National Historical Park
National Park Service
“Before God, I believe the hour has come…
All that I have, and all that I am, and all that I hope
in this life, I am now ready here to stake upon it.”
Argentine Productions is producing the new visitor center program, Enduring Legacy for Adams National Historical Park in Quincy, MA. This project presented a unique challenge: how to tell the story of four generations of the remarkable Adams family in only 25 minutes of screen time. While the initial mandate called for a few impressionistic reenactments, the final project has a feature film look, with production taking place on multiple locations: an 18th century square rigger sailing ship; Hartwell Tavern at Minuteman Park; Old Sturbridge Village, a salt marsh in Quincy, and, of course, the original Adams family home at Peacefield. A complex motion-control rig combined with special effects was used to create a dramatic ending shot in the study where John, John Quincy, Charles Francis, and Henry Adams wrote and worked. A period horse-drawn carriage, child actors, livestock, myriad sets, props, and costumes led to a complicated shoot, but produced rich visuals. Makeup experts used wigs and bald caps on actors who closely matched the look of the Adams men. The project features the biggest all-star cast in a National Parks video to date, with Laura Linney voicing the narration and Abigail’s letters, Paul Giamatti reading John Adams, Edward James Olmos reading the letters of John Quincy Adams, Edward Herrmann reading the letters of Charles Francis Adams, and...Tom Hanks as the voice of Henry Adams, who provides observations throughout the show!