The avidly anticipated culmination of the biggest cinematic franchise (22 feature films) of the Marvel Comics Universe, Avengers: Endgame, directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, officially opens on Friday, April 26. I can’t yet vouch for it, but spoiler-free early reviews trickling out after Monday’s world premiere in Hollywood uniformly gush with praise for Endgame’s ample emotional moments, Avengers-worthy humor and thoroughly satisfying payoff of an ending.
Let’s say you’re not already burning to know if and how the surviving Avengers will manage to reverse some of the harm (killing half of the universe’s sentient beings with a snap of his magic-gauntleted fingers) wrought by big baddie Thanos at the end of last year’s Avengers: Infinity War. Would it motivate you at all to know that some of the epic footage (all shot in IMAX, by the way) was gleaned right here in the Hudson Valley?
Details are sketchy; but “additional” shoots took place in Ulster and Dutchess Counties in June 2018, five months after the official wrap of primary filming, which had mostly taken place in and around Atlanta. Per IMDb, at least four location assistants were focused on New York State. Nothing in the main trailer for the movie leaps out as recognizable or especially evocative of upstate locations, with the possible exception of the farmhouse where the second-tier Avenger Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) was last seen in retirement from SHIELD, married and raising kids, in Captain America: Civil War (2016).
Our savviest local source for clues is Hudson Valley Film Commission (HVFC) director Laurent Rejto, much of whose work revolves around making connections between movie producers and places, people and things they need to get their scenes shot. Sworn to secrecy during the production process, when the code name for Endgame was “Mary Lou,” Rejto is just now beginning to share some tidbits. The one location that he has been willing to identify specifically is the Mills Mansion estate in Staatsburg, in northern Dutchess County. Ready to Serve Catering provided food at one or more locations, and 40 crew members were housed at the Best Western in Kingston, he reveals.
“Two days of production focused on plates, and included air, land and river filming in digital IMAX,” reports HVFC. In filmmaking parlance, a “plate” is a background shot, empty of actors or props, lit the same way as the scene that will be ultimately constructed. It might be incorporated into a scene using actors filmed against a greenscreen in a studio, or with CGI effects in the foreground, such as a superhero’s super-vehicle, or simply used for reference.
So when you get out to see Avengers: Endgame, in between all your cheering and laughing and weeping, keep one eye out for scenes that look like they might have been captured close to home.
4/29 editor’s update:
After seeing the film, Fran reports: “You can make out the Esopus Meadows Lighthouse in the distance in one of the final scenes. Staatsburg site unrecognizable for all the big battle effects.”
A subsequent release from the Hudson Valley Film Commission includes more details about the location:
On March of 2018, the film commission was contacted by a location manager for Marvel regarding a feature film going by the name MARY LOU PART 2. We were told up front that it was a sequel for AVENGER: INFINITY WAR, but asked to keep the info top secret. Our task was to find lodging, and to refer local crew and vendors, including catering, and boat vendors.
We were also asked to find a wide open field with hills and terrain for the “battlefield.” We recommended about eight properties. The VFX Team at Marvel ended up falling in love with the Staatsburgh State Historic Site in Dutchess County. The grounds are unique before the train line does cut off the property from the river. We were also asked to help with contact and permitting information for a Scenic Hudson property in Esopus – the Black Creek Preserve in Ulster County.
Read the full story at https://www.hudsonvalleyfilmcommission.org/newsinfo/https//www.hudsonvalleyfilmcommission.org/2019426