Those involved dish on what it was like filming with ‘The Bachelorette’ cast and crew.
NEWPORT — The drama that unfolded during Monday night’s episode of “The Bachelorette” on ABC was real. At least some of it was, said Jennifer Chapin, director of special events at Fort Adams Trust.
Viewers who tuned into the two-hour episode partially filmed in Newport in March saw a contestant named Kevin hurt his arm while playing rugby at Fort Adams. An ambulance transported him from the fort to Newport Hospital. Later on, wrapped in a sling during a super awkward group confrontation with contestant Luke P. for unnecessary roughness during the match, Kevin reveals he has a sprained shoulder, though he mispronounces his diagnosis of a sprained acromioclavicular joint.
“I saw him come off the field, he was hurting,” Chapin told The Daily News. “It wasn’t staged. There was drama because he couldn’t get his shirt off, which he really couldn’t.”
Members of the Fort Adams Trust staff and the Newport Rugby Football Club team held a viewing party at Hibernian Hall on Wellington Avenue, and they were pleasantly surprised by how much air time they received, Chapin said. “They represented the rugby guys well and the fort. And considering it was March and gray, we did pretty well.”
Extras for ‘The Bachelorette’ line up in the Fort Adams State Park parking lot Friday afternoon before filming started inside
Planning for the episode started before Hannah Brown was chosen to be the Bachelorette, Chapin said, and the show’s production team made at least six visits to the fort before filming.
On filming day, scheduling and timing were a bit hectic. Chapin said she was there for around 14 hours and not everything went exactly as planned.
“We thought there were going to be 300 extras and there ended up being around 800,” Chapin said.
Each extra had to sign a waiver and be photographed before entering the fort, which took around three hours. Though it was a long day, the production team and cast members were a pleasure to work with, she said.
“Hannah was great. She took photos with all the staff,” Chapin said. “Overall, it was great experience and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.”
Matt Kearns, a Portsmouth resident, is a member of the Newport Rugby Football Club. He said the team gave contestants on the show about a 1½-hour lesson on the basics of the game before the match scene was filmed.
“It’s tough to learn the game of rugby. I’ve been playing for eight years and I’m still learning,” Kearns said. “But to go in there and to have an hour tutorial, then play in front of a large audience, I think they did pretty well. They got what they wanted for the show, showing the aggressiveness and the competitive atmosphere.”
Kearns was shown on TV standing right next to Hannah.
“At first I didn’t say anything, but she turned to me and asked me who I wanted to win and why,” Kearns said. “I knew she was from Alabama, so I threw a couple of ‘Roll Tides’ in there, and we were high-fiving. That didn’t make the cut, but we had a great time promoting the club and our sport.”
Kearns was with the group that watched the episode at Hibernian Hall.
“The Bruins were on as well, and I think it’s the first time anyone in Hibernian Hall has asked to put on ‘The Bachelorette’,” Kearns joked.
While in Newport, the crew behind “The Bachelorette” stayed at Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina for 12 days. The cast was there for around four days, according to Resort Manager David Smiley.
Similar to Fort Adams, Gurney’s also went through several months of planning before the cast arrived at the property, and agreed that the production team was great to work with.
“Everyone was wonderfully professional and gracious. With TV shoots like this, timetables/schedules always seem to change, so we worked closely with the team of the show to accommodate last-minute adjustments to mealtimes and settings when needed,” Smiley said.
“The cast and crew made each day of filming in public spaces so easy and were extremely respectful of our guests in the process.”
Some lucky guests had the opportunity to interact with the cast, though Smiley said the shoot schedules kept them so busy that they mostly kept to themselves.
When asked whether or not they would be willing to host a reality show at Gurney’s again, Smiley said, “We would definitely explore future opportunities if the timing is right.”
Viewers saw scenes of Newport Harbor and a segment was filmed at Belcourt Castle on Bellevue Avenue. Another Newport location featured in the show was the White Horse Tavern. The restaurant’s staff also agreed the production team formed great relationships.
“Producers and directors were very professional and very gracious with both the planning and execution of the filming at the White Horse Tavern,” said Joseph Keenan, general manager of the restaurant on Marlborough Street. “There was a joint filming with the JPT with respect to a live show.”
Keenan said the restaurant closed for one day while filming the date, and the planning process began about four months prior. Other than that, Keenan wasn’t able to say much. Although the episode has aired, he and the other staff who were in the building during the date are still under nondisclosure agreements, he said. Keenan declined to comment specifically on how he felt about the fact Hannah and her date, Tyler C., appear not to have touched their entrees during their dinner conversation. Keenan also would not say what the entrees were.
Scenes from the White Horse Tavern date showed the couple in the dining room, though Twitter users were quick to point out nothing was eaten.
Following the White Horse Tavern, Hannah and Tyler C. walked through Washington Square to a private concert at the Jane Pickens Theater & Event Center. The couple danced and locked lips as country music star Jake Owen performed and a crowd comprised mostly of females cheered. Fans held up smartphones to record the PDA for posterity.
An official from Jane Pickens Theater could not be reached for comment, though soon after the episode aired, the theater tweeted: “Did you see The JPT tonight on The Bachelorette? We’re famous!”