The mural to the story of Sandler’s new film

Sonya Abbott in front of the new mural at Brookline’s First Parish Church. Sonya Abbott in front of the new mural at Brookline’s First Parish Church. (Essdras M Suarez/Globe Staff)
By Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein
July 29, 2011

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The First Parish Church in Brookline didn’t have any plans to redecorate. But when Adam Sandler and the crew with the local comedy “Donny’s Boy’’ asked the church if they could not only film in the building but repaint its mural, First Parish agreed. “They did it and we love it and we’re keeping it,’’ said Sonya Abbott, the parish administrator. Abbott, who showed us the new mural yesterday, said the movie filmed on site for four days. She told us that the artist responsible for the new sky scene is Providence’s own mural maven Johan Bjurman. Abbott said she couldn’t disclose how much the church was paid for its role in the film, but writer Julia Angley wrote that the First Parish earned “tens of thousands’’ for its participation. Angley also wrote that “Donny’s Boy’’ transformed First Parish, a Unitarian-Universalist congregation, into a Catholic church for the film because the movie’s producers didn’t get permission from the Archdiocese to film in any of its local buildings. “Donny’s Boy,’’ which costars Andy Samberg, Leighton Meester, and Susan Sarandon, is now filming scenes on the Cape.

Glen Johnson of the Globe staff contributed. Read the Names blog at Names can be reached at or at 617-929-8253.