The title locale of “Hope Springs” was, after all, played by Stonington Borough, so why shouldn’t the village be celebrating?
And it is, with the Stonington Borough Merchants Association organizing a number of events related to the movie’s Wednesday opening.
It is offering up tickets to a “Hope Springs” preview screening Monday in Providence. Those screening passes will be given away at various borough events and locations — including the Stonington Village Farmer’s Market from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at Town Dock and the Village Fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Wadawanuck Square. Other pass giveaways will be announced on SBMA’s Facebook page (follow “Stonington Borough CT”).
Sony Pictures sent along some promotional items — printed plastic wine glasses, hats, posters — that the association will pass along to the public, too.
The association is also organizing a scavenger hunt — a search through the borough for bust-sized cut-outs of stars Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell. Details will go up on the association’s Facebook page about the different locales to which the photographic versions of the performers will move over the course of a day.
“You may find Meryl Streep at Yellow House one morning. You may find Tommy Lee Jones at Skipper’s one evening,” says Wendy Bury, director of community relations for the Stonington Borough Merchants Association.
The association is offering something called “Save the Stub: Be On Location with ‘Hope Springs.’” Folks who see the film can save their ticket stub and pick up a passport at Olde Mistick Village Art Cinemas or Stonington Regal Cinemas. The passport includes discounts for 15 to 20 borough businesses, available through Sept. 16.
The Stonington Historical Society, meanwhile, will hold tours highlighting sites where “Hope Springs” was filmed. Walking tours head out from the Old Lighthouse Museum at 2 p.m. Aug. 12. Those cost $7 ($3 for kids), and you don’t need reservations.
Boat tours — sponsored by the Stonington Borough Merchants Association and Dodson’s — will depart from Dodson’s boatyard at 7 p.m. Aug. 11 and 9 a.m. Aug. 12. Tickets are $25, but call to make reservations, since the boat can only accommodate 20 people.
Bury says, “If we can draw attention to the fact that Stonington Borough was used as the location, as this beautiful getaway place for a couple to come and rekindle their flame, we will do whatever we can to let people know it IS a great place to come and visit.”
Bury is aware that “Hope Springs” won’t necessarily bring the renown to the borough that “Mystic Pizza” did to Mystic.
“It’s not called ‘The Borough Springs’ or anything like that. So we can’t ride the wave of name recognition,” Bury says.
“Certainly, we had a great time. I can honestly say, that was two to four weeks of a great time for the borough. The amount of money that filming funneled into our local economy was tremendous.”
Eventually, the association hopes to set up signs at each location used in “Hope Springs,” explaining how it was featured in the film and a behind-the-scenes shot. They didn’t want to proceed with that, though, until they knew which sites made the final cut.
Bury says the borough looked stunning in the movie trailer.
“We have a lot of local residents who were extras. Our community residents are in the movie. People’s bicycles and boats and houses were used. The whole borough was taken over,” she says.
Bury spoke with the location manager about why the “Hope Springs” people chose the borough as a film site, and she heard back that it was a great location and was very welcoming.
“We hope to get the word out that the borough, the town of Stonington, this whole area is a great place to film a movie,” Bury says.