'Perfect Couple' To Begin Filming April 3

By: Tim Wood

Neighbors Voice Concerns Over Netflix Production

CHATHAM – The biggest film production in town since “The Finest Hours” is set to begin rolling on April 3.

Filming of the six-episode Netflix series “The Perfect Couple,” based on the novel by Elin Hildebrand, will continue through the second to the last week of June, with the final cleanup of locations beginning July 3, according to a filming permit approved by the select board Tuesday.

Approximately 110 crew members and actors will work on the production, according to the permit. The bulk of the filming, encompassing about 39 days, will take place at a private residence in the Eastward Point neighborhood. Filming is also scheduled to take place at vacant commercial space in North Chatham adjacent to Chatham Light Liquors. Other locations in town were initially identified but were later eliminated after a new production designer was hired for the show.

“These changes significantly reduce the impact on town resources,” Police Chief Michael Anderson said at the board's meeting Tuesday.

The cast for the production has not been officially announced. Producer John Stark said most of the crew will be from Massachusetts, and the cast and crew will be put up in local hotels.

While the production has generated excitement in town — particularly due to the reported casting of Nicole Kidman in a lead role — some Eastward Point homeowners are not happy with having their private neighborhood taken over by the production for several months. They're concerned about privacy, noise and sightseers overwhelming the private roads that lead to the residential area.

“A lot of people will want to look at this activity,” said Kim Burcin, who lives 100 feet away from the house where the filming will occur. “Sure, it sounds like fun, but as everyone knowns, not in my backyard. It's in my backyard.” She worried that sightseers will continue to come after the production has ended.

“The main concern is this is an enterprise that is inconsistent with the zoning of a residential community,” said Eastward Point resident Steve Fisher. “There's one way in and one way out of that neighborhood.”

After “exhaustive” communications, the production company negotiated an agreement with the Eastward Point Homeowners Association to provide security 24 hours a day during the filming and take other steps to minimize the impact on the neighborhood, said Stark. Neighborhood residents and their guests will be given passes and others will be turned away.

The production will be based at the former Stagg Chevrolet property in East Harwich, where cast and crew will arrive each day to be shuttled to the filming location. Equipment will remain at the filming location during the duration of the production, he said, to minimize vehicles entering and leaving the neighborhood.

“It's going to be as organized as we can possibly make it,” he said, adding that the producers will ensure that the concerns of the neighbors are addressed.

“It's important to me that this is a positive thing,” Stark said.

The agreement, drafted by the homeowners association, was signed by the production company, and association member Ted Atwood said he anticipated it being finalized this week.

The Eastward Road property will stand in for the story's “Summerland Estate,” the Nantucket home where a big society wedding is being held until a body washes up on shore, propelling along the show's murder mystery plot. Location manager Charlie Harrington said the production's Danish director chose the house. The conservation commission has already approved the addition of sand to the beach to mimic Nantucket's shoreline.

It's expensive to film on the Cape, Harrington said, because almost everyone involved has to be lodged in hotels. “The studio decided it was worth it with the look that we got here,” he said.

Stark said there would be an opportunity for local folks to be involved in the production. “That's all forthcoming,” he said.

Filming at the North Chatham location, which will stand in for the Nantucket Police Station, may require closing off traffic on Route 28 for exterior sequences, Harrington said. The producers are in touch with state highway officials to determine if that is the proper agency from which to obtain permits. No filming will be done on the water, although Harrington said he has discussed having a “no anchor” zone around the waterfront house with Harbormaster Stuart Smith during any exterior shoots.

The select board also authorized Town Manager Jill Goldsmith to enter into a separate agreement with the production company if further town resources or locations are required, which could entail payment in addition to the $150 permit fee. The last “location/facility agreement” between the town and a film production company was for the November 2014 filming of Disney film “The Finest Hours,” the true story of the 1952 rescue of the crew of the Pendleton.

The production company will provide town staff with daily and weekly updates during the production and provide contacts to deal with neighborhood inconveniences, Anderson said.

Chair Jeffrey Dykens urged the producers to pay attention to the neighborhood residents and do their best to alleviate their concerns.

“There's going to be interest,” he said. “You're filming with famous people, so it's going to be up to the production company to do a good job down there at Eastward Point.”