📷 A sign outside of Route 12 Convenience in Oxford welcomes Liam Neeson to town.
By Sarah Champagne, Managing Editor
OXFORD – Local residents were surprised to learn last week that a star or two might be in their midst. News circulated quickly that Hollywood had come to Oxford and a production crew was in town to film scenes for an upcoming movie called Honest Thief. The movie stars Liam Neeson and Kate Walsh in a story about a high-stakes criminal who falls in love with a woman and then wants to change his ways to lead an honest life. The lead character, played by Irish actor Neeson, has a hard time disentangling himself from a life of crime.
Scenes for the action movie were filmed at Life Storage in Oxford. Life Storage had recently bought the property at 90 Main Street from Uncle Bob’s Storage and has built a large multi-story indoor storage facility. The indoor storage units supplement the former all outdoor-facing rows of storage units on the property.
The setting must have seemed ideal to movie scouts because the main characters in Honest Thief meet at a storage facility. The repentant thief of the title has loot stashed in a storage unit and the woman he falls in love with works at that storage facility.
Diane Piegza, Vice President of Corporate Communications for Life Storage, said that it is not the first time that the company has been asked for use of one of the company’s sites for films or other projects. She says that Oxford-based employees of the company had been working in a trailer that was made into office space as the new storage facility was being built.
“We just expanded and built a new facility, so the timing worked out for us and for the production company,” Piegza says. “We could have our associates work out of the office trailer for another week or so.”
Piegza and the Oxford-based employees couldn’t comment specifically on whether or not any of the units in the new building had been rented out yet, but Piegza noted the “clean slate” of the new building lent itself to filming. Logos or other branding for Life Storage, based out of Buffalo, New York, will not be seen in the movie.
“We make sure our customers are not inconvenienced. If there is anything unusual going on, we would also contact our customers ahead of time,” Piegza comments.
Oxford locals tried to get a glimpse of the filming as crews set up outside of the newly built facility. Large screens and lights, cranes and other equipment filled the parking lot facing the busy road Tuesday, Nov. 6 through Thursday, Nov. 8. Pedestrians were allowed to stand nearby and watch the crew work. A police officer stayed near the entrance to the property during filming. Police officers may have had to monitor traffic on the busy section of road; once word got out that a movie starring Kate Walsh and Liam Neeson was being filmed at the location, motorists would slow down, even to a near stop, to try to catch a glimpse.
Locals did not report any sightings of either celebrity, but many held out hope. A sign outside the nearby Route 12 Convenience store was changed to temporarily read “Welcome Liam” for the duration of the local filming. The crew parked and had meals at the nearby American Legion hall and several trailers for production personnel filled the lot next door to Life Storage, where Five Star Soccer Academy and K’s Ambulance Service have headquarters.
An employee at Route 12 Convenience said that the store’s owners had put out the sign to express the excitement and buzz around town about the filming. She said that she didn’t know if anyone from the production, or Neeson himself, had seen the sign but that someone had come in and bought twelve bags of ice early that morning.
“That’s got to be something, right? What kind of local buys twelve bags of ice on a morning in New England? In November?” she asked.
The Oxford site was the first to be used for the part of filming listed as taking place in “Boston.” In fact, the first trivia item for the film on IMBd.com has been posted, referring to the Oxford filming site.
The production has now moved on to Worcester, where several scenes have been filmed downtown near the DCU Center.