‘Carol’ Brings Hollywood To Cincinnati
POST FROM FORBES: http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnoseid/2016/03/01/carol-brings-hollywood-to-cincinnati/#6e2fafed302a
‘Carol’ Brings Hollywood To Cincinnati
In Carol, Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara deliver star turns as 1950s lovers in New York City. The film received six Academy Award nominations, five for the Golden Globes, and Mara won Best Actress at Cannes.
Everyone knows about Toronto and Vancouver serving as stand-ins for New York. And ever more frequently now, we can add Cincinnati, the Queen City, to the list. Who knew. I certainly didn’t realize when I caught Carol last fall at the Los Cabos International Film Festival that the vast majority of the film was shot in Cincinnati as a stand-in for 1950s New York.
That’s not all. Don Cheadle’s highly-anticipated Miles Ahead, the actor’s directorial take on the life of Miles Davis, was shot in downtown Cincinnati. It opens on April 1. Likewise filmed in Cincinnati, and including the city’s iconic 1921 Dixie Terminal building, the upcoming Marauders stars Bruce Willis and Christopher Meloni.
All that cinematic activity amounts to 8,880 local jobs created and $54M coming in to the city coffers in the last two years alone, according to a University of Cincinnati study.
We hear a lot these days about the revival of many of once-great American cities, from the Rust Belt of Cleveland and Pittsburgh, and all the way down to Houston. Everyone’s got their own list, but most anyone’s should include Cincinnati. As a non-native German speaker, I’ve long been particularly curious on the Teutonic heritage of the city on the Ohio River. And Carol has made me curiouser.
Carol director Todd Haynes is known, per the New York Times, for his meticulous period recreations, and recognized that Cincinnati was a goldmine of locations. To wit, Carol fans will remember the winter Christmas tree shopping scene. It was shot in Eden Park, home to the Cincinnati Art Museum. Or take the moment when Carol’s 1949 Packard is parked in front of Chicago’s Drake Hotel; turns out that the hotel is in fact the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, an Historic Hotel of America. The hotel is part of Carew Tower, a 1931 Art Deco gem on 5th Street which itself is a National Historic Landmark.
The pivotal scenes in the early going when Blanchett’s character meets Rooney Mara, who is working behind display cases at Frankenberg’s dept store (which is itself a stand-in for Bloomingdale’s), were shot in the former Oskamp Nolting department store, today housing Mill’s End Draperies. Exteriors belonged to the equally locally-famous Shillito’s department store whose building is now made up largely of condos.
Carol’s New Jersey home is in fact a 1906 mansion in Cincinnati’s Hyde Park, built originally for an arts patron. In the town of Wyoming, the Edward R. Stearns House, a century old stone manor on the National Historic Register, makes an appearance as well.
If you’re wandering the old central business district where the department stores were, my sources tell me to dine at Sotto. The brick-wall basement restaurant, which replaced a 70-year-old chophouse, serves a white bean ragu and octopus dish that jumps off the menu. The adjacent Boca restaurant is under the same management.
Right nearby, the three-year-old 21C Museum Hotel in a handsome red brick structure with original early 20th-century mosaic floors specializes in showcasing 21st-century artists.
As for my interest in Cincinnati’s strong German background, when I get there, I’ll be headed to the Over-the-Rhine, or OTR, district which was the city’s center of brewing (in “Carol” the characters drink bottles of Hudepohl, an old local beer). After years of economic decline that affected today’s minority community hardest, the area packed with historic buildings is coming back.
Railroad fans know that the city’s Art Deco Union Terminal was one of America’s great stations. It didn’t make it into the film, but today houses the Cincinnati Museum Center.
Cincinnati’s turn on the silver screen is far from over. Hometown actress Royalty Hightower was a breakout star recently at Sundance as an 11-year boxer in The Fits, an indy-film shot in the city’s West End. James Franco has produced Goat, a film with Nick Jonas which was shot in the suburbs. A Mickey Rourke boxing movie called Tiger recently filmed in Cincinnati and nearby Hamilton.
Should you wish to shoot your next movie in Hollywood on the Ohio, the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Film Commission is waiting for your call.