A Monumental task (literally)

April 30, 2009
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Some of the memorials made by Dave DeFilippo, co-owner of Woodlawn Memorials, that are being featured in ‘Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.’

Some of the memorials made by Dave DeFilippo, co-owner of Woodlawn Memorials, that are being featured in ‘Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.’

By Seth Daniel

seth@reverejournal.com

The cemetery monument business rarely meets the world of Hollywood, but last year, both worlds collided when Woodlawn Memorials on the Revere-Everett line was asked to create three very crucial headstones for the upcoming blockbuster movie, “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past”.

Dave DeFilippo, co-owner of Woodlawn Memorials, said he’s never been able to make a headstone for a movie star like Matthew McConnaughey or Michael Douglas. Furthermore, he’s never made headstones for movie stars when they were still alive.

Now, though, he can say he’s done both.

About a year ago, DeFilippo said he received an unusual call from a production company that was helping with the Boston filming of “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past,” starring McConnaughey, Douglas and Jennifer Garner, and premieres this Friday, May 1.

They needed him to make several granite headstones with the names of characters on them for use in the movie. The company selected Woodlawn because they are one of the few operations that has in-house production of monuments.

Not being much of a movie buff, though, DeFilippo said he didn’t know the significance of the film.

“I went home that day, and my wife asked me how my day was, and I told her I was making a monument for a Hollywood film,” he said. “I didn’t know what movie, but I figured it was some B-movie or a college project. I told her the name, and she said, ‘Oh my goodness, that’s the Matt McConnaughey movie.’ I had no idea it was that big of a movie and had all of those stars in it.”

After looking into the movie a little more, DeFilippo realized he was actually making headstones for the characters McConnaughey and Douglas portrayed.

“The company told me they had called a couple other places in Boston and they declined to do the work,” he said. “They must not have known what they were declining. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity. From what I understand, in the movies they usually use Styrofoam or some other plastic material rather than real stone when they need a headstone…This was a fun thing to do. Being in the business of making monuments for people isn’t always a fun thing to do. This was.”

The movie features McConnaughey as a very successful professional photographer who lives the fast life and goes through girlfriends at a horrific pace. He is consumed with a no-ties mindset. In a nod to “A Christmas Carol,” one night his dead uncle, Wayne (played by Douglas), visits him as a ghost.

Wayne, who also lived the fast life, gives him a warning about the future.

In the process, they visit several gravestones – including McConnaughey’s – all of which were made in DiFilippo’s shop.

“They’ve told me it’s a very crucial scene that the headstones appear in,” said DiFilippo. “It’s a cemetery scene with the gravestones as props.”

Come Friday, it’s no secret where DiFilippo will be – he’ll be watching his handiwork on the big screen with his wife as his date – though she may not be as interested in the gravestones.

“I’ll definitely go to see it,” he said. “My wife will go to look at Matthew McConnaughey. I’ll go to look at the headstones.”

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