Brown to appear in Fred Durst’s directorial debut

Tax incentives help draw 'The Education of Charlie Banks' to Rhode Island

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Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Brown briefly morphed into fictional “Ashby College” over the summer, as camera crews came to Providence to shoot “The Education of Charlie Banks,” an independent coming-of-age film set in the 1980s. Due out in 2007, the film – which marks the directorial debut of Limp Bizkit front man Fred Durst – follows a college student who is visited by a bully from his home neighborhood.

Charlie, played by Jesse Eisenberg of “The Squid and the Whale,” is rooming with his best friend from childhood (Chris Marquette) when Mick (Jason Ritter) shows up and demands protection from the law. The cast also includes Eva Amurri ’07, who played Cassandra in 2004’s “Saved!” and has appeared in other movies with her mother, Susan Sarandon. Amurri, already on the set of her next project, was not available for comment.

The film, written by Peter Elkoff and produced by Marisa Polvino and Michael Corrente, is financed in part by Iridium Studios.

Though the original script called for Charlie to attend Vassar College in New York, “they later changed it to a fictitious small college; Brown is not being identified,” said Michael Chapman, vice president for public affairs and University relations. Chapman’s office worked with film crews during their stay on campus.

Beginning in June, cameras filmed in high-traffic on-campus locations like the Main Green and the Blue Room as well as a house on Charlesfield Street the University rents to students. University administrators intended “to make impact as minimal as possible on campus over the summer,” Chapman said. The film crews also shot at St. George’s School in Middletown, R.I., the Providence Athenaeum on Benefit Street and in New York City.

While filming on campus is not very common, a tax incentive measure passed in July 2005 may be drawing more productions, especially independent ones, to Rhode Island, Chapman said. Also, production crews “really wanted to shoot some scenes at Brown because of the beauty of the campus,” Chapman said.

In a June interview with the Providence Journal, Polvino said the tax incentive measure was “one of the reasons everyone is flocking here.” The law, which exempts studios from some of the state’s sales and hotel taxes and encourages them to hire local workers, may have been a factor in the Providence filming of “Underdog,” a movie due out in 2007, and “Waterfront,” a CBS series to be broadcast in the spring of 2007.

While characters in the Fox series “The O.C.” attend Brown, the episodes are filmed at the University of Southern California and the producers have “no plans to shoot (on campus) at the moment,” Chapman said.

As to whether any more filming at Brown is imminent, Chapman said “(the University has) been in discussion with ‘Waterfront’ about the possibility of having them shoot some scenes.” Chapman added that on-campus filming will likely be infrequent.

For students who remained on campus over the summer, the filming of “Charlie Banks” provided an opportunity to be immortalized onscreen as Ashby students. “I wore this fake college t-shirt (for Ashby College), way too tight jeans, and these crazy shoes,” said John Brougher ’06, who served as an extra for a day of filming. Those who participated in the shot, which included about 25 students on the Main Green, received a free lunch at the Unitarian Church on Benevolent Street, Brougher said.

“I felt like a clown … but they were really on schedule and professional about it,” he said.