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Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell begin filming the Christmas movie ‘Spirited’ in Boston

Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds. (Photos by Evan Agostini/InvisionAP, Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)Evan Agostini/Invision/AP; Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

It’s Christmas in July in the Back Bay this week, thanks to Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell’s new movie for Apple TV+.

On Tuesday, Reynolds and Ferrell kicked off their first day of filming for “Spirited,” a movie musical reimagining of the Charles Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol.”

Reynolds posted a photo of himself with Ferrell on social media Tuesday afternoon, wryly calling attention to the Apple AirPods his character is wearing in the shot.

“Day 1 shooting with one of my comedy idols, Will Ferrell. You’d barely notice this was an Apple movie!” Reynolds wrote, noting the not-so-subtle product placement. “Also iOS 14.6 will begin installing in 7 seconds…”


Tuesday’s filming took place at the Fairmont Copley Plaza, according to a source familiar with production. The hotel has been put to good use by Hollywood filmmakers, serving as a filming location for the upcoming season of Showtime’s serial killer revival “Dexter,” the upcoming star-studded Netflix satire “Don’t Look Up,” and previously released films like “Little Women,” “American Hustle,” “Bride Wars,” and “The Firm.”

Directed by Sean Anders (“Instant Family”), the Apple TV+ project is expected to film in the Boston area through late October, which means lots of work for the local film industry. Along with additional film shoots in Boston, multiple days of filming are set to take place in Braintree at the South Shore Plaza. The Nordstrom wing of the shopping center will be decorated for Christmas when filming commences in the coming days, according to The Patriot Ledger.

According to reports from multiple trade publications, “Spirited” will star Reynolds as an Ebenezer Scrooge-like figure, while Ferrell will play a character akin to the Ghost of Christmas Present, and Octavia Spencer will play a “good-natured co-worker” of Reynolds, a la Bob Cratchit.


Reynolds is no stranger to the Boston area, having spent two months here in 2019 while filming the upcoming adventure-comedy “Free Guy.” Reynolds also filmed the 2009 romantic comedy “The Proposal” in Massachusetts, and first connected with his wife, Blake Lively, while filming “R.I.P.D” in Boston in 2011.

Anders and Ferrell have history in Massachusetts as well, having previously teamed up to film “Daddy’s Home 2” in the state.

“Spirited” is just one of at least a half dozen Hollywood movies or TV shows currently in production or soon to start production in Massachusetts. In terms of TV shows, Showtime’s “Dexter” has been filming in central Massachusetts since January, while the HBO Max Julia Child series “Julia” will be filming here until at least September.

In the movie landscape, the Halle Berry sci-fi film “Mothership Android” and the Emma Roberts romantic comedy “About Fate” kicked off in early June, and both are expected to wrap later this summer. Most recently, production started on “Confess, Fletch,” a reboot/sequel to Chevy Chase’s 1985 comedy “Fletch” starring Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”) as the bumbling private eye.

Finally, coming later this summer is “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” a Whitney Houston biopic starring Naomi Ackie (“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”) as the late singer. Production on the film is set to begin in Boston in early August and wrap in November.