A production crew films outside the San Juan Bautista Plaza Hotel Feb. 26 for a major studio movie production that is under way in the historic downtown. Photo: Tarmo Hannula

Crew members and security staff are being tight-lipped about a major Hollywood production—featuring stars such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Sean Penn—that is being filmed on location in downtown San Juan Bautista. 

Shooting for the movie, currently known only as “BC Project,” began Feb. 25 and was expected to resume for several days this week in the historic downtown. Although the cast’s biggest stars are presumably on location for the filming, their appearance was elusive as onlookers gathered and security crews kept a tight perimeter around the filming and production areas. 

Production crews have been in town a few weeks prior to filming, according to local residents. 

Throngs of fans and local residents on Feb. 26 gathered outside the roped-off production areas—including a night scene in front of the San Juan Bautista Plaza Hotel—in hopes of meeting or catching a glimpse of the film’s stars. 

Area resident Kenny Holthouse showed up in downtown San Juan Bautista Monday evening where the filming was unfolding. He said he grew up on a cattle ranch there and still lives on one.

“I remember back around 1954-55 when Hollywood came here to film ‘Vertigo’,” he said. “I met Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak — the stars of the film. And I met Alfred Hitchcock. It was a pretty big deal. I was also hired to build some of the bricks and do work on the renovation of the Mission.”

Details about “BC Project” and its plot or release date are scarce. Trucks associated with the film parked in downtown San Juan Bautista bore the Warner Brothers logo. 

According to IMDb.com, “BC Project” is directed and written by Paul Thomas Anderson, and stars DiCaprio, Penn, Teyana Taylor and Wood Harris. Anderson is known for directing “Boogie Nights,” “There Will Be Blood” and other successful Hollywood films. 

The IMDb page adds, “Plot under wraps.” 

San Juan Bautista City Manager Don Reynolds told the media earlier this week that hotels in and around the historic town have been booked for several weeks, likely in relation to the filming of “BC Project.” 

Crew workers carry racks of costumes to the on-location set of a major studio production in downtown San Juan Bautista Feb. 26. Photo: Tarmo Hannula
Crowds of locals and visitors flocked to historic San Juan Bautista Feb. 26 t o try to catch a glimpse of famous actors who will star in “BC Project.” Photo: Tarmo Hannula
Kenny Holthouse, who grew up on a cattle ranch in San Juan Bautista, said that as a child he recalls meeting Jimmy Stewart, Kim Novak and filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock when the Hollywood movie, “Vertigo,” was filmed in San Juan Bautista. Photo: Tarmo Hannula
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Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. More recently Good Times & Press Banner. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.


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