The Gilded Age, an HBO Max series, has been well-received. It’s one of my sister Marcia’s favorite shows. “Old New York in the 1880s. Old Money and New Money are the opposites that attract to create a Post Civil War Era New York society.” I haven’t seen it yet.
But I may have to because my church, First Presbyterian, is a filming and production site for the program! The building “will be featured in the opening scene of the second season, and it will also be used as a production and cast holding site throughout the month of August,” according to the church office.
Apparently, the 2022 Capital District is more representative of 19th-century NYC than 21st-century NYC. Preparation for filming began on 1 August, “and related activities will continue through August 25th. We will be able to attend worship on Sundays as we normally would since the production company works only on weekdays. However, access to the building during weekdays will be restricted to the production company and church staff in order to observe strict COVID-19 protocols.”
No closeup for me
I had seen the casting call for extras. “Grant Wilfley Casting is seeking paid actors to play 1880s pedestrians and church-goers. According to the casting call notes, women will be fit for corsets, should have shoulder-length or longer hair and ‘natural’ hair colors only will be allowed. No balayage, undercuts, wigs, weaves, braids, ombre or unnatural looking highlights will be considered. Shaved heads and dreads will also not be permitted.” And no, I didn’t try out.
Costume fittings began on June 27, and all background actors had to “attend a costume fitting and mandatory COVID-19 testing before filming. Extras must also be up-to-date with all COVID-19 vaccinations as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The casting company reports that background actors will be paid $60 for COVID testing, $30 per two hours for fittings, and $165 per 10 hours for filming.” And you thought show biz was glamorous.
“The Gilded Age filmed sections of its first season around Troy, New York, completely transforming the city. The TV series is a period drama that follows the millionaire titans of New York City in the 1880s, including Marian Brook, an orphaned daughter of a Union general, and a ruthless railroad tycoon named George Russell. Played by Louisa Jacobson, Marion moves into the New York City home of her wealthy, old money aunts, played by Christine Baranski and Cynthia Nixon.”
During the second week of production, “a team of horses pulling a carriage went up on the sidewalk forcing an actor to fall. But she was not hurt, and production resumed.