Friday, August 28, 2009

Breakheart Goes Hollywood

I haven't been doing any running in Breakheart Reservation lately. Seems like I missed a lot of "action" last week. Below is an article from my local newspaper, The Saugus Advertiser.

Wicked Local Photo by Kathryn O'Brien

Hollywood comes to Saugus
Thu Aug 27, 2009, 09:07 AM EDT

Saugus - An epic battle of man versus nature unfolded at Breakheart Reservation as a pack of irate animals clashed with actors Brendan Fraser and Brooke Shields during filming of the family comedy “Furry Vengeance.” Film crews trudged deep into the woods at Breakheart to capture footage of live animals testing wits with Hollywood veterans such as Fraser, Shields, Matt Prokop (of “High School Musical III”) and Skyler Samuels. “Part of the movie is set in the forest and Breakheart Reservation served as an ideal location,” Unit Publicist Scott Levine said, adding the state park is in close proximity to the main staging area up in Topsfield.

“Furry Vengeance” is the story of a real estate developer (Fraser) who oversees the construction of a housing development that encroaches on the woodlands. With their habitat threatened, animals band together and seek revenge by wrecking havoc on the development. “The animals rebel and put up quite a fight,” Levine said. Crews began building sets several weeks ago in preparation for the actual shoot, according to Friends of Breakheart Reservation Board of Directors Chairman Ed Murray.

Cameras rolled last Tuesday for the first time and continued through Friday. Levine said the filming encompassed scenes with human actors as well as their animal adversaries. Director Roger Kumble (“Cruel Intentions,” “The Sweetest Thing,” “College Road Trip”) opted to use real animals for authenticity rather than special effects. Raccoons, skunks and otters were among the animals appearing on the forest set below a canopy of maples and evergreens at Breakheart that matched up against Fraser and his family, Levine said. “These are key scenes that will definitely be in the movie,” Levine remarked.

Breakheart Reservation remained open to the public while the movie filmed. Security prevented the public from getting too close to the set, but onlookers could still get a glimpse of the production trucks stationed in the Northeast Metro Regional Vocational High School parking lot. Levine said the shooting went seamlessly and he commended the park representatives for being so accommodating throughout the experience. “We did our best to be as unobtrusive as possible,” Levine said.

Department of Conservation and Recreation Press Secretary Wendy Fox said “it’s always a compliment” when Hollywood producers select one of the organization’s state parks to be featured in a movie. The arrangement called for the makers of “Furry Vengeance” to reimburse the DCR for the additional staffing required at Breakheart, Fox said. Although Breakheart has been featured in various educational/environmental programs over the years, Murray couldn’t recall any production the size and scope of “Furry Vengeance” descending upon the park. "It’s a feather in the cap for us,” Murray said.

With the Breakheart sequence in the rearview mirror, Levine said filming is almost finished on “Furry Vengeance.” All that’s left are some interior scenes, and the production is expected to wrap up in the next two weeks. D Robertson of Wakefield was taking her daily walk at Breakheart Reservation last Tuesday when she ran into Brendan Fraser and the film crew in action. “Fraser was sitting and reading a magazine while the crew set up the lighting and sound,” recalled Robertson who commented, “I think he is super handsome.”

“Furry Vengeance” is scheduled for an early spring release.
— Saugus Advertiser editor Kathryn O’Brien contributed to this report.


  1. Brendan Fraser and Brooke Sheilds... heh, sounds like a winner, LOL.

    Funny how when Hollywood wants to use Breakheart they get it, but when a dude who runs in the Reservation, normally multiple times a week, they can't even return his call.

    My cousin, once removed, was one of the Teenagers in Mystic River, the one that points the gun at Kevin Bacon at the end of the movie, maybe we can get him on the case!

  2. Rob, Money talks, (ultra)runners walk!


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