The North Shore has seen no shortage of celebrity sightings over the past several years, while A-list actors continue to film in the Boston and north of Boston areas. The most recent film to make its way to our corner of the world is The Tender Bar, directed by George Clooney and starring Ben Affleck.
In late February, Clooney and his crew began filming for the coming-of-age drama in Lowell and Watertown. They’ve since shot scenes in Cambridge, Boston, and Chestnut Hill, and will film in parts of the North Shore, too, specifically Beverly.
The film is based on the book The Tender Bar: A Memoir by Pulitzer Prize-winner author J.R. Moehringer. Published in 2005, the story follows a young J.R. (played by Ready Player One’s Tye Sheridan) growing up on Long Island who seeks out father figures at his uncle’s bar since his own father, a New York disc jockey, vanished when J.R. was a baby. The regulars at his uncle’s bar on the corner ultimately welcome the boy into their circle.
J.R. eventually leaves town to attend Yale—Cambridge’s Lesley University was recently seen decked out as Yale for the film. Lily Rabe, of American Horror Story fame, plays J.R.’s mother, while Affleck portrays his Uncle Charlie.
Award-winning writer William Monahan wrote The Tender Bar’s script. Monahan won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Departed. Clooney and Grant Heslov, his producing partner, will produce the film through their Smokehouse Pictures banner, with distribution handled by Amazon Studios.
Clooney has been called “warm and personable” by locals in Lowell who chatted with him during the first day of filming, reported Boston.com. Some of Clooney’s other directing credits include The Ides of March, Good Night and Good Luck, and Live by Night, which shot some scenes in Lawrence and North Andover.
Two other big-budget films have come to Massachusetts just in 2021 alone. The day before The Tender Bar started to shoot, filming wrapped for Don’t Look Up, a Netflix dark comedy starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Evans, Meryl Streep, and Timothée Chalamet. And in late 2020 through 2021, Schitt’s Creek star Annie Murphy was in town for her new AMC Networks’ Kevin Can F*** Himself, a dark series produced by Rashida Jones that subverts stereotypical sitcom gender roles.
In the past few years, the North Shore specifically has seen filming for two other large-scale productions: 2019 blockbuster Little Women, and Netflix’s Hubie Halloween starring Adam Sandler.
The Tender Bar’s release date is yet to be announced. Filming is expected to wrap by late April.