On location in Troy for HBO’s The Gilded Age | Photo courtesy of the Hudson Valley Film Commission
Mindy Kaling, Amy Schumer, and other Hollywood stars hit the Hudson Valley region to film scenes in upcoming movie and TV projects.
The Hudson Valley Film Commission reports a record-breaking year for productions in the region in 2021, with over 21 productions at 167 different locations—and a record $57 million in spending.
The Green Veil
Many pickup days—additional shots taken to augment previously recorded sequences—were added for The Green Veil in the Hudson Valley. This TV mini-series starring John Leguizamo used Dutchess County destinations to replicate the 1950s. Sites included the Historic Village Diner and St. John’s Church in Red Hook, and the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome.
The Gilded Age
HBO continues its historic run of projects in the Hudson Valley with The Gilded Age. Mark Ruffalo spent an entire year in the region for I Know This Much Is True, while The Undoing, starring Nicole Kidman, filmed at iconic landmarks. Fans of Downton Abbey should put this series on their radar—it’s a historical drama produced by the same creator, Julian Felowes. The Gilded Age follows the industrial boom of New York City in the 1880s. It was originally announced for NBC/Universal, but later moved to HBO. It stars Cynthia Nixon, Carrie Coon, and Christine Baranski in principal roles, and began airing January 24, 2022.
The production filmed scenes in Troy with plenty of local background actors in glamorous period-accurate costuming. Many local sites have connections to this era, including Hutton Brickyards in Kingston and The Collar Factory Lofts, just around the corner from filming in Troy.
Life and Beth
Ready to laugh, Hudson Valleyites? Comedian Amy Schumer’s next project tackles the wine industry. Schumer—who also wrote, directed, and executive-produced Life and Beth—plays a successful wine distributor living in Manhattan who suddenly has to face issues from her past. In what is bound to be a hilarious journey toward a more fulfilling life, the 10-episode half-hour comedy also features Michael Cera and Michael Rappaport. Cera, returning to “series regular” status for the first time since Arrested Development, plays an honest farmer whom Schumer frequently deals with. We’re hoping he’s playing a Hudson Valley vintner—there’s more than enough inspiration with all of the region’s award-winning wineries.
Life and Beth filmed scenes throughout Dutchess and Putnam Counties, including location shoots in Milan, Staatsburg, and soon, Red Hook. The Hudson Valley Film Commission started supporting the project in March of 2020, and it experienced delays due to COVID-19. Production resumed in summer 2021, with HVFC providing several location referrals, casting notices, vendor referrals, and local crew members.
Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin
One of the bigger projects to make headlines has been the long-awaited follow-up to Freeform’s smash hit Pretty Little Liars. This reboot, titled Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin, follows a new generation of “little liars” in the town of Millwood as they face torment from an unknown A-ssailant—yes, that bolded “A” is from the official HBO MAX logline. Riverdale creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa show-runs and co-writes the series with Lindsay Calhoon Bring. The pair already collaborated together on The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, a reimagining of Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin is not the first spin-off series; two other one-season companion shows aired previously on Freeform. This iteration stars Bailee Madison (Bridge to Terabithia, Once Upon a Time) as series lead Imogen, Chandler Kinney (Lethal Weapon FOX series) as horror movie superfan Tabby, and Nickelodeon star Maia Reficco (Kally’s Mashup) as Noa, a moody track runner. HVFC has been working with the project since November 2020. The organization has provided location recommendations and local crew referrals. In August 2021, an open casting call was posted for background actors. They’ll portray Millwood high school students and adults on a shoot in Saugerties.
Remote may be one of the lesser-known projects on this list, but there’s still good reason to get excited. This film was shot almost entirely in Tivoli and at the Saugerties Performing Arts Factory. Argentinian-born visual artist Mika Rottenberg directs this feature-length narrative about a New York transplant from Brussels and four other women who connect during a period of quarantine and isolation. Sound familiar? It’s set in the near future, and the characters span continents. Keep an eye on this one for thought-provoking and eye-catching cinema.
The Sex Lives of College Girls
Mindy Kaling, best-known for her writing and acting on NBC’s The Office and her long-running series The Mindy Project, leads a local filming project as well. In 2021, Kaling took her talents to the Hudson Valley, and specifically to Queen City. She and her team selected Vassar—at the recommendation of the Hudson Valley Film Commission—to double as Essex College in Vermont. The Sex Lives of College Girls stars Pauline Chalamet (older sister of Timothee) as an 18-year-old freshman facing all the struggles and unexpected challenges that college brings. The series, which began airing in November 2021, features a multitude of shots of Vassar College and Raymond Ave. It was a sensation on HBO Max, and was renewed for Season 2.
Vassar College has been used in numerous high-profile films and TV shows, including Frances Ha, Shirley, and I Know This Much Is True. Kaling and director David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, The Righteous Gemstones) filmed scenes on Vassar’s campus in June 2021.
The White House Plumbers
The White House Plumbers documents the story of E. Howard Hunt (Woody Harrelson) and G. Gordon Liddy (Justin Theroux), heads of the White House Special Investigations Unit during Richard Nixon’s presidency—everyone knows what happens next. Nixon tasked them with preventing leaks of classified information in response to the published Pentagon Papers, and they accidentally toppled the presidency with the Watergate Scandal. Rejto confirmed that this HBO Max series filmed extensively in Kingston, Poughkeepsie, and Newburgh.
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The story actually has a special connection to the Hudson Valley. Liddy spent much of his early career as a prosecutor in Dutchess County and led a drug raid on Timothy Leary’s dwelling in Millbrook in 1966—resulting in an unsuccessful trial. Liddy later commanded a drug raid on Bard College in 1969, arresting more than 40 people. Among those apprehended was Walter Becker, a few years before he and classmate Donald Fagen formed the classic dad-rock band Steely Dan. “My Old School” details the entire incident, calling out Liddy as “Daddy Gee” and the school as “Annandale.”
The project has resulted in many local sightings of Woody Harrelson, including at Amarcord and Vegetalien in Beacon. Theroux previously spent time in the Hudson Valley while filming the Netflix-produced and Cary Joji Fukunaga-directed Maniac. Many local crew members return from the production of I Know This Much Is True. The series also stars Lena Headey (Game of Thrones) and Domnhall Gleeson (Star Wars sequels), and is produced by the showrunners of HBO’s Veep.
From Nick Wootton and Jake Coburn comes a brand-new NBC pilot. F9 and Star Trek: Beyond director Justin Lin handling directorial duties. The high-stakes “two-hander” features two women, one a bank heist mastermind and the other a diligent FBI agent, going head-to-head Heat-style. This project filmed scenes at undisclosed locations throughout the Hudson Valley, and stars Morena Baccarin and Ryan Michelle Bathe.