So Ang Lee has been in the area the past few weeks shooting his new movie Taking Woodstock. According to IMDB, “A man working at his parents’ motel in the Catskills inadvertently sets in motion the generation-defining concert in the summer of 1969.” It stars Emile Hirsh (Into the Wild), Eugene Levy (Splash, Waiting for Guffman) and Liev Schrieber (a great Roma in Glengarry Glen Ross on Broadway). Levy plays Max Yasgur, the owner of the farm Woodstock took place on, and later immortalized in CSNY’s anthem Woodstock. Hirsh plays a Vietnam vet. I don’t know what Liev plays.

The movie is a comedy with music. Is Ang Lee funny?

A couple miles up the road is the primary setting for the movie: the motel. I think the production crew actually built the motel – it’s a little run down, but looks fully functional.  You wouldn’t know it was a movie set if it weren’t for the huge white tents pitched in the adjacent lot, presumably for holding and catering. It looks like they could even be using the land behind the motel for the concert scenes.

It’s pretty cool, I have to admit. In the city we get movie (more recently it’s television) shoots coming through town pretty regularly. It’s no biggie to walk by the trailers and equipment trucks and even ‘video village’, where the director and producers and producers’ assistants camp out behind the monitor on director’s chairs. I was a producer’s assistant, so I can toss around phrases like ‘video village’. My point is, when you escape 130 miles to the country and suddenly a major studio movie is shooting next door, a movie based on Woodstock no less, it’s exciting. ‘Our little town? They’ve come here?!’ Would I ever take a picture of a set in New York? Never. And yet here I am, sharing pictures of a set.

Last week, Taking Woodstock was shooting in another location – equally close but in the opposite direction of the motel set – so we took a few shots.

Note to store patrons:

Do your best to remember these trucks and bus. They may figure prominently in the film.

I read there’s a scene where the main character gets arrested…

We kinda wished we could’ve rented our house out to cast or crew members. We’ve got space for Liev, Naomi, and little Alexander (I read too much In Touch). Sadly, I think there’s only a few more weeks of shooting. Then they’ll pack up and return to LA for post-production. I hope they enjoy their time in Columbia County. Take some hikes, pick some apples, spend some money at our local stores and restaurants.

Taking Woodstock’s expected release date is June 26, 2009.

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