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Hallmark movie shoots in southeastern Connecticut

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On Monday morning, Stonington Town Hall was operating as usual inside, but out front, it was all about moviemaking.

Members of the film crew, dressed in black coats and wearing black masks, were busy doing their various jobs and getting everything ready for the simple scene about to be shot. The cameras were set. The performers were in their places. Then, an actress bedecked in an off-white-and-black polka-dotted dress strode up to the front of the building, climbed the stairs, opened the door and stepped into Town Hall, all as she crossed paths with a couple of extras.

Done. Then, the cameras moved to different locations and reshot the dialogue-free scene from a different angle.

This was just part of the local shoot for the Hallmark movie “Sand Dollar Cove,” which is based on the Nancy Naigle book of the same name.

It stars Chad Michael Murray, who played Lucas Scott on “One Tree Hill,” and Aly Michalka, who was on “Hellcats” and “iZombie” and is part of the music group Aly & AJ.

“Sand Dollar Cove” is set to premiere on Hallmark on June 26.

In the story, Elli (played by Michalka) is a real estate development project manager who is trying to acquire beachfront property in the fictional Connecticut town of Sand Dollar Cove. (In the book, the tale is set in North Carolina.) Her company wants to build a resort. When she meets the local guy who holds the deed (Murray) to the land, though, tension — and then romantic tension — spark.

Would welcome them back

Stonington First Selectwoman Danielle Chesebrough said, “We’re excited they chose to film in Stonington. … We had a previous Hallmark movie (shot here), we’ve obviously had the Meryl Steep movie (“Hope Springs”) in the past and some others, so we’re hoping we become known for being welcoming and easy to work with, and maybe they’ll come back more.”

She added, “It’s great that people take notice of where movies are filmed, and they might want to come (to Stonington) and check it out and see how cute it is.”

The Hallmark movie is a romance, so it was fitting that, as the production filmed outdoors, a couple was inside Stonington Town Hall getting their marriage license. Michael Albin said it was interesting to see the movie being shot and joked there’s no Hallmark movie about fiancée Justine Rychling and him, but who knows? The couple from Plainfield is getting married on Saturday in Mystic.

Filmed here before

“Sand Dollar Cove” is produced by Synthetic Cinema International, the Rocky Hill-based company that has shot a number of movies in southeastern Connecticut, including last year’s “Stalker’s Prey 3,” 2018’s “A Very Nutty Christmas” with Melissa Joan Hart, and 2014’s “Wishin’ and Hopin’” with Molly Ringwald and Meat Loaf. Those three all aired on Lifetime.

Synthetic also filmed “Holiday for Heroes” for Hallmark primarily in Stonington in 2019.

And Citrola Casting had been seeking people who wanted to be extras in this film in the Mystic area.



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