SCHENECTADY – After four months of working around the Capital Region, the cast and crew of Amazon’s “Modern Love” wrapped up filming earlier this week.
“It’s been a real pleasure having them here in Schenectady, filming in our city, as well as locales around the Capital Region,” said Donna Pennell, Schenectady film commissioner.
“Modern Love” is a romantic comedy anthology based around the New York Times column of the same title. The first season, which was released last year, features Tina Fey, Anne Hathaway, Andy Garcia, Dev Patel and other celebrities. The cast and the release date for the second season have yet to be announced. However, Capital Region viewers may see some familiar scenes and faces when it airs.
The film crew’s home base for season two was The Schenectady Armory Center, which they transformed into a production campus.
“It was just a humbling experience to see them take over not only the armory but the Capital Region,” said Ray Legere, the co-owner of the Armory. “They brought in 150 people, that’s not even totally the number of actors and extras that came in. It was just inspiring to watch them walk in like they’ve done it before, they set up offices, they set up different departments and they just get right to work.”
The Armory’s campus, with the addition of a backlot that Legere rented, is 90,000 square feet and it provided enough space for crews to build eight different sets, for everything from restaurant scenes to professional offices and rooms.
“Every department was in that building and that’s what made it so helpful,” Legere said.
“We rented the space outside the back of the armory so we had a back lot which they filmed eight or ten scenes on . . . It really turned out to be a gift, having such a large building with a large soundstage.”
According to Legere, the team was there six days a week anywhere between 10 and 14 hours a day. While they filmed some scenes at the Armory, the cast and crew also ventured out to film in Albany’s Washington Park, and downtown Troy, in Scotia and Schenectady, both in neighborhoods and downtown on State Street.
To film during the pandemic, everyone on staff, which included some local extras, had to upkeep rigorous coronavirus safety protocols.
“They had a team from New York City enforcing or supplementing the protocol for COVID protection, everything from testing to personal protective equipment to distancing to hand washing. There was COVID personnel on staff all the time. It was probably one of the safest places to be,” Legere said.
By his estimations, during their time in the Capital Region, the crew spent upward of $5 million on everything from food to lodging to support staff.
“It’s exciting, especially at this time. It gave us a boost,” Legere said.
When The Gazette spoke with Legere earlier this week, crew members were in the midst of breaking sets down, however, some were contemplating a permanent move.
“Everybody in the crew and the staff just absolutely fell in love with Schenectady,” Legere said.
“I’ve [had] several people ask me about real estate because they travel everywhere around the world and where their home base is is kind of irrelevant. I’ve actively helped a couple people look at properties,” Legere said.
He hopes that other productions will film in Schenectady, and he’s already received some phone calls to that effect.
“Everyone says ‘We’ll be back’ and I’m starting to believe it,” Legere said.
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