Enjoying a night on ‘The Town’

Cast members Chris Cooper, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, and Blake Lively. Cast members Chris Cooper, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, and Blake Lively. (Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff)
By Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein
Globe Staff / September 15, 2010

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A host of Hollywood heavyweights hit Boston yesterday, gathering at friendly Fenway for a screening of Ben Affleck’s latest film, “The Town.’’ The movie’s A-list cast — Affleck, Jon Hamm (who brought his longtime girlfriend Jennifer Westfeldt), Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Hall, Chris Cooper, and Blake Lively — all made the scene, and walked a red carpet in front of the first base dugout. The surprise guest of the night was Matt Damon, who brought his pregnant wife, Lucia, his mom, Nancy, his dad, Kent, his stepparents, and his brother Kyle. “The Town,’’ a taut heist drama based on Chuck Hogan’s book “Prince of Thieves,’’ was shot in Charlestown, the North End, Harvard Square, and, of course, Fenway. (It’s a wonder the ballpark’s still standing after the fusillade finale.) The actors were comedians on the red carpet, joking about filming in Boston and what it was like to work with Affleck. Renner admitted to us that he doesn’t have much interest in baseball. “I can see that it’s a rite of passage here.’’ No kidding. He went on to describe his bank robber role as “a 7-year-old’s dream.’’ Hamm joked to us that he hadn’t spent any time in Boston before filming “The Town’’ because “none of the colleges would accept me.’’ He also had a long list of compliments for Affleck as a director, but when asked whether Ben beat out “Mad Men’’ director Matt Weiner, Hamm laughed and exclaimed, “Are you kidding me? That guy pays my bills.’’ Lively, who admitted on the red carpet that she slept in makeup to look trashier in scenes, said she enjoyed filming in a city with real history. “The thing we’re most proud of is In-N-Out burger,’’ she joked, about growing up in California. English actress Hall kidded around about her American accent in the film, claiming she was dubbed. And finally, Affleck told us from the red carpet that when he got stressed about shooting at Fenway, he’d just look out into the field and recall watching games with his dad in the bleachers. He also joked about where he would film his next movie: “Cincinnati — or Allston. Or Framingham.’’ Also on the red carpet was Aaron Stockard, who co-wrote the script with Affleck and also worked on “Gone Baby Gone,’’ local rapper-actor Slaine, who plays one of Affleck’s bank robber pals in the film, Brian Scannell, “The Town’’ producer Basil Iwanyk, Warner Bros. execs Alan Horn and Dan Fellman, and writer Hogan, who brought his wife, Charlotte, and exclaimed as he walked into the ballpark, “I dreamt this story at my desk in my house, and then to see all of this . . .’’ Fenway Park made room for 1,770 guests, who watched the movie on a big screen over the third-base dugout. About 500 VIPs were invited to an after-party in the ballpark. Not surprisingly, the night brought out Boston’s most familiar faces including Curt Schilling, Linda Pizzuti Henry (who tweeted some nice shots of Hamm and Cooper palling around in the dugout), historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, Fenway Recordings guy Mark Kates, Dropkick Murphys frontman Ken Casey, Donnie and Mark Wahlberg’s brother Jimmy, Joan Parker, and Bruins David Krejci, Jeremy Reich, and Tuukka Rask. Chef Todd English, who runs Olives in Charlestown, was also there to defend the neighborhood. It “was risky to open in ’89, but they embraced us,’’ he said, of Charlestown. “There’s a core of good people there — look, there’s a few bad eggs everywhere in the world.’’ . . . Two lucky fans won their way into the screening by placing first in a city-wide scavenger hunt put on by Warner Bros. and the Jimmy Fund earlier in the day. Tyler Bahl and Jessica LaMonica scored seats by being the first team to complete the hunt, which had competitors solving a Sudoku puzzle and making six “Town’’-related stops, including the Bunker Hill monument, which is featured prominently in the film. Bahl told us that he and girlfriend LaMonica live near Fenway, so they witnessed much of the filming last year. He had high hopes for stargazing on the red carpet. “I work in marketing so Jon Hamm is kind of cool. But obviously Blake Lively is my favorite.’’

