The Ulster Town Board last week backed a request by HBO to shut down four miles of Route 209 for three separate days between April and June for the filming of a miniseries based on Wally Lamb’s best-selling 1998 novel I Know This Much is True.
The miniseries, set to star local favorite Mark Ruffalo as a pair of troubled identical twins, takes place over several decades in the 20th century. Ruffalo, perhaps best known for his portrayal of physicist Bruce Banner, a.k.a. the Hulk, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film series and a supporter of many local causes, will also co-produce the miniseries. The production is also shooting on location in Poughkeepsie.
The road closures were discussed during a meeting of the Ulster Town Board held on Thursday, Feb. 7. Town Supervisor James E. Quigley III said he was contacted about the project by David Corrigan, acting resident engineer for the Ulster County office of the state Department of Transportation. A follow-up email sent to town officials from the production company cited three dates they would like to close Route 209 between Sawkill Road and Route 28.
• April 23: “A school bus taking kids on a school field trip is pulled over on the shoulder of the interstate when it is discovered a kid is locked in the bathroom. Period cars driving by, possibly in both directions. Possibly one direction.”
• June 3 and Aug. 1: “Our hero characters, both played by Ruffalo on two different days, pull over on the [sic] interstate. Period cars driving by. Stunt: An actor runs across both (sides) of the highway and median and ends up in a field nearby. Stunt: A daydream in which one of the brothers is hit by a car. Ideally looking for a stretch that we could drive on for 3-5 minutes before the pullover.”
The Hudson Valley Film Commission is holding an open call to cast both speaking roles and background extras at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie on Saturday, Feb. 23. The Facebook posting about the open call notes that the miniseries will take place between the 1920s and 1990s, and asks for “No modern looks please.”
Ulster County Legislator Kathleen Nolan spoke in favor of the production during the first public comment period of the meeting.
“I think that’s a resolution that has regional impact, and I encourage you to move forward with that resolution,” Nolan said. “The film and TV industries are parts of our economy that I think we’ve been trying to encourage, and it does occasionally present inconveniences, but I think they are inconveniences we can live with. It’s an industry that is, so far, coming without a negative impact. So I appreciate the care with which those resolutions were put together, and I encourage you to pass them.”
Councilman John Morrow said he’d spoken to people in the film industry, who suggested the town seek a credit for their role in the film. He added that while much of the filming is set to take place in Poughkeepsie, the Town should ask that the production company stay in local hotels when filming takes place in Ulster.
“And when it comes to our phase up here, their staff should move up here and frequent our businesses,” said Morrow.
This led to the following exchange between Morrow and the supervisor.
QUIGLEY: Do you want to add cameos for the town board in the movie also?
MORROW: I think you should be in it at least.
QUIGLEY: No thank you.
Details about how the closures would be handled are still being discussed, though detours along Sawkill Road appear likely.