NEW BEDFORD — “Finestkind” has completed its principal photography while filming all day on the New Bedford-Fairhaven Bridge on Saturday.
“I used to ride my bicycle across the Fairhaven bridge, so to be here now is sort of spectacular,” said the film’s writer and director Brian Helgeland.
The Oscar-award winner (“LA Confidential”) said his screenplay was based on his experience on a scallop boat while attending the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, so he could save up enough money to travel to Los Angeles to attend film school.
“I wrote this thing 20 years ago, and never thought it would be made,” he said. “It couldn’t have gone better.”
“Finestkind” follows two brothers from opposite sides of the tracks, who are reunited as adults over one fateful summer. When desperate circumstances force them to strike a deal with a dangerous Boston crime syndicate, a young woman finds herself caught in the middle.
Along the way, sacrifices must be made, and bonds between brothers, friends, and a father and his son are put to the test.
Filming on the bridge
Scenes filmed on the New Bedford-Fairhaven Bridge were also the final sequence of the movie featuring cast members Ben Foster (“Hell or High Water”) and Toby Wallace (“The Society”) on a boat and Jenna Ortega (“You”) located outside the bridge’s control tower.
Tommy Lee Jones‘ stand-in was on set, as the “Fugitive” Oscar-winner already shot his part earlier in the week.
“He really put his all into it. He gave a really incredible performance. It was very impressive,” said producer Gary Foster.
On Saturday, the bridge was closed from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Traffic was detoured to accommodate the filming.
“It’s really wild,” said Marianne Farr, who was watching the filming with her family on the Fairhaven side on the bridge. Farr and her daughter previously watched filming take place at Rasputin’s Tavern.
“We had nothing better to do for four hours, so why not stop and watch something you’ve never seen before?” she said. “I’ve heard ‘quiet on set,’ ‘cut,’ ‘action’ … you don’t hear stuff like that around here ever.”
Fairhaven’s Susan York said she walked about a mile to watch, because she was nervous about interfering with filming if she drove too close.
“Everything in Fairhaven is so beautiful,” York said. “They’ve all been very kind to us. Very open to chatting about the film.”
Guests at Fathoms Waterfront Bar & Grille watched from the restaurant’s deck. “It’s nice to know that we’re being valued in these kinds of ways,” said Katherine Tortorella, a hostess from the Fairhaven area.
“It’s really nice to be included in this kind of thing.”
Another movie in New Bedford?
Onlookers said they observed a boat passing back and forth under the bridge with Foster and Wallace waving frantically to the cars above. On the bridge were several stunt cars as well as a police van.
York said she also saw a helicopter circling the bridge as well.
Helgeland said he got to see the house he grew up in from the helicopter’s camera feed. “It was incredible,” he said.
“It’s hugely exciting, and I’m excited for him (Helgeland),” Foster added. “It was a dream to film in his hometown, and I’m glad we were able to make it happen.”
After 35 days of filming, and 22 days in the New Bedford area, “Finestkind” completed filming with its cast and main crew. The director and a B-unit will remain in New Bedford to finish a few more shots in the harbor over the next few days.
“[The crew] were all just saying today, it’s a little sad. It’s our last day here,” Foster said, adding that he would consider filming another project in New Bedford, if given the opportunity.
“We’ve grown to love the community,” he said.
Foster said they plan to have a premiere in New Bedford. “Finestkind” is currently scheduled to premiere on Paramount+ in December.
Standard-Times staff writer Seth Chitwood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter: @ChitwoodReports. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Standard-Times today.