In walks Prince . . .
Fred Mascolo was celebrating his birthday at Oyster Bar on Martha’s Vineyard Monday night when he did a double take. Mascolo and his buddies were alone in the VIP room when Prince walked in. “We were just sitting there and noticed people getting nervous,’’ says Mascolo, owner of Trader Fred’s, a retail store on the island. “None of us could believe it was him.’’ Looking sharp in a dark jacket with a pocket square, the pop star was with an attractive woman who may or may not have been his current flame Bria Valente. “The handkerchief was perfect,’’ says Mascolo. “It looked like he was just about to walk on stage.’’ His companion had the salmon, and Prince, a vegetarian, ordered pasta with mushrooms and asparagus. (In case you’re wondering, she had a glass of wine and he sipped sparkling water.) At the end of the evening, when Mascolo’s friends — Lookout Tavern owner Mike Santoro, Northeastern lecturer Bob Sparks, and developer/builder Fred Walters — sang “Happy Birthday,’’ Prince did not. “I’d like to think he was singing it in his mind,’’ Mascolo told us, laughing. But when the deluxe dessert was brought out, the Purple One did perk up. Eyeing the flourless chocolate cake, he asked the waiter if he could get one to go. Then, clutching his doggy bag, the singer and his sweetheart ducked out a side door and into a cab. We hear the Artist Once Again Known as Prince is chilling at an Edgartown B&B. “Celebrities always show up off-season,’’ said Mascolo. “But he’s so unbelievably cool he’s his own genre.’’

A Cronin song
New York pop radio station Z100 has posted what is believed to be Rich Cronin’s last song on its website. The Kingston-bred musician, famous for fronting the Boston boy band LFO, died last week at 36 after a long battle with leukemia. According to Z100, Cronin wrote “It Only Gets Better’’ last year after reuniting with his old group. A line from the song: “I’m sitting on a cloud and I’m looking down/ Wish I could tell the world that it only gets better, it only gets better.’’ You can find a link to the song at

Some Light activity
Patriot Matt Light hosted his annual Matt Light Celebrity Shoot-Out at Addieville East Farm in Mapleville, R.I., yesterday. The event gives fans the chance to learn clay shooting with Light, his football friends, and celebs such as Lenny Clarke and Bode Miller. The day benefited the Light Foundation, which gives kids outdoor learning experiences.

Traveling ‘Salesman’
Attention must be paid: The production of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman’’ starring Christopher Lloyd will be performed on Oct. 4 at Roxbury Latin School. The school seems an unlikely venue for Lloyd, who won an Emmy for his role as the spacey Reverend Jim in “Taxi’’ and costarred with Michael J. Fox in “Back to the Future,’’ where he played Dr. Emmett Brown, an eccentric inventor who found a way to make a DeLorean sports car travel through time. But Cathy Marsh, the director of community services at the Weston Playhouse Theatre Company in Weston, Vt., under whose auspices Lloyd has been playing Willy Loman in “Salesman’’ since late August, confirmed yesterday that the Boston school will be the site of a public performance. A press release noted that the school will be the site of “the only Boston stop’’ on the New England tour of “Salesman.’’

Down under with Oprah
Marblehead book publicist Jocelyn Kelley, 31, was one of the lucky folks who won a free trip to Australia on the season premiere of “The Oprah Winfrey Show’’ last week. Kelley and her mom/business partner Gloria, who were in Oprah’s Chicago audience for the Thursday taping, will travel down under with the rest of the winners sometime in December. “We don’t know any details yet,’’ Jocelyn told us yesterday. “I do know that John Travolta is flying the plane. That’s a little overwhelming. All I can picture is Vinnie Barbarino.’’ Jocelyn won her way to Oprah’s final season premiere by writing an essay about how the long-running talk show has affected her life. Jocelyn joined Winfrey’s book club in high school and stayed active as a member through college and beyond. Her interest in books — and Winfrey’s power to draw attention to lesser-known authors — prompted her to start a book publicity company. One of Jocelyn’s clients wound up being Jacquelyn Mitchard, who wrote Winfrey’s first book club pick, “The Deep End of the Ocean.’’ Jocelyn said that when Oprah announced the trip to Australia, the audience went crazy. She says the scene was more hectic than it looked on TV. “They shot confetti for like 10 minutes,’’ she told us. “I’m an excited person in general, but some of these women topped even me.’’ The Kelleys say they’ll send us pictures from their upcoming trip, Vinnie Barbarino included.

Around town
Rocker Billy Idol, who played the House of Blues last night, was seen near Fenway Park before his gig looking somewhat confused by all of the hoopla around Lansdowne Street. Sorry, Billy, those camera crews weren’t out there for you. Both Idol and Affleck were at the Four Seasons earlier in the day. . . . Planet Hollywood founder Robert Earl was in Boston to plan the opening of his Buca di Beppo restaurants, and was spotted yesterday at the Seaport Hotel.

Web head
“He was a skinny boy who felt stronger on the inside than he looked on the outside, and I related to it immediately.” — Andrew Garfield, who’ll star in the next Spider-man movie, on why he relates to the superhero.

Don Aucoin of the Globe staff and Globe correspondents Rachel Zarrell and Emma Stickgold contributed. Read the Names blog at Names can be reached at or at 617-929-8253.