Newport, Rhode Island, is no stranger to the excitement of Hollywood. Take a cue from these movies, which were filmed in this spectacular seaside destination, for your next meeting or event.
‘The Great Gatsby’
It’s one of the most captivating scenes in the legendary 1974 film adaptation of The Great Gatsby — when scores of dazzling couples are dancing the night away around a lavish fountain, sipping Champagne and drenched in jewels. The scene was shot at Rosecliff, one of Newport’s legendary mansions, home to the city’s largest private ballroom and perhaps the site of your next meeting, whether an intimate dinner for 25 or a workshop for 250.
‘True Lies’ and ‘Mr. North’
In the blockbuster True Lies, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis, the opening scene depicts undercover agent Harry Tasker (played by Schwarzenegger) outside a grand Swiss chalet. The exterior of that chalet is actually Ochre Court in Newport, which was built as a private summer home in 1892 and today houses Salve Regina University. Your meeting delegates will get a spectacular view of the mansion when you recommend that they experience Cliff Walk during their free time. The 3.5-mile picturesque path traces Newport’s spectacular rocky coastline, with the crashing surf on one side of the trail and magnificent Gilded Age mansions on the other.
In the same scene, the audience is captivated by Schwarzenegger famously leading actress Tia Carrere in a dramatic tango across the mansion’s ballroom. That sequence was shot at the aforementioned Rosecliff, which is owned and operated by the Preservation Society of Newport County. Other Newport mansions, including Chateau-sur-Mer, The Elms, and The Breakers, were featured in Mr. North, a film based on Thornton Wilder’s novel Theophilus North. All three can accommodate meetings and events large and small in a unique, exquisite setting.
The 1992 film Wind, starring Jennifer Grey and Matthew Modine, revolves around the America’s Cup, the most renowned regatta in the sport of sailing and the oldest active trophy in international sport. The competition was staged off Newport’s coast from 1930 until the Americans lost to Australia in 1983. Today, Newport’s harbor is home to the largest fleet of 12-meter yachts in the world. Even better, you can take your own colleagues-turned-crew on a leisurely sail or a heart-pounding regatta aboard these authentic America’s Cup vessels, including more than half a dozen that won the race!
‘Amistad’ and ‘Moonrise Kingdom’
When Steven Spielberg came to Newport to shoot what would become his Oscar-nominated movie Amistad, both Washington Square and Queen Anne Square played central roles in the historical drama. Today, you can meet or host an event in the historic Colony House (completed in 1741), where much of Amistad’s captivating courtroom scenes were shot. The prison scenes were shot just down the cobblestone Thames Street in Queen Anne Square, where the new Queen Anne’s Loft can accommodate up to 120 guests for a meeting or cocktail reception. To experience true New England flavor, savor a lobster boil there with all the trimmings. The venue also offers beautiful views of Trinity Church, which is featured prominently in Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom.
In Woody Allen’s 2015 film Irrational Man, Newport takes center stage. In one scene, actors Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone stroll in character by the Jane Pickens Theater & Event Center, a world-class arthouse cinema. The building dates back to 1834, and meetings there make for a tremendously memorable multimedia experience.
Going back to Hollywood’s Golden Age, the all-star High Society is a classic. (How couldn’t it be, with Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby crooning away throughout?) In what would be her final film before settling into royal life with Prince Rainier III of Monaco, Grace Kelly stayed at Castle Hill Inn during the shoot. Today, corporate meetings, retreats, special events, and outings at Castle Hill leave quite the impression. Perched on a bluff idyllically situated where Narragansett Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, Castle Hill encompasses its own 40-acre peninsula, complete with a working lighthouse and breathtaking beauty.
Whether it’s Newport’s stunning natural beauty showcased in Evening with Meryl Streep and Claire Danes, funnyman Jim Carrey cruising along Ocean Drive in Me, Myself & Irene, or Robert Redford’s return to the Classic Coast for his sci-fi thriller The Discovery, Newport is resplendent on film and off. Be a star and plan your next meeting in Newport, where inspiration is at work!