Movies, Shutter Island

Scorsese goes to Wilson Mt. to film

A film crew climbed Wilson Mountain yesterday to shoot a new Martin Scorsese flick based on the 2004 novel “Shutter Island” written by Dennis Lehane, who also penned the popular “Mystic River.”

Parks and Recreation Department Administrative Assistant Millie Smart spotted “Goodfellas” director Scorsese from her office window yesterday morning in the parking lot using the back of her car as a makeshift desk to study scripts and maps.

And Assistant Director of Parks and Recreation Robert Stanley caught a few glimpses of the legendary director sitting in a black Mercedes in the parking lot of the Wilson Mountain recreation area off Rte. 135.

The Paramount Pictures production company was using the state-owned land to film a scene with actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo, playing two U.S. marshals in the wooded area.

The movie is set at the Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane on Shutter Island in 1954. The marshals are there to investigate the disappearance of a patient.

The film is slated to be released around October 2009, said a Paramount Pictures publicist, who preferred not to be named.

While the film is sometimes referred to as “Shutter Island,” Paramount has recently been using “Ashecliffe,” as the shooting title.

Signs with the word “Ashe” were posted along Rte. 135 yesterday, directing cast and crew to the filming location, the production’s “base camp” (behind Northeastern University’s Dedham campus) and breakfast and lunch were served in the gymnasium at Dolan Recreation Center.

The production hired three police officers to work details. The officers periodically stopped traffic along Rte. 135 during the morning to ensure that the noise of passing cars did not interfere with the filming.

Stanley, who spotted DiCaprio and Ruffalo arriving together at Wilson Mountain around 10 a.m., has been working for two weeks with Paramount to coordinate the Dedham visit. The location managers for the project used the Dolan center.

Paramount used horses to haul in trees to create a barrier trapping DiCaprio and Ruffalo in one of the scenes, said Stanley. Contrary to the fears of some residents, the company did not cut down trees during the filming, said Stanley.

The crew intended to wrap up shooting yesterday afternoon, but thunderstorms threatened to delay things. Crews might be back this morning to finish.

In the past several months, Scorsese has filmed other scenes at the former Medfield State Hospital, which closed in 2003, Whittenton Mills in Taunton and in the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area.

The film also stars Ben Kingsley and Michelle Williams. Neither was spotted in Dedham yesterday.