By Eden Laikin
Nassau County was once again the location for the filming of a major motion picture.
The setting: the new Allegria Hotel in Long Beach;
The stars: Eddie Kaye Thomas Jr. and Thora Birch;
The movie: Petunia.
Thomas starred in the American Pie Movies and Birch’s film credits include roles in Patriot Games, Hocus Pocus and Clear and Present Danger.
Petunia’s directors first saw the Allegria during a two-day film location and studio tour in December, hosted by County Executive Ed Mangano.
They were so impressed that they changed plans and decided to shoot scenes at the hotel which were previously going to be shot on a cruise ship.
The film location tour is just one of the many initiatives Mangano has launched to bolster the motion picture industry in Nassau County.
Mangano said there are beautiful, historic and idyllic sports in this County that should be shared.
And, of course, “the money these projects bring in helps to offset the tax burden on our constituents,” said Mangano.
Petunia also stars Brittany Snow of Hairspray and Prom Night.
Debra Markowitz, who heads Nassau’s Film Commission, said that since the Film Friendly Nassau County Location & Studio Tour, she’s gotten calls and inquiries from film scouts she hasn’t worked with in years or ever.
She said that currently, a few independent movies are being filmed around the County as well as some commercials. A new tv pilot is also interested in a Nassau location.
The tour, which was sponsored by the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency (IDA), led 5 of the film industry’s largest location managers as well as several film producers around the County to see Nassau County’s hottest filming spots.
“Film makers are always looking for the perfect location. Well, I have good news: they will find what they are looking for right here in Nassau County,” said Mangano. “I’m proud to represent a County that has more production days than any other county or borough in New York outside of the city itself.”
As a County legislator, Mangano worked to establish a working movie studio at the former Grumman site.
“The motion picture industry is a job creator, and if we are putting people to work we are doing the right thing for the people of Nassau County,” said Mangano. “Every time a film project calls Nassau County home, revenue is generated.”
Tour destinations included Sands Point Preserve and Old Bethpage Village Restoration; the Nassau County Correctional Center, Gold Coast Studios and Grumman Studios – both in Bethpage..
Recent television shoots for Royal Pains, Running Wilde and Comedy Central took place at the Theodore Roosevelt Legislative and Executive Building in Mineola.
Petunia, a dark comedy, is expected to shoot next in New York City.