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Quashing controversy, officials relent on plan to shoot Adam Sandler movie scene on Marblehead High football field

MARBLEHEAD -- Columbia Pictures, which is planning to film most of the Adam Sandler movie “Grown Ups 2” in Marblehead, quelled a brewing controversy by declaring it will not use the town’s high school football field to film a scene for the movie.

“I think maybe the wisest thing is to gracefully withdraw our request,” Barry Bernardi, the film’s producer, said Thursday at the Marblehead School Committee.

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Production on the film will begin May 21 and run through Aug. 17. It is a sequel to the 2010 “Grown Ups” and will star Sandler, Chris Rock, David Spade, Taylor Lautner, Kevin James, Rob Schneider, Salma Hayek, Maya Rudolph, David Henrie, and Shaquille O’Neal. Scenes for the film will also be shot in Swampscott.

Columbia had hoped to use the football field and offered to pay Marblehead schools $125,000 for the right to dig up the football field and install an in-ground swimming pool, and a basketball court on the field property. The proposal called for the money to be used to rebuild the field after the scenes were filmed. But at a community meeting Wednesday, dozens of residents – including the school’s football coach – voiced opposition to the proposal and told Superintendent Gregory Maass that the restoration of the field could take up to two months and interrupt the fall football season.

Bernardi said the scenes planned for the field would be filmed elsewhere and added that the film will continue production as scheduled. “We’re going to spend millions of dollars in your community, but we want to do it in a way that makes everyone feel included in the process,” he said.

Marblehead High School football coach James Rudloff said the $125,000 offer wasn’t enough of an incentive for the school. Rudloff said the proposal – which would have called for digging up the field this month – would have disrupted soccer, lacrosse and football schedules and would have necessitated rescheduling and transporting teams to different locations.

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