DANVERS — A Netflix Productions film to be shot at two homes on Ledgewood Drive this summer may involve a Halloween-themed flick tied to Salem called "Hubie Halloween."
This is according to applications filed with the town's Zoning Board of Appeals. A special permit from the ZBA is needed for the proposed filming at two homes on Ledgewood Drive, near St. John's Prep. This will be the first time a company has sought special permits to take advantage of a zoning bylaw change made in December 2017 to allow movie productions at single-family homes in Danvers, via special permit.
Two public hearings before the ZBA are scheduled for Monday, June 3, in Town Hall, with the meeting starting at 7 p.m.
Netflix Productions is seeking permits "for temporary movie/television production" in accordance with the town's zoning bylaws at both 18 and 20 Ledgewood Drive. The applications propose using the homes as movie sets.
The location manager, Greg Chiodo, would only confirm in a brief phone call that this was a "Netflix feature film," and directed all other questions to a publicist. A response from a publicist to some questions sent via email was not available by press time. Likewise, the Massachusetts Film Office said it does not comment on the status or whereabouts of film productions.
A synopsis provided to the zoning board states the production would be called "Hubie Halloween."
"Despite his devotion to his hometown of Salem, Massachusetts (and its legendary Halloween celebration), Hubie Dubois is a figure of mockery for kids and adults alike. But this year, something really is going bump in the night, and it's up to Hubie to save Halloween," states the synopsis.
While productions have been filmed in town at commercial and nonprofit sites in recent years, including in the former Denny's on Endicott Street and the Rebecca Nurse Homestead on Pine Street, filming at private residences was not allowed in residential zoning districts until a December 2017 Special Town Meeting vote that approved filming in homes for up to 14 days, via special permit.
Earlier that spring, the issue of whether zoning allowed for filming in a residential neighborhood came up when the town denied a production company permission to film on Bishop Lane. Officials said zoning did not permit homes to become commercial movie sets. Filming is allowed on commercially zoned property and on land owned by nonprofits.
Neighbors had said a scout for Happy Madison Productions, which was founded by comedian Adam Sandler, wanted to film a Netflix production there starring comedian David Spade. Neighbors became upset with the town's denial, as they were hoping to rent their homes to the production company and take part in a little bit of Hollywood movie magic. There were reports the production company moved to a home in Hamilton.
However, officials said there was precedent for the town saying "no" to filming in homes. It had rejected filming in a residential neighborhood in 2009 when the comedy "Grown Ups" was filmed on the North Shore by the same production company.
During the filming flap, Town Manager Steve Bartha said the town was amenable to amending residential zoning to allow for film productions at homes, and the town discussed the matter with the Massachusetts Film Office. Special Town Meeting then changed the bylaw in December 2017.
According to the new application, the Ledgewood Drive homes are to be featured locations in the story. The production company plans eight filming days between July 8 and Aug. 30. The dates have not been scheduled, they will not be contiguous, and the production will involve both day and overnight work.
"Our schedule is subject to change but both the town and abutters will be notified in advance to our arrival," stated the application. "Superficial and cosmetic changes may be made to the property to fit the story with the consent of the owners."
There will be trucks and equipment parked in the vicinity of the homes "during the preparation, filming and restoration."
"We will work closely with the town and Police Department to ensure public safety and maintain a proper traffic flow in the areas around Ledgewood Drive," the application states.
Calls to the homeowners listed in the applications were not returned as of Tuesday afternoon.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @TannerSalemNews.