GRAFTON, Mass. – An independent production company is attempting to keep a low profile in Grafton as it shoots a modern day adaptation of "Little Women" in a historic home.
The film, "Orchard House," stars Julie Berman ("General Hospital"), Kaitlin Doubleday ("Waiting," "Accepted"), Melissa Farman ("Lost," "Temple Grandin"), Molly Kunz ("Battleground"), Charlie Hofheimer ("Mad Men," "Black Hawk Down"), Justin Brueining ("All My Children," "Ringer"), Mark Famiglietti ("Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines") and John Shea ("Gossip Girl," "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman").
The crew from Moody Independent has been attempting to keep a low profile as it shoots interior scenes at a Grafton Greek Revival home rented for the production. Mysterious yellow "OH" directional signs, coupled with the giant tent and equipment brought in for the shoot late last week, has made the production one of the worst kept secrets in town.
"Everyone has been great in Grafton," said Andrea Ajemian, a Worcester resident and co-producer on the production. "Moody has done a lot of films in Central Mass. We're just a small and independent movie company and we're trying not to be disruptive."
The movie company has requested the exact address not be revealed until production has wrapped, which is expected by Aug. 12. The location, however, shares similarities to Grafton's main claim to celluloid fame, 1936's classic film, "Ah, Wilderness."
Like the previous film, Moody's moviemakers have their eye on Grafton Common. The Common, however, may not make the cut due to both the difficulties in shooting scenes there and the setting of the film.
"The span of the film is between Halloween and Christmas," Ajemian said. "We'll be using CGI on the exteriors to show fall and winter, but with the Common so green... we keep considering it, but it's probably not going to happen."
The film is directed by Princeton resident John Stimpson, who previously directed "The Legend of Lucy Keyes," "Sexting in Suburbia" and "A Christmas Kiss."
"Orchard House" brings Louisa May Alcott's classic "Little Women" into the modern day and brings the March sisters closer in age. In Jennifer Maisei's adaptation, the sisters take it upon themselves to remodel the family home to sway their parents from selling it.
"The characters all have the same names, it's just brought into the modern day," Ajemian said. "There's some movie magic, however. The character of Teddy is supposed to live next door, but that house is actually in Worcester."
A high-powered air conditioning unit has been brought in to severely cool the house for the winter-clad cast.
"Don't be alarmed if you see actors walking around the area in sweaters and winter coats when it's 80 degrees out," she joked.
A release date has not been set since, as an independent production, it will need to be picked up by a distributor.
Several local actors have been cast in the film and the crew is primarily local. Extras are being sought for key scenes that will be shot in Worcester: a theater scene and a Halloween costume party. Those interested in volunteering may email contact information and a recent photo to firstname.lastname@example.org and write "extra" a name in the subject line.