The Mid Hudson Valley has become a destination for television and film production, in part, due to its diversity of naturally beautiful locales.
For six months, the Hudson Valley Film Commission tried to find something different.
“We were looking for post-apocalyptic locations,” commission Director Laurent Rejto said of working on a project known by the codename “Hondo.”
Last week, the fruits of that labor paid off when “Hondo” − now widely known to be the Amazon television adaptation of the video game series “Fallout” − filmed scenes at two Ulster County locations, Widow Jane Mine in Rosendale and a quarry at the recently opened Sojourner Truth State Park in Kingston.
Though the highly secretive project is not expected to return to the region, it marks the latest high-profile television series to film locally in a year in which the film commission said industry spending in the region over the first six month set a record.
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“It’s happening all over the world,” Rejto said of the “Fallout” project, speaking about it only after other messages were posted online identifying its connection to “Hondo.” “This is one of those projects where they are everywhere.”
Other casting calls posted online for “Hondo” are based in New York City, though the shoot locations are expected to be even more broad. “In that sense,” Rejto said, “we’re thrilled we can get them here for a few of the scenes.”
“Fallout” is a 25-year-old video game series set typically in the wasteland of a post-nuclear-disaster United States. The roleplaying games generally challenge players with survival and action-based challenges, exploring issues of morality and family.
It stars Walton Goggins, a Hudson Valley resident known for roles in projects ranging from “Justified,” “The Hateful Eight” and “Django Unchained” to HBO comedies “The Righteous Gemstones” and “Vice Principals.” It also stars Ella Purnell of “Yellowjackets;” and Kyle MacLachlan of “Twin Peaks” and fame, among many roles.
The series is being adapted by the duo behind HBO’s “Westworld,” Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy.
In addition to filming at the two Ulster sites, the production used SUNY Ulster’s campus as a staging area. Rejto said other sites, including the former Dutchess Mall in Fishkill, a portion of a former IBM campus and the bleachery in Wappingers Falls were also pitched, but the production stuck to the former mine, which features connecting caves, and one of the quarries at the new state park, which was a former industrial site.
Perhaps as a consequence of its vacant, apocalyptic setting, no extras were cast for the scenes locally, which took place July 17-23.
Rather than just another feather in the local film industries hat though, “Hondo” did have an economic impact, Rejto said. More than 400 hotel rooms were booked in Kingston, New Paltz, Poughkeepsie and Fishkill. And, he said, local actors will be taking part in some of the filming planned for New York City.
A release date for “Fallout” has not been announced; last week marked the first shoot for Goggins, at least, calling July 18 “Day 1” in an Instagram post. It’s unclear if Goggins was in Ulster or at a seperate site.
Through the end of June, the film industry created $38.55 million in direct spending for the local region, according to Hudson Valley Film Commission estimates. That’s narrowly more than the same period for a year ago, more than $37 million. In all, 2021 saw a record $58 million in film industry direct spending in the Hudson Valley.
“Poker Face,” an episodic mystery series starring Natasha Lyonne that will appear on NBC streaming service Peacock, has been filming in and around southern Dutchess for much of the first half of the year. Showtime’s “Three Women,” starring Shailene Woodley, Betty Gilpin and DeWanda Wise, also spent time in East Fishkill earlier in the year. And, Hallmark grabbed attention by filming a holiday movie early in 2022.
HBO Max’s “Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin,” which filmed predominantly in Saugerties, was scheduled to debut Thursday on the streaming service.