By Christopher Roberson
In the 2016 film “Patriots Day,” the lenses in the glasses worn by actor Kevin Bacon were custom-made by Shellee Rubin, owner of The Eye Place at 474 Lowell St.
Rubin said she received a phone call in March 2016 from Bacon’s costume designer requesting two sets of anti-reflective coated lenses that were needed immediately. “It went back and forth, it was an absolute nightmare,” said Rubin. “You’re working for someone who’s famous – what if I screwed up?”
However, with 30 years in the industry, Rubin was up to the challenge. “I knew deep in my heart that I could do it,” she said, adding that she even met Bacon to take his eye measurements.
As it came to pass, Rubin was able to produce two sets of lenses within 24 hours. “It’s a nice little feather to have in your cap,” she said.
Five months later, Rubin received another call. This time the request was for 18 sets of lenses for the 2017 film “Chappaquiddick,” which takes place in July 1969. “In ‘Chappaquiddick’ they had tons of extras and everyone needed to look the part,” she said, adding that there was also a request for green lenses.
As part of her work for the movie, Rubin designed lenses for actor Bruce Dern, who plays Joe Kennedy. Unlike her work with Bacon, she was never given the opportunity to meet with Dern to take his eye measurements. “I was a bit nervous, to say the least, with that one,” said Rubin. Using Google Images, she searched through scores of pictures of Dern and literally held her ruler up to the computer screen to obtain the measurements.
Despite the race to have the lenses ready for each movie, Rubin said she was able to keep The Eye Place running smoothly. “Not once did it interrupt my flow of business,” she said.
Rubin said her passion for optometry was sparked when she brought her father’s glasses to LensCrafters to be repaired. “I like tinkering with machines,” she said, adding that she studied medical technology at Salem State University.
Rubin then began working at LensCrafters in 1987 as a laboratory technician. “It was cool, I really liked it,” she said.
After working for LensCrafters and two other companies, Rubin opened The Eye Place in May 2006 at its current location in the Lowe Mart Shopping Center. Since then, Rubin said, she has always kept a “small village mentality,” which, in return, has provided a strong customer base.
“Somebody has a good experience and they share that,” she said. “My customers are really good; I’m really lucky.”