In my backyard: behind-the-scenes look at Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz film shot in Bridgewater (2024)

Rebecca Hyman| Wicked Local

Early on in the new film “Knight and Day,” Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz are sitting alone in an Indiana cornfield when the airplane he just crash-landed suddenly explodes in a giant fireball.

Only in real life, the cornfield wasn’t in Indiana. It was off Curve Street in Bridgewater. And the movie stars were far from alone.

But the explosion was breathtakingly real.

Dozens of friends and neighbors packed into Erin Pochay’s backyard on that early fall night to get a glimpse of the action when the special effects explosion was set off.

Pochay, 17, just happens to live on the part of Curve Street with the best view of the cornfield where Cruise and Diaz spent two days last year filming scenes for the romantic comedy/action flick/spy thriller then tentatively titled “Wichita” that premiered June 16 as “Knight and Day.”

Pochay, who saw the movie with her mother on Sunday night in East Bridgewater, said the explosion was much more impressive in person.

“It was a little disappointing,” Pochay said.

The actual pyrotechnics sent a fireball 200-feet in the air on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 26 at about 5:30 a.m.

Pochay, then a Bridgewater-Raynham senior, and many of her classmates, her parents, their friends and neighbors staged an all-night camp out in the backyard. The explosion was thrilling but the makeshift block party was even more fun, she said.

Quite a few of the town’s emergency personnel were called on to be extras in the film in addition to the weeks they spent helping to orchestrate the logistics of bringing in a commercial airliner in chunks, ensuring the safety of the neighborhood during the explosion, coordinating traffic and managing would-be star gazers.

Fire Chief George Rogers said his scene ended up on the cutting room floor.

Rogers, who caught the premiere in Randolph, said there were a lot of Bridgewater residents in the audience that night.

Right after the explosion, the movie cuts away to Diaz’s Boston apartment, where she turns on the television to watch real life Boston newscaster Scott Wahle’s coverage of the plane crash.

In the background is a Bridgewater fire truck posing as an Indiana fire truck and two Bridgewater police officers dressed as Indiana state troopers lifting up the yellow caution tape, Rogers said. He’s not positive, but he thinks it was officers Joseph Demoura and Robert Gray Jr.

Then the camera follows Diaz around the apartment while the audio continues to play Wahle at the scene of the crash in Indiana/Bridgewater.

“That was our scene,” Rogers said with a good-natured chuckle.

Rogers said he was surprised the Bridgewater scenes amounted to so little screen time.

“It was two days of filming and the total Bridgewater scene was probably 1 1/2 minutes,” he said.

“The comment we heard was that was a $1 million shot to bring the plane in and the pyrotechnics. I don’t know if that’s accurate,” he said.

But if it is an accurate reflection of the tab, that was an expensive 90 seconds, he said.

All in all, Rogers said “Knight and Day” was a great experience for him personally and a great opportunity for the town. The movie studio personnel were all exceptionally professional and friendly. The town made a little money.

And the filming of a major motion picture will go down in the annals of Bridgewater history.

Rogers said he thought the final product was excellent. Cruise and Diaz have great chemistry, he said.

“It was very good, very entertaining, with a lot of action, and it was pretty funny,” Rogers said.

Erin Pochay disagreed on that score. She said she thought the movie was pretty bad, though she added that action-film fans might enjoy some of the chase scenes.

That includes a “chase” scene in Spain with Cruz and Diaz on a motorcycle during the running of the bulls. You get the picture. Diaz also ends up backwards on the handlebars of the same motorcycle, while Cruise does the driving honors and she shoots the bad guys.

But the international intrigue isn’t what had Pochay on the edge of her seat. She was more focused on the local angle.

“I was watching for the cornfield scene. When they were filming the dialogue, that’s when the crew was asking us to be quiet. Now, we finally got to hear what they were saying,” said Pochay, who will be heading off to Framingham State College this fall.

Bridgewater Police Lt. Christopher Delmonte said about 10 Bridgewater police officers worked as extras on the film, including himself.

Delmonte said they asked the crew why they didn’t just use special effects instead going to the trouble of blowing up a real plane.

“We were told special effects are very expensive,” he said.

Delmonte, who has not yet seen the film, said he does not know if he made the final cut.

Some of the officers wore SWAT masks, some played police officers in uniform and others in plain clothes, he said.

Delmonte and several other members of the regional tactical team played members of an Austrian SWAT team who burst into a room in a sophisticated, old-world hotel in Salzburg, Austria.

“Knight and Day” did a lot of shooting in Salzburg, but not that scene. That was shot on a sound stage in good old Woburn, Delmonte said.

“Some of the foreign-looking scenes were filmed here,” Delmonte said.

He said the SWAT team extras all wore black hoods, so no one else will recognize them, but they’ll recognize themselves if they made it into the movie.

“We’ll know because we had to do the same thing 25 times,” Delmonte said.

Delmonte said he’s heard from people who have seen the film his 9-year-old twins, who played extras in the airport scene, definitely made the cut.

His son and daughter are in the background sitting next to each other with their two “parents” during a pivotal scene in which Cruise bumps into Diaz, Delmonte said. That Wichita, Kan. Airport, by the way, is actually the Worcester Regional Airport.

Delmonte said his son was unfazed by the experience but his daughter really enjoyed it and seems to have caught the acting bug.

An enormous amount of preparation went into the shoot to make sure it was safe, caused as little disruption to residents as possible and went as smoothly as possible for the film company, he said.

All the utilities had to raise their lines along the route when the fuselage of the plane was transported into town, a tree trimming company had to cut low branches along the route and the highway department was out with a loader in case the fuselage got stuck at a street or railroad crossing. There were punch lists, meetings, safety plans and coordination with the transportation and shooting companies.

But all of that effort was worth it, he said.

“At the end of the day, it was a great experience. It was economically a boost for the town and spiritually a boost for people,” Delmonte said.

Delmonte recalled what Kokayi Ampah, supervising location manager for Twentienth Century Fox, told residents at an informational session prior to the filming. Ampah said Bridgewater is the kind of town Hollywood tries to recreate on movie sets.

“He said, ‘Millions of dollars are spent trying to reproduce what you already have here, the architecture, the landscape, the geography, the history,’” Delmonte said.

In my backyard: behind-the-scenes look at Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz film shot in Bridgewater (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rev. Leonie Wyman

Last Updated:

Views: 5980

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (79 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rev. Leonie Wyman

Birthday: 1993-07-01

Address: Suite 763 6272 Lang Bypass, New Xochitlport, VT 72704-3308

Phone: +22014484519944

Job: Banking Officer

Hobby: Sailing, Gaming, Basketball, Calligraphy, Mycology, Astronomy, Juggling

Introduction: My name is Rev. Leonie Wyman, I am a colorful, tasty, splendid, fair, witty, gorgeous, splendid person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.