Boston has long been used as a setting for Hollywood films, documentaries, and plays. But South Boston, in particular, has provided a rich and powerful background for these stories that have become cult classics or won countless awards.
The latest: Another reality show is set to premiere about boxing.
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The Discovery Channel will air an eight-part reality show series following the visitors of Peter Welch’s Gym on Dorchester Avenue.
The premiere is set for January 23.
Hatfield and McCoys
An NBC crew is currently filming a pilot for a modern-day version of a violent West Virginia family rivalry from the 1800s.
Crews will be filming across South Boston as a stand in for Pittsburgh. The Globe reported that the show stars Sophia Bush, Rebecca De Mornay, and Virginia Madsen.
Pictured: A street sign in Matewan, W.Va., that bears the names of the two families that once waged the country's most famous feud in this Appalachian region. Next
Johnny Depp, the Oscar-nominated actor who’s been a pirate, vampire, and the Mad Hatter, signed on to portray Whitey Bulger in a movie based on the book “Black Mass.”
But then financing fell through and Depp backed out of the project.
The film, about the cooperation between the FBI and the Irish Mob, was going to be directed by Oscar winner Barry Levinson.
Pictured: Johnny Depp in “Donnie Brasco.” Next
CBS recently announced that it picked up a pilot from Dedham High School grad Brian Gallivan, who is also a Second City vet and writer for “Happy Endings."
The show will be called "The McCarthys” and will be a single-camera comedy based on Gallivan’s life as the only gay son of a sports-loving Irish-Catholic family in Boston.
Pictured: Brian Gallivan performed "Sassy Gay Friend" at the Improv Asylum in Boston in 2010. Next
The 4th Reich
It was recently announced that Oscar winner Robert De Niro and his producing partner Jane Rosenthal are putting together a television drama set in South Boston about neo-Nazis called “The 4th Reich.”
The Showtime channel project is described as “American History X” meets “The Town” about a former leader of the group that turns into an FBI informant. Next
The romantic comedy “The Makeover” will air on the Hallmark Hall of Fame and was recently filmed around Boston.
The story’s a modern-day retelling of “Pygmalion,” about a Boston guy with a Southie accent groomed by actress Julia Stiles to run for office.
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Whitey Bulger project
Ben Affleck and Matt Damon said they will team up for a movie about South Boston native James “Whitey” Bulger.
Damon has indicated he would play the role of the Boston mobster who has been charged with 19 slayings.
“Southie Rules,’’ a television show featuring a South Boston family battling the “relentless gentrification of their neighborhood,’’ will premiere on the A&E Network on January 29.
According to the network, the family will battle the onslaught of “yuppies, sushi restaurants and $5 cups of coffee.’’
Alec Baldwin’s character, Jack Donaghy, grew up in South Boston in a fictional town called Sadchester, Massachusetts.
His mother blamed him for John F. Kennedy’s death and his childhood sweetheart, played by Julianne Moore, also grew up in Southie.
Moore’s accent, has been criticized, but she said she based it off dialect she picked up while working at a Bar when she attended BU.
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South Boston’s influence has extended into video games with the character knows as “Scout” in “Team Fortress 2,” a competitive onlinegame.
His biography online states that he is the youngest of eight boys from the south side of Boston.
“With seven older brothers on his side, fights tended to end before the runt of the litter could maneuver into punching distance, so the Scout trained himself to run. He ran everywhere, all the time, until he could beat his pack of mad dog siblings to the fray.”
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Playwright David Lindsay-Abaire set his most recent play in his former hometown of South Boston.
“Good People” opened in 2011 and did not include the typical Hollywood tropes of its Southie setting-- there were no criminals, drugs, or corpses. The play was about regular folks trying to make ends meet.
The play was a critical success in New York and won a Tony Award for actress Frances McDormand. Next
The latest film to feature South Boston is our very own Ben Affleck (pictured, with Jon Hamm). ‘The Town’ features an all-star cast, including ‘Mad Men’ star Jon Hamm and Black Lively from ‘Gossip Girl.’ Next
Gone Baby Gone
Ben Affleck’s directorial debut was shot in Dorchester and in South Boston and highlighted some of the famous bars and streets in those neighborhoods.
The Globe’s Ty Burr wrote that the movie was authentically Boston because it was “anchored throughout by an insider’s knowledge of this particular street, that specific turn of phrase, this local actor cast in a key bit part. The sag of a three-decker and the sag on the faces of the people who live there.”
Eliza Dushku played the role of a rough-talking killer in the WB show, “Buffy the Vampire Killer.”
Her character’s origin was from South Boston and was known to say odd catch phrases, like “five by five.” Next
Martin Scorsese finally won an Oscar as director of this 2006 film. Jack Nicholson’s character had similarities with Whitey Bulger, the infamous mobster from Southie who has been listed on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list for years. Next
Clint Eastwood’s dark and powerful account of childhood sexual abuse and violence was released at the height of the Catholic church abuse scandals in Boston and elsewhere around the world. It also marked the resurgence of movies filmed in Boston. Parts of the film were shot in and around South Boston.
The film, which was about Catholic vigilantes who vow to rid Boston of its crime, developed a cult following despite having a very limited first release. It is mostly filmed in South Boston, and it has achieved astounding success since. Next
What could be more Boston than the Wahlbergs? ‘Southie’ starred the older Wahlberg, Donnie, as a New York-returned South Boston native who struggles with the Irish mafia, family and friends. Next
Good Will Hunting
Local boys Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were successful in making this film synonymous with Boston. Damon’s character hailed from South Boston, and his accent was spot on.
This romantic comedy about television news featured William Hurt’s character as an ambitious charismatic news anchor.
In one of the first scenes of the movie, Hurt’s younger alter ego tells his father, “You’re never going to leave South Boston and I’m gonna see the whole damn world.” Next
Paul Newman (pictured) starred as alcoholic lawyer Frank Galvin, who gets a shot at redemption when he takes on a medical negligence case. Although the film was mostly shot in New York, Southie played a large part in the film, from the William F. Spencer Funeral Home at 575 East Broadway to George’s Variety on G Street. Next
The Friends of Eddie Coyle
The film features some of the most flawless Boston accents, and it depicts the Boston crime scene in that era. Along with South Boston, it is filmed in Dorchester, on the South Shore, at the Kentucky Tavern on the corner of Mass. Ave. and Newbury, on the Cambridge side of the Charles by the MIT dorms, in a Milton house, and at the railway station in Sharon. Pictured, Robert Mitchum as Eddie Coyle. Next
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