Our Rhode Island Hachi experience was something I could never have imagined! There were so many highlights with making Hachi: A Dog’s Tale. From my remote island life in the South Pacific, suddenly- I was in the middle of a film production.
Rhode Island Hachi Welcoming
When we first arrived, the Rhode Island Hachi welcoming was more than we could’ve wanted! They gave us an official welcome that included House Speaker William Murphy, Senate President Joseph A. Montalbano, Secretary of State Ralph Mollis, Attorney General Patrick Lynch, University of Rhode Island President Dr. Robert Carothers, and an assortment of legislators and local news media – a powerful group all to welcome us!
There was a short ceremony for us, then Mr. Murphy presented our star and co-producer Richard Gere with a resolution from the House of Representatives.
He joked that it may be the only legislative bill that passed with unanimous consent.
Mr. Montalbano, on behalf of the Senate, praised Richard for “your humanitarian efforts across the globe.” He listed Richard’s efforts on behalf of the non-profit organization, Tibet House, and Survival International, which helps tribal cultures.
Mr. Randy Rosenbaum, executive director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, and Mr. Steven Feinberg, executive director of the Rhode Island Film and Television Office, spoke of how filming in the “Ocean State” boosted the state’s economy, something we were all happy to help with.
Richard had been in Washington, D.C. the previous day, working on behalf of one of his causes, including AIDS funding, and expected a low-key meeting with the governor. He was “bowled over” by the filled rotunda. As I looked around from our seats in the middle of the room, every space was filled with bystanders; such a powerful sight.
Choosing Rhode Island for Hachi Production
New York City would have been his first choice for commuting purposes as he and Lasse lived there, but the production costs were prohibitive. He said the producers looked at Connecticut, but it was Rhode Island’s film tax credit program that closed the deal.
Back when Richard was 17, he took his father’s car and drove from Syracuse, N.Y., to the Newport Folk Festival. “I got pulled over. And I just want to know if he is here today.” He then turned and pointed to Capitol Police Chief William Habershaw, standing next to him, and joked, “You look very familiar!”
The Star’s Pull Toward the Spotlight
After the ceremony, the entire room seemed to tilt towards Richard’s position! Female fans were anxious to get his autograph or a photo with him. Lasse Hallstrom (our director) and I did all we could to keep out of the traffic. It was fascinating to see a star’s magnetic pull- first hand.
The Rhode Island Hachi production was everything we wanted — and needed. This film could not have been possible without this amazing state and all the support we received! It was truly a blessing Hachi himself would’ve been eager to see!
How much did you like seeing Hachi: A Dog’s Tale filmed in Rhode Island?