Westport's Melissa Joan Hart films Christmas movie in area
A Westport actress is bringing Christmas to the area early this year.
Or at least the illusion of the wintertime holiday, as a film crew this week transformed a stretch of Noyes Road in Fairfield for scenes in a Christmas-themed movie.
For several days, the short street that runs between North Benson and Barlow roads near the Fairfield University campus has been closed to traffic for all but the road's residents to accommodate shooting scenes for the television movie.
Although a spokesman for the movie production company refused to comment on the filming, neighbors said they've been told the movie features actress Melissa Joan Hart, who has a home in Westport and is known for roles in the television series, "Clarissa Explains It All" and "Sabrina the Teen Witch," as well as former Bridgeport resident John Ratzenberger, best known for his role as Cliff on the TV comedy "Cheers," and Scott Grimes, featured on the series "ER" and other television programs.
Nicole Kane, a Noyes Road resident whose driveway serves as background in some of the filming, said the production company, Hart Filled Christmas Inc., was listed on the rental agreement the Kanes got for use of their driveway.
She said she was told the movie is being made for Lifetime TV. The film company is listed online with a Westport address of Squire Lane, with Melissa Hart-Wilkerson as the registered agent.
It was not clear whether additional scenes for the movie would be filmed in the actress's hometown or other communities in Fairfield County.
On Wednesday, Kane's lawn was covered with Christmas "snow," as was the house across the street where filming was taking place. At least three houses on the street are being used for the movie shoot. One house has been used as a set for the film, one for the cast's makeup and wardrobe and another to provide space for equipment trucks to be parked in the driveway, according to Kane. The homes' owners are away on vacation, she said.
Kane said she never completed the driveway rental form for her property because the production company eventually decided not to use the Kanes' driveway for truck parking, since it would be in the background of the shots.
Even though managers for the film crew on site also refused to comment Wednesday, a group of young men from area communities was resting at one of the homes between work assignments. The film company had also hired an independent security company to help block off the area.
The film's location scout had told Kane the company chose Noyes Road for scenes in the movie after driving around the area. The scout liked the color of the main house -- yellow -- and the fact that an addition was built onto it, she said.
"No one asked us about a permit to close the street," Kane said. "It's been a little disruptive, but it's fine. It's fun to watch."