Filming for ‘Chappaquiddick’ gets green light from Edgartown selectmen

Movie producers came up with a plan to minimize disruptions.

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Vehicles line up on an August evening for the Chappy ferry. - Nelson Sigelman

On Monday night, Kia Quinlin, a representative for Los Angeles–based production company Apex Entertainment, presented Edgartown selectmen with a revised filming schedule for the movie “Chappaquiddick.”

The film revisits the events of the evening of July 18, 1969, when a young Senator Ted Kennedy drove his Oldsmobile off the Dike Bridge with 28-year-old passenger Mary Jo Kopechne inside. Senator Kennedy managed to swim free and made it across the water to Edgartown, but left the scene after attempting to free Ms. Kopechne, according to reports at the time. Her body and the automobile were removed from the water the next day.

Last week, selectman Margaret Serpa was skeptical of the proposed filming schedule, which would have called for closing Daggett Street, a beach parking lot, taking down road signs, and other requests. She asked the film’s location managers to come back this week “and try and work out some of the concerns.”

On Monday, Ms. Quinlin told the selectmen that she had a “simplified plan” that begins at 6:30 am and ends around 7:30 pm on Wednesday, Sept. 7, eliminating filming a second day altogether.

According to the new schedule, filming at Dike Road, the bridge, and the parking lot will take place from 6 am to 9:30 am, followed by filming at the intersection of Chappy Road and Dike Road until approximately 11:30 am. Ms. Quinlin said they would require the assistance of the Edgartown police department during that timeframe.

The rest of the day will be spent at the Edgartown ferry landing and shooting on the ferry and alongside the ferry, so as not to interrupt service.

Chappy ferry owner Peter Wells and Edgartown police chief David Rossi were both at the meeting.

The selectmen deferred to them. “Everything’s all right,” Mr. Wells told them. “It’s good.”

Town administrator Pam Dolby said she had received an email from Chris Kennedy, the Martha’s Vineyard Superintendent for The Trustees of Reservations. “Chris Kennedy said he’s fine with it,” Ms. Dolby said.

The selectmen said as long as the movie crew was working with the police chief, the ferry owner, and Mr. Kennedy, and they were satisfied, the work could go ahead as planned.

Selectman Michael Donaroma had one question about filming on the ferry: “This is supposed to be the ’60s; are you gonna find anyone standing there without a cell phone?”