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Actor Woody Harrelson has been spotted around Rhode Island in the last week, from a bowling alley in Cranston to a cannabis shop in Pawtucket, as he’s in the Ocean State to film a movie.
The former “Cheers” star was first seen enjoying a drink at Lang’s Bowlarama on Niantic Avenue last Saturday night, NBC10 Boston affiliate WJAR reports.
This week he stopped by Mother Earth Wellness on Esten Avenue where he spoke with several fans inside of the store, employees told WJAR.
Harrelson and co-stars Jamie Lee Curtis and Emma Mackey began their first day of shooting “Ella McCay” on Monday morning along Blackstone Boulevard in Providence, according to WJAR. The film follows Mackey’s character, a young politician juggling family and work as she prepares to take her mentor’s job, the state’s longtime incumbent governor.
Some scenes will be shot at the State House, including inside the governor’s office.
Executive Producer Seth William Meier told WJAR that he’s ecstatic to be in Rhode Island again.
“The last time I was here was in 1998, so I’d been trying to bring a film back for years, and it’s been kind of a pleasure. We first came in March, and then we started looking before the strike, and then in July,” he said. “We had hoped to shoot in the fall, but now we’re enjoying the sun coming out in the winter. So it’s giving us a different look, but everyone has been absolutely wonderful.”
The cast and crew dined at Bacco Vino & Contorni in Providence, in addition to bowling at Lang’s Bowlarama last weekend.
“I have to say they were fantastic at Lang’s. They really embraced us,” Meier told WJAR.
The film is not set in Rhode Island, according to Meier, who says they are grateful for the state’s support in this production.
“It was one of the few states that helped us. The movie is about teamwork and working together, and creating jobs and all this, and it was something that was really important to the governor as well… and the ability to work in the State House… all of that together just made for a pleasant experience,” he told WJAR.
Meier said filming will continue into April throughout the state, especially in downtown Providence, and they are reportedly still looking for extras in the film. Anyone interested should reach out to Angela Peri with Boston Casting.
WJAR reported in early February that local leaders had welcomed the Hollywood stars to the state, with Speaker of the House Joe Shekarchi joking about how many people packed the Rhode Island State Room for the event.
Emmy and Academy Award winning director James L. Brooks is directing the film, WJAR reports.
“What I need for this film is to represent America in sort of the best sense possible,” he said. “We looked at a lot of places, and I’m so glad we’re here, and we feel it every day.”
Curtis said the SAG-AFTRA union strike limited opportunities in California, bringing them to the Ocean State, according to WJAR.
“If you don’t want all of the revenues and all of the teamwork and work and support for all of the parts of the movie business…if you don’t want us to leave and go to places like Rhode Island, than you have to create tax incentives for the people in California,” she said. “Or we’re going to come here every time.”
The film is expected to bring a boost in tourism and economic benefits to Rhode Island.