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Video: Martin Scorsese On the Downtown Origins of ‘Mean Streets’

While Martin Scorsese’s upcoming project, “Wolf on Wall Street,” makes headlines, one of the director’s early classics, “Mean Streets,” is also back in the public eye, as it was finally released on Blu-ray last month.

The 1973 film was set mostly in the Little Italy (the gang’s seedy clubhouse was at 23 Cleveland Place), but it has its East Village moments, too: in one scene, a squeegee man annoys Charlie (Harvey Keitel) and Johnny Boy (Robert De Niro) while they’re stopped at Bowery and Bleecker Street. When the light turns, they glide past 310 Bowery, which was then Bowery Lumber Co. and is now Crime Scene Bar and Lounge.

As it turns out, another scene is tied to the neighborhood, as well. During a 25th anniversary screening at Film Forum in 1998, Scorsese revealed that the pool-hall brawl was based on an actual incident on Sixth Street and Second Avenue.

In this video of that talk – newly edited for The Local to include footage from the film – the director reveals that he and his star, Robert De Niro, first met when they were 16 years old, when Scorsese was growing up a stone’s throw from the East Village. Read more…

‘Smash’ Hits Cooper Square

IMG_0421Daniel Maurer

“Smash,” last spotted at Cafe Orlin, was back in the East Village today, filming at Cooper Triangle. The paparazzi were out in full force trying to catch a glimpse of Debra Messing.

Sorry, this is the best our not-exactly-telephoto iPhone could muster, but rest assured Ms. Messing is Instagramming from the set. And being a friendly neighbor, too: the actress retweeted a welcome to N.Y.U.’s class of 2016.

Anjelica Huston in the House? [Update: Cameras Roll at Orlin]

NBC’s “Smash” will be filming at Cafe Orlin on St. Marks Place today. This morning the show’s crew was spotted bringing equipment into a closed set on Lafayette Street, between East Fourth Street and Astor Place; a spokesperson for the locations department confirmed that filming will move to the cafe between First and Second Avenues this afternoon. The show filmed at Orlin in September and has been seen around the neighborhood a few times since then. If a sign on a trailer is any indicator, Anjelica Huston will make an appearance today as her character Eileen.

Update | 4:30 p.m. No sign of Anjelica Huston, but as you can see in our spy footage above, Katharine McPhee, who plays Karen on the show, and Jack Davenport (Derek) were on site.

Local Beekeeper Stings Mira Sorvino in ‘Union Square’

On Friday, “Union Square” came to Houston Street: Nancy Savoca’s movie about estranged sisters who hash out their differences in an airy Union Square apartment opened at Angelika. The film is set just outside of the East Village: at one point, the more high-strung of the siblings, who runs a health food company not entirely unsimilar to actual Union Square company One Lucky Duck, gives her address as 886 Broadway, which would put her in the W & J Sloane Building, between 18th and 19th Streets. No wonder her sister thinks her place is “crazy awesome.”

Most of the “action” takes place inside this loft as the brash and boisterous Lucy (played by Mira Sorvino), who’s in the neighborhood to shop for tacky bags at Filene’s Basement (R.I.P.), tries to reconnect with the crunchy, cloistered Jenny (Tammy Blanchard), a vegan convert who’s so ashamed of her Bronx roots, her rough-around-the-edges Italian-American family, and her secret past as a (gasp!) smoker that she tells her hunky fiancée that she’s from Maine.

As The Times notes in its review, the movie is fairly theatrical in its contained setting and dramatic conversation. But perhaps the best bit of dialogue happens to be ad-libbed, and involves Andrew Cote, the beekeeper who a couple of months ago helped out with that Bowery swarm and then relocated some Central Park bees to the Sixth Street Community Center. Read more…

Inside the Abandoned Mary Help of Christians School

Photos: Daniel Maurer

The Local got a look inside the eerily abandoned Mary Help of Christians school when we visited the set of “Girl on the Train” last night. The school was closed in 2006 – a victim of Archdiocese of New York’s citywide restructuring – and its building is currently on the market along with the connected church, which closed in 2007 (though it still hosts Sunday masses).

