Hollywood comes to Dover

DOVER — Last week, out of the blue, a Hollywood movie production company contacted the mayor’s office and asked if they could do some filming in and around city hall and the library.

“They got in touch with us and we were able to make it happen,” said Mayor Robin R. Christiansen. “The film crew was in Dover last Friday and stayed until Monday,”

Among the talent were Vivica A. Fox, Michael Paré, and Quinton Aaron who portrayed “Big Mike” in the film “The Blind Side.” The crew had come to Dover to film several scenes in the upcoming film “Jason’s Letter” — directed by Terrance Tykeem of Diamond Mine Media Group.

According to Mayor Christiansen, the production company had scouted Dover earlier and thought it would make a good location for the film, which is set in a small town.

“All of them kept saying that Dover is a really special place,” he said. “When they first got here their advance people saw all the Christmas lights that were still up downtown and they said, ‘This is America,’ which I thought was really nice.”

Vivica A. Fox visited Dover over the weekend to film several scenes of an upcoming film called “Jason’s Letter”. Ms. Fox had a chance to plop down in Mayor Christiansen’s chair, put on his glasses and play mayor for a bit. (Submitted photo)

While filming, several producers with the crew drove around Dover and were “charmed” by Legislative Hall, the green and the downtown area.

“The visit seemed to spark some interest in using other sites in Dover, both historic and government,” said Mayor Christiansen. “Three of the producers I talked to mentioned using Dover as a possible backdrop for at least three additional movies they were currently working on.”

Excited by the prospect of hosting more filming endeavors, Mayor Christiansen said that any new economic activity brought to the city is a welcome addition. He noted that the film crew included roughly 45 members.

“They rented quite a few hotel rooms around the city and it seemed like they were eating every two hours,” said Mayor Christiansen. “They had food brought in from Nage in Rehoboth Beach one night and on Monday night they had the Popeye’s Chicken on Rt. 13 bring in a huge chicken feast for the whole crew — Ms. Fox really likes Popeyes Chicken, I guess.”

He went on to say that the crew was thrilled with the treatment they received while they were here. The stars had some fun with the mayor as well — Ms. Fox sitting at his desk and wearing his glasses and Mr. Aaron making him look disproportionately small.

“I was like a munchkin standing next to him,” he said. “He wears size 22 shoes. That’s three times my size.”

Apparently, the mayor even got some screen time in a scene where the main character of “Jason’s Letter,” played by a Jamol Manigault, reads a letter to a bench of city councilmen.

Mayor Christiansen also visited with actor, Quinton Aaron, who portrayed “Big Mike” in the film “The Blind Side.” (Submitted photo)

“It was really a great experience. Myself and Councilman Hare actually had a few speaking parts in the film,” said Mayor Christiansen. “I was shocked about that. Those scenes will more than likely end up on the cutting room floor, but who knows.”

City spokeswoman Kay Sass said the production company was unsure about which provider would ultimately pick the film up, but both HBO and Lifetime were expressing an interest.

“I did ask them and they said that we can expect the film to be out for sure by next January, though,” said Ms. Sass.

The mayor maintains that the most important thing about the unexpected visit is what it may mean in terms of fresh economic activity.

“As part of our economic development strategy, we’re looking for any way and any thing to create jobs and spin off benefits to our economy and these folks were really impressed with Dover,” he said.

Ms. Sass agrees, and feels that the weekend film shoot has put Dover on the cinematography map.

“From the economic development standpoint, this put Dover on the books of friendly places to work with when filming,” she said.

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