Can you tell Sasha and I are excited by any news about Todd Haynes’ upcoming HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce? Looks like independently of one another this afternoon we’ve both been investigating location shooting on the James M. Cain’s Depression-era classic. The shots I’ve dug up aren’t nearly as glamorous as the stunning look sported by Evan Rachel Wood as Veda Pierce but the attention to period detail is no less meticulous. The Gables area of Merrick, NY has been chosen for its authentic Spanish stucco homes to stand in for Glendale, California, c. 1935. A local resident writes that “fake palm trees, fake lemon trees and lamp posts were brought to the set” to transform upstate New York into a facsimile West Coast landscape.
The Merrick Patch newspaper describes location scouting for the film.
Several homes in the area will be featured in the series, something Gables resident Derek Donnelly said was a great chance to showcase the neighborhood. Donnelly, who lives on Lincoln Boulevard, received a letter earlier this month from the HBO locations department that reads in part, “I am writing to you because we loved your roof, oddly as that may sound.”
There’s a brief camcorder glimpse at a scene being filmed after the cut, and several more shots of the background architecture.
Joe Guest, an HBO location manager, said the cable network had searched all over New York for a neighborhood that closely resembled that setting.
“The Gables neighborhood has homes of a unique architectural style, matching California bungalow-style stucco homes of the 1930s,” Guest said. “We are thrilled with the positive local response and look forward to working with the residents and the Town of Hempstead to coordinate filming in the Gables.”
A woman, who lives near Henry Street and Richard Street, said someone from the production recently knocked on her door and said they wanted to replace the tiles on her roof.
“I was sort of surprised,” said the woman, who would not give her name.
The woman said she was told that along with minor landscaping in the Gables area, old-fashioned cars would also be parked in driveways as part of the shoot.
A few days ago there was discussion about how the middle-class drab ambiance didn’t fit one reader’s memory of the glamorous side of the 1945 Joan Crawford film. But let’s not forget this is a rags-to-riches melodrama. I can’t say for sure exactly how far from near-destitution into high society HBO’s Mildred Pierce will climb, but other scenes from her rise up ladder have been filmed at the Woolworth Mansion in Glen Cove, Long Island.