Some of the old gymnasium’s floorboards have been uprooted and the paint is peeling off the walls, but remnants of the building’s former incarnation remain: a discarded pencil sharpener here, a school desk there, a handwritten sign on a closed door reading “Teacher’s Only!” Most haunting are the messages that linger on chalkboards: “Te amo Jesus, por favor habre nuestra iglesia” reads one (“I love you Jesus, please open our church”).

Have a glimpse inside, via our slideshow. (There’s just something about abandoned school buildings.) You’ll see some graffiti and equipment from the film shoot, but you’ll also see gloriously untouched murals, starting with one by Chico. It reads: “Mary Help of Christians Welcomes You.”

Film Turns Mary Help of Christians School Into After-Hours Club

photo(97)Daniel Maurer

Last night, Mary Help of Christians Church was ethereally illuminated as writer-director Larry Brand filmed scenes from “Girl on the Train,” a neo-noir thriller starring Henry Ian Cusick as a documentary filmmaker, Stephen Lang as a detective, and Nicki Aycox as the titular femme fatale.

Rebecca Reynolds, a producer, said that the corner of East 12th Street and Avenue A will feature prominently in the indie flick: scenes were shot at Table 12, the deli across the street, and inside of the vacant school building behind Mary Help of Christians, as well as in Brooklyn, Queens, Riverdale, and on the Metro-North train. “This location can just be so many things,” she said, nodding toward the church’s rectory. “We were able to use it as Lexi’s childhood-home kitchen, we did an after-hours club in here, we did an abandoned tenement room, plus they have a dining hall where we fed and catered the crew.” Read more…

Carrie Bradshaw Back in the East Village Sunday


A sign posted at Astor Place between Broadway and Lafayette Street indicates that The CW’s show based on Candace Bushnell’s “Sex and the City” prequel, “The Carrie Diaries” will be filming in the neighborhood on Sunday. The show will follow a 17-year-old Carrie Bradshaw, played by AnnaSophia Robb, through high school life in Connecticut. Adult Carrie was no stranger to the East Village: She attended Miranda’s birthday party at Lucky Cheng’s during the “Sex and the City” pilot, and one of her clothiers of choice, Patricia Field, is right here on the Bowery.

Coen Brothers Make It Rain on Bleecker Street

Photos: Daniel Maurer, Stephen Rex Brown

Yesterday The Local spotted a fake throwback subway entrance being built on the corner of Bleecker and Mott Streets and today the Coen Brothers are using it as a prop for their film “Inside Llewyn Davis.” Moments ago, they were filming a scene in which the movie’s titular folk singer, played by a bearded Oscar Davis, ducks into a vintage car. Sprinklers were used to simulate rain, and ice on the ground simulated melted snow.

As in previous scenes, Llewyn was clutching a fake cat and a guitar case. During one take, the car only drove forward a few feet (not quite as impressive as a checkered cab coasting down Ninth Street), but there should be plenty more chances for action – the Coens are filming in the neighborhood through Friday.

A Case of Sienna Miller and Evan Rachel Wood on Bond Street?

pap waitEvan BleierPaparazzi perched on Bond Street.

Goodbye Coens, hello Mac guy: This morning, more than 20 paparazzi were gathered outside the Gene Frankel Theater at 24 Bond Street, where the forthcoming romantic comedy “A Case of You” was being filmed. They were hoping to snap a photograph of Sienna Miller and Justin Long, rumored to be inside. Shortly after noon, their lenses were trained on the three trailers parked on the south side of the street: a shutterbug said one of the film’s stars, Evan Rachel Wood, had been spotted going inside and had to come out sooner or later.

According to Variety, “A Case of You” centers around a young writer who has to live up to the online profile he created for himself in order to impress a girl. With Justin Long as a co-producer of the film, we’re assuming the profile was created on a Mac.