Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

June 20, 2013

Cameras roll at Mass. School of Law

Courtroom turns into set for independent film

By Bill Kirk
bkirk@andovertownsman.com

---- — It was their big chance. Well, sort of.

A slice of Hollywood came to Andover this week as a low-budget, independent film was shot at Massachusetts School of Law on Federal Street Monday and Tuesday.

Dozens of extras, many from the area, took part in the filming of “The Minister’s Wife,” a true story about a woman who was murdered by her husband, a Texas pastor.

Two of the extras were from Andover: Pam Wilkie, 53, and her 15-year-old daughter, Montana, of Knoll Crest Drive.

It was Wilkie’s first time in a movie, and she took her daughter out of school for two days so they could share the experience.

Wilkie’s role as a member of the jury required her to “sit and listen intently.”

She said the actors are so good, “it feels like a real trial.”

Her daughter said she hopes to get into film-making as a career.

“It’s really interesting,” she said. “I enjoy it.”

As she and her mother waited with about 60 other extras in an adjacent lecture hall between takes, they were informed by Joanne Murphy, the costume designer for the film, to be meticulous about how they dressed for the second day of filming.

“You have to wear the same clothing,” said Murphy, of Lowell, who pointed out that while the courtroom scenes were being shot over two days, the legal proceedings spanned just one day in the script.

Although the project is primarily being filmed in Worcester, the production crew, actors and extras for the film company, Secrets Movie LLC, took over the mock courtroom on the second floor of the school for the trial scenes.

“We were scouting courthouses around the state and found this,” said Andrea Ajemian, co-producer and line-producer for the movie. “This worked out lovely and the school has been great.”

Massachusetts School of Law Professor Michael Coyne, who is also serving as the legal consultant on the movie, said the venue has been featured before in movies, as well as hosted actual court sessions by the Massachusetts Appeals Court.

“We want the school to be used as an educational vehicle for the public,” Coyne said. “We invited students and graduates to be extras. There are a lot of alumni sitting in the audience. It’s exciting to have a real movie being filmed here.”