Police officers in riot gear and Detroit police cars have become common sights on Ashmont Street as Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow continues filming her latest movie in Dorchester. The yet-to-be-titled film about the 1967 Detroit riots has a cast that includes Will Poulter, John Boyega, and Anthony Mackie, and thus far, much of the filming has taken place in the Ashmont section of Dorchester.
Nicholas B. Gordon, a dentist who lives in the area, has been watching and photographing the Hollywood magic that’s happening in his neighborhood. Every time he walks by Ashmont Street, he sees something different, he said. “It’s been pretty cool,” he said.
On Thursday evening a portion of Ashmont Street (approximately one-third of a mile, between Bruce Street and Dorchester Avenue) was closed to traffic and vintage vehicles were driving slowly up and down the street, he said.
“It seemed like they were doing a trial run,” said Gordon, who was told that filming would last through the night.
The film crew appeared to be re-creating a scene from the aftermath of the riots. Actors dressed as police officers were toting rifles and wearing blue helmets; others appeared to be National Guard soldiers in dark green military uniforms. There were circa-1960s vehicles, including an old school Michigan State Police cruiser, black Detroit police patrol cars, and military vehicles. At one point, Gordon saw a billow of smoke appear, which covered part of the roadway in a foggy haze.
Meanwhile, construction has been underway at another filming location about 17 miles away, on Frederick Douglass Avenue in Brockton, which is being transformed to look like a city block in Detroit circa-1967.
“It looks like they’re-creating 1960s storefronts; a series of small businesses,” said Brockton City Councilor-at-Large Winthrop H. Farwell, Jr. “They’re putting up signs and doing all the stuff Hollywood does to transport you back in time. It’s pretty neat to watch Hollywood come to Brockton. We’re proud to have them come into the city. I think it’s going to work out pretty well.”
Filming in Brockton is expected to take place in September, and C.P. Casting is looking for background extras to appear in riot scenes. Anyone interested in applying can fill out a form at www.cpcasting.com/Brockton.