By Jonathan Phelps
---- — DANVERS — There were no Grand Slam breakfasts served up at Denny’s yesterday. That’s because John Travolta and a production crew took over the restaurant to film scenes for the upcoming movie “The Forger.”
Scenes were being shot from inside and outside the restaurant. Danvers police posted a picture on Facebook and Twitter of officer Adam French posing with the superstar.
The filming started at 5 a.m. at Denny’s and moved over to the EconoLodge behind the restaurant later in the afternoon. A base camp for the actors and production crews was set up at the Liberty Tree Mall across the street. The restaurant had been closed since midnight, according to General Manager Lynne Martin.
Producer Bart Rosenblatt of Code Entertainment said that yesterday was the first day of filming for the movie, which will be shot over the next few months in the Boston area. Some major scenes are scheduled to be filmed at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
Travolta made a quick appearance for several media outlets yesterday behind Denny’s, where he waved and talked to a Danvers patrolman.
Rosenblatt said they picked the Denny’s in town because they could film scenes in both the restaurant and motel during the one-day shoot. The production will also film in Lynn and Revere, he said. “We are shooting scenes that take place in the diner between John Travolta and Tye Sheridan, who plays his son,” he said.
The movie is about second-generation petty thief Ray Cutter (Travolta), who arranges to get out of prison to spend time with his ailing son, Will Cutter (Sheridan), by taking on a job with his father to pay back the syndicate that arranged his release, according to imdb.com.
The movie also stars Oscar winner Christopher Plummer, who starred in “The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo” and “Beginners.” He will play Joseph Cutter, Travolta’s father in the film.
The movie will feature two waitresses and a manager from Denny’s, Martin said.
Word of the filming spread fast, but there were few spectators lined up to see the shooting yesterday afternoon. However, throughout the day, crew members had to ask people to move because they were standing in the way of shots.
Martin said the restaurant remained closed as of 5 p.m., but crews were working to reset the eatery for business later in the evening.
“It seems to have gone well,” Martin said. She will not be in the film but said she cooked the lunch food featured in the scene.
She also said she talked with Travolta for several minutes about the filming and described him as “very nice” and “friendly.”
“I actually got a hug,” she said.
This isn’t the first time the Denny’s will have been featured on the big screen. Sandra Bullock filmed there last year for her movie “The Heat,” about an uptight FBI agent and a tough Boston cop who must overcome their mutual distrust to take down a drug lord.
Earlier this summer, Denzel Washington was seen filming scenes for “The Equalizer” at Groton House Farm in Hamilton and the Crane Estate in Ipswich.
The film, expected to be released in 2014, is a big-screen adaptation of the popular 1980s television series that starred Edward Woodward as a private detective with a mysterious past who doled out vigilante justice.
In April, scenes for “American Hustle” were filmed near the former District and Superior Court buildings in Salem. The film’s cast includes Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Renner.
The 1970s corruption movie is set to be released in December.
Rosenblatt said there no set release date for “The Forger.”
“It is going to take us awhile,” he said. “This was our first day.”
A native of Newton, Rosenblatt, who now lives in Los Angles, said he’s been trying for some time to film a movie in Massachusetts. This was his first time shooting a major film in his home state.
“It’s a really great place to shoot,” Rosenblatt said of filming in town. “It is beautiful.”
Staff writer Jonathan Phelps can be reached at 978-338-2527 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at JPhelps_SN.