Upham's Corner Online

The Heat and Sandra Bullock - Car Explosion in Uphams Corner

"The Heat"  Starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy

In "The Heat", a buddy-cop comedy starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, an FBI agent teams up with a Boston police officer to take down a Russian mobster. Filming began in Dudley Square on Thursday, July 5 at the old police station.  What better use for this abandoned site than as a movie set. 

Ms. Bullock reportedly has only five weeks to film her part due to other commitments  to her CBS sitcom Mike & Molly. All of the actors will be shooting in Boston through September 5.  "The Heat" is not the only film Sandra is working on. She recently completed filming on her first sci-fi thriller, Gravity, with George Clooney, about astronauts on a troubled return mission to Earth, which is due out next year.

Ms. Bullock is currently the highest paid actress in the world. The last time Sandra played a cop in a comedy was in Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous in 2005. At age 47, the Oscar winner is also a single mother to her two-year-old adopted son, Louis Bardo.

"The Heat" filming in Uphams Corner

The Heat and Sandra Bullock filiming in Uphams CornerBeginning Saturday, Aug. 25 at 8:00 AM, crews began setting up for filming in Uphams Corner.  The public draw was a scheduled car explosion on Norfolk Ave close to the old (now closed) Norfolk Tap. 

As Sunday afternoon, the expected time of the car explosion, drew near, parking and access became more restricted on Norfolk Avenue between East Cottage Street and Burrell Street in addition to East Cottage Street between Humphreys Street and Columbia Road to facilitate stunt work.

On Sunday morning around 9am, the movie production was very much alive with East Cottage Street lined with semi-trailers associated with the filming.  You could still walk down the west side of Norfolk but driving was restricted. 

By Sunday afternoon (2pm), walking was  prohibited and "the crowd" was restricted to the Diamond Window side of East Cottage.

Bystanders were quick to point out a black SUV driving towards them in which they said they had seen Sandra Bullock earlier in the afternoon.  While the movie filming was scheduled from 7AM to 9PM on Sunday, the explosion was expected sometime between 2 and 4PM.

Because area residents and onlookers (some from very far away) were being kept a long distance from the Norfolk Tap, it wasn't clear how much of the car explosion would be visible to the public, but everyone expected to hear a loud BOOM. 

Remarkable Transformation of a Forgotten Section of Boston

The Heat and Sandra Bullock filiming in Uphams CornerOne of the residents who lives on Norfolk Ave - directly across from the Norfolk Tap - talked about how her section of Boston has been forgotten.  We are not, she said, a part of any civic organization and are ignored.  That may or may not be true, but for the "Sandra Bullock Weekend," it certainly wasn't.  Many of the homes with backyards had been rented by the film makers for all kinds of uses.  For a short-lived 48 hours, it was as if "The Queen" had come to town.

While street level vision of the car explosion was not possible, the rooftops and balconies made excellent lookouts.  Many of the area residents as well as this photographer took advantage of these more desireable locations to capture the excitement of the afternoon.  Thanks to friend Boris from Humphreys St Studios for access to an excellent (secret) shooting location.

East Cottage Street runs from the commuter rail tracks on the West, past the Humphreys Street and Norfolk Ave intersection where the hub of the filming was occurring and east towards Columbia Road.  Like wide open arms, the two sections of East Cottage Street Ave, east and west of Norfolk Ave, were lined with trucks.  The City of Boston opened up the old Maxwell Flea Market area for parking and Humphreys Street Studios allowed the production company to set up a huge tent where production staff could rest and also eat.

The dollars that this enterprise is dropping in the streets of Boston are amazing.

The Explosion - Fast, Brilliant and Followed by an After Burn

The Heat and Sandra Bullock filiming in Uphams CornerThroughout the day, Mr. Pyrotechnica walked the area with his notable backpack and long silvery hair.  He was the mastermind behind the bomb and other pyrotechnic paraphrenalia that made the explosion a success - excellent footage and safe for everyone, nullifying the potential work of the fire department and ambulances that had stood by the entire day.

While hard to see up close, the scene adjacent to the Norfolk Tap was busy from morning til 3:09pm, the moment of the explosion.  The SUV parked behind the orange lull with a silver car - the trigger car - in front.  Without being able to discern when the explosion would occur, all you could do is look for clues.  Around 3:10 the lull suddenly turned and moved away from behind the silver car and the SUV pulled up directly in back.  The people moved away and almost without warning, the explosion occurred like a single, loud firecracker.

Seconds of brilliant orange flames died down almost immediately to gray and black smoke but a small fire started underneath the frame of the car and quickly engulfed it.  Along came a gentleman (you can see this in the last photo) with a fire extinguisher and That was That !!  Two minutes of action.

Click here to see detailed photos of the car explosion and burning.

Photos below show the scene on Sunday morning and after the explosion, breaking for lunch.

The Heat and Sandra Bullock filiming in Uphams Corner
Sunday Morning citing the "shoot"
The Heat and Sandra Bullock filiming in Uphams Corner
Getting work done
The Heat and Sandra Bullock filiming in Uphams Corner

Mr. Pyrotechnica
The Heat and Sandra Bullock filiming in Uphams Corner
A sea of trucks along East Cottage Street
The Heat and Sandra Bullock filiming in Uphams Corner
With very friendly workers
The Heat and Sandra Bullock filiming in Uphams Corner
Huge tent in back of Humphreys Studios
The Heat and Sandra Bullock filiming in Uphams Corner
Breaking for lunch after the shoot
The Heat and Sandra Bullock filiming in Uphams Corner
Food being cooked
The Heat and Sandra Bullock filiming in Uphams Corner
Outside the tent, relaxing
Posted: August 26, 2012     Nancy J Conrad

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