The Hudson Valley showcases its astonishing scenery once again during its on-air time in HBO’s latest limited series. Titled, The Undoing, the show filmed in Port Ewen, Esopus, Kingston, and the Town of Ulster during June 2019 and premiered on HBO on October 25, 2020.
Laurent Rejto, the Hudson Valley Film Commission director, observes, “2019 was a fantastic year for film and TV production in the Hudson Valley with three HBO productions, including The Undoing.” Directed by the team that brought the popular horror film Bird Box to Netflix, the limited series was created by the creator of Big Little Lies, The Wire and Treme, David Kelly.
The story focuses on Nicole Kidman’s character, Grace Fraser, a therapist, and her husband, Jonathan, played by Hugh Grant, and their son, who is a college student at a private school in New York City. A series of unfortunate events and revelations following a violent death and a missing spouse interrupt the family’s perfect and wealthy lifestyle.
The Hudson Valley Film Commission is proud to call HBO’s The Undoing the Hudson Valley’s biggest production of the summer of 2019. In total, the project hired over 500 local crew members, with over 762 crew members traveling to the Hudson Valley region. Overall, more than 4,058 local actors and extras were employed during the time 25 productions filmed across the mid-Hudson Valley region in counties like Ulster, Dutchess, Orange, Greene, and Columbia. What’s more, a number of familiar Hudson Valley residents lent a helping hand during filming, including local talents like production designer Lester Cohen and casting director Ellen Chenoweth.
During the course of these productions, over 180 locations were used in the Hudson Valley, with over 460 scouting days and 441 production days, for a total of more than a year of production work in the region.
Filming of The Undoing moved to Ulster County due to the road closure of Route 209 for about a week. In addition Route 209, Hudson Valley natives will recognize Tech City in Kingston outside of building 64, Wurts Street Bridge in Kingston, and the Town of Esopus in the series. HBO made contributions to all three towns involved in the show.
Due to the strict COVID-19 restrictions required by film production companies, some films and TV shows, including Silent Retreat, Things Heard and Seen, Save Yourselves, Black Bear, Lapsis, and Audrey await release. Although COVID-19 social distancing guidelines and regulations did not impact the filming process, it did alter the post-production of these films, and even caused HBO to reschedule the premiere of The Undoing.
“The effect of COVID-19 has been brutal,” Rejto states. “Regional production came to a standstill in mid-March. . . Local crew, cast members, and vendors went without work and revenue for months. The film commission also lost an enormous amount of funding due to COVID-19, but we’re making every effort to come back stronger than ever.”
The Hudson Valley Film Commission works to create thousands of jobs in the Hudson Valley and contributes over $250 million in regional economic development.
Rejto states that “The Hudson Valley Film Commission is currently working with at least four productions including The Green Veil and The Sixth Reel.” For 2021, the commission aims to produce two potential HBO limited series and one Showtime limited series. Rejto adds that “we’re also working with about 10 indie films for 2021.”
Tune in to HBO on Sundays at 9 p.m. to catch the latest episodes of The Undoing.