prudence Improvement Association) was used as a lunchroom for cast and crew and a schoolroom for tutoring of the younger actors on the set.
The day ended at dusk, when the last of the crew was taken off the island around 9 p.m. after shooting a final sunset scene.
According to film crew, the film's stars were not present on the island Friday. They are scheduled to arrive within the next few weeks.