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Why are there Detroit police cars in Dorchester?

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A movie about the 1967 Detroit riots is being filmed in the Ashmont section of Dorchester.
A movie about the 1967 Detroit riots is being filmed in the Ashmont section of Dorchester.Nicholas B. Gordon

A movie about the 1967 Detroit riots, brought to you by the writer and director who made "The Hurt Locker" and "Zero Dark Thirty," is being filmed in the Ashmont section of Dorchester. The yet-to-be-titled film, based on a screenplay by Mark Boal and directed by Kathryn Bigelow, is slated for release in 2017, which will mark the 50th anniversary of the riots.

Dorchester resident Della Costello said her three-decker home on Ashmont Street was used as a filming location last Monday.

"They were looking for old-fashioned wallpaper," said Costello, and she had some to offer. She said Bigelow and her crew filmed at her house for about two hours.

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"They filmed in my stairwell," said Costello, who was happy to participate in the movie-making magic.

"It's exciting for us on the street," she said. "They're doing a lot of night shooting this week."

Filming is also taking place at the All Saints rectory. The Rev. Michael J. Godderz said he and his wife moved out of the rectory around Fourth of July so the production company could shoot scenes there.

"It's exciting, and a bit of an upheaval," said Godderz. "Everything was moved out and put into storage. . . . The production company found a furnished apartment for us in the city."

Godderz expects to move back into the rectory by the end of August or early September.

The production company has been using part of the church — a space known as the Parish House — as a cafeteria and for costuming and makeup, according to Godderz.

Vintage squad cars with doors that say "DETROIT POLICE" have also been seen parked near the church recently.

Godderz noted that the location fees received from the production will provide funding for some much-needed repairs at the rectory, which is more than a century old. "Like most old houses, it neeeds some work," he said.

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