Written by Pat Grace Friday, 21 August 2009 00:00
Did you wonder about those signs with arrows directing you to “TGW Set,” “Holding Area,” “Crew Parking” and “Catering” in Munsey Park last Wednesday, Aug. 12? A new series, The Good Wife, is scheduled to premier on CBS in the fall and one of the episodes was shot in Munsey Park on Burnham Place. It was a star-studded event permitting onlookers a glimpse of Chris Noth and Juliana Margulies.
Munsey Park Trustee Sheila Brennan, on hand to both experience the excitement of filming in the village and to trouble shoot, should that be necessary, explained that Munsey Park Mayor Harry Nicolaides had been contacted by the movie company to recommend three or four large homes in the village and the Auriemma home was selected, no doubt, in part, due to its location on a cul de sac. Sue Auriemma said they ended up filming four scenes at her house including indoor and outdoor scenes. “All in all it was a great experience, lots of fun and something we will never forget!” she said.
And one outdoor scene was shot at the Quinn home, also located on Burnham Place. Marjorie Quinn explained that the barbecue scene was filmed at her house adding, “It has been amazingly calm, organized, well planned and fun. The crew has made us feel completely welcome.”
Vincent Garcia, Nassau County Public Information Officer, said whenever filming is requested in Nassau County the request must go through Debbie Markowitz at the Nassau County Film Commission to ensure the proper permits have been obtained.
Officer Garcia also noted that whenever filming is requested in Nassau County their office must also be notified to provide crowd control, street blocking or police escort for mobile driving shots. Initially police were informed the crew would require a police escort to drive on Park Avenue but that scene was eventually cancelled. Earlier, and briefly, Park Avenue was blocked off, Garcia noted, to permit the very large piece of equipment, the condor, to be put in place on the cul de sac.
Garcia further explained that filming wrapped up at 1 a.m. and at that time they shut down Park Avenue at Manhasset Woods Road for about half an hour to back out the heavy equipment.
“Base camp” was located at the Congregational Church, 1845 Northern Blvd. where the stars’ trailers were parked. Signs around town directing you to “Holding” led you to the church grounds as “Holding” is where the extras and “background people” wait said Montana native Sara Jonsson, production assistant on the premises of the Congregational Church. Jonsson laughed that she had attended film school, noting that the ability to work long hours and spend most of them on your feet was actually more useful.
Mary Gierczak, costume/wardrobe, is a Nassau County resident (Baldwin) and has been in wardrobe for 30 years. “I’m happy the film industry is coming to Nassau County. It has had a bigger presence in Westchester, NY and New Jersey. Here in Nassau County,” she believes, “we need to accommodate the industry as best we can.”
Gierczak worked costume and wardrobe 25 years ago with Scott Ellis, director on location in Manhasset, when he appeared as an actor in The Rink on Broadway with Liza Minnelli and Chita Rivera. He has developed into a big Broadway director, Gierezak said, with She Loves Me to his credit.
Recently, Gierczak added, “Royal Pains was filmed in the Nassau County region. Royal Pains has used Long Island locations such as Oheka, Jones Beach, Lloyd Harbor and recently in Oyster Bay at the Sagamore Yacht Club and at the Oyster Bay Marine Center. She also noted Angelina Jolie recently shot a film in Bethpage. “This is the first year," Gierczak acknowledged, “I’ve seen Nassau County become a great film location.”
Jolie and Matt Damon filmed The Good Shepherd in Manhasset in 2007. Trustee Brennan remembered Lynn Powers had been in charge of that production and noted Beth Avery was in charge of the current Manhasset production. Avery said on TV the series takes place in Chicago.
According to the best information available at the time of filming the series is set to premiere on Sept. 22 on CBS. The episode with the scenes filmed on Burnham Place will air two weeks later.