New Canaan’s local traffic authority this week approved a request to close part of Main Street overnight on a Sunday into Monday next month so that Netflix can shoot scenes for a Christmas movie.
“The Noel Diary” starring Justin Hartley, Bonnie Bedeilia and Treat Williams should come out next year, the movie’s location manager, Michael Fucci, told members of the Police Commission at their regular meeting Wednesday.
A film crew will shoot some scenes at a Wydendown Road home later this month and then will return for June 27 and 28, Fucci said during the meeting, held via videoconference.
“We have one or two scenes that we’d like to shoot around 6 p.m. on Elm Street, which we are still trying to fine-tune that,” he said. “But the bigger scene wants to take place in front of Town Hall on Main Street, between Locust Avenue and East Avenue. Now basically what I’ve been telling everyone, if you’ve ever seen the opening scene of the movie ‘A Christmas Story,’ with little Ralphie with the bb gun. Like that’s the idea and scale of what we want to do. We want to put up one of those giant blow-up screens, and I think we’re going to be showing ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ and there’s just tons of holiday and Christmas festivities going on. An ice-skating rink. A little snow hill. Booths everywhere. Old school cars. A pretty big scene. And that’s scene is a complete overnight. We would start at around 8 p.m. and we’re out by dawn.”
Police Commission Chair Paul Foley, Secretary Jim McLaughlin and member Shekaiba Bennett voted 3-0 to approve the temporary road closure, contingent on state approval.
Asked by Bennett whether people will be able to patronize Main Street restaurants when the road closure is in place, Fucci said, “We’re going to get the restaurants on board like we would do with any other town, and when we’re actually filming—if I’m there for 12 hours filming, first of all, the restaurants are going to close around 10 or 11 o’clock. So the bulk of the scene is only going to involve two to three hours of restaurant closure. So while we’re rolling, for a couple seconds at a time, we would ask them to hold. Like again, we want to—it’s a Christmas movie, so it’ll look a little strange, people in shorts and T-shirts walking down the block. So just as if we were shooting anywhere else, we are going to have PAs on the corner, respectfully asking residents to hold a second while we get the shot, and then we would get them in.”
It will be the latest in a long list of movies, and TV shows, to include scenes shot in New Canaan. Others are “The Ice Storm,” The Stepford Wives,” “All My Children,” “The Swimmer,” “Secret Life of an American Wife,” “Object of My Affection,” “Louder Than Words,” “Revolutionary Road,” “Made for Each Other” and “The Humbling.” (The town also had a significant mention in “Gentleman’s Agreement.”)
A local expert said in a 2015 article that “perhaps no town in our area has as many legitimate ties to Tinseltown as New Canaan.”
The new Netflix movie is “a holiday movie about a young guy who is a famous writer,” Fucci said.
“He comes home to find out his mother has passed away and he’s in charge of her estate and he discovers this mysterious diary that kind of takes him down a road and he finds out a lot about his family and it’s a little road trip movie between him and somebody that he meets that has to do with the diary.”
The crew will “be doing our staging at the St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on Oenoke Ridge, so everything will be contained almost entirely to their property,” Fucci said.
Commissioners asked when the road closure would be in effect (approximately 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.), whether the water company will be done with its work on Main Street by then (yes) and whether New Canaan Fire Department vehicles will be able to get out in event of an emergency (yes).
Town officials who have been involved in discussions with Netflix on the shoot include New Canaan Police Deputy Chief John DiFederico, Lt. Jason Ferraro and Public Works Director Tiger Mann.
Foley thanked Fucci for coming to New Canaan for the shoot.
“We want to make it easy for you to work with us and to come back,” he said.
Fucci said, “We’d love to come back.”