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"Labor Day" Movie Being Filmed at FCSO


~Eva Botkin-Kowacki, Recorder Intern

(413) 772-0261

Scenes for the movie "Labor Day", starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin, will be filmed in both the old and new Franklin County Jail and House of Correction buildings Friday.

Pod B is transformed for the filming of "Labor Day".

Brolin's character, an escaped convict, will be seen in areas of the old 1886 jail building and the new facilities to illustrate the length of his sentence.  The jail has even been asked to provide 1980s and current era-appropriate prison meals for Brolin and extras, according to Assistant (Jail) Superintendent Kevin Brown.

This, and all other additional costs, will be reimbursed by the film company.  No more taxpayer money than on an average day will be spent.

Filming will happen in three main areas:  the old brick jail with its antiquated cellblocks, the library, and the housing 'pods' of the new building.

"We're going to have to do some juggling that day," said Brown.  Some inmates will have to be moved for the scenes in the cell pods.  Brown said he will likely show them a movie or provide games in a separate part of the prison during filming.

The old jail houses two classifications of inmates.  Minimum security inmates and pre-release program participants are housed there, but will be out on work crews during filming.  These inmates earned their location through courses, work crews, and good behavior.

"I'm beefing up the security," said Brown.  He added, "Nobody is going to be alone."  There will be security officers posted in the parking lot, accompanying the film crew, the actors, the director and extras.

"We still have an operation to run here," said Brown calling for the public to "respect it."  The public will not be allowed on the premises or near the facilities in order to ensure the security and order of the Elm Street prison.  The roads will be blocked off as well.

Everyone entering or leaving the prison must be processed through the security office in the lobby.  There are metal detectors, video cameras, officers checking identification, and lockers to hold all nonessential items, including cell phones.

Whether included in the filming or not, this area will certainly feel the pressure of the influx of bodies.  Every extra, every crew member, and every camera will have to be deemed secure before entering the facility.

Brown estimated that he had spent about 10 hours meeting with the director and other film coordinators and had more meetings planned to further ensure the security of all parties involved.

No escape scene will be filmed at the prison, said Brown, although he had been excited about the prospect.  The idea had come up, but the director decided not to film an escape - at least not in Greenfield.

The film is based on a New York Times bestseller movel by Joyce Maynard.  It is a coming-of-age story about a lonely 13-year old boy, Henry, who lives with his depressed, divorced mother (Winslet).  When a wounded, escaped convict (Brolin) asked Henry for help, mother and son are "forever changed," according to a summary on Maynard's website.

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