By Kate Gibson
Staff Writer at The Progress Index
Yet another television production rolled through the streets of this city last week.
Filming began in downtown Hopewell on Wednesday, Sept. 27, for season seven of “Homeland,” Showtime’s critically acclaimed spy thriller TV series.
Camera operators positioned themselves inside of a wood-paneled Jeep Grand Wagoneer to capture driving scenes along the storefronts of E. Broadway Avenue. Sections of E. Broadway Avenue and Hopewell Street were closed off to vehicular traffic while the production crew was on-site.
Although the streets were closed to cars, people could still access buildings on foot. However, pedestrians had to wait for breaks in filming to access the shops so as not to disturb the scenes.
The production group notified business owners of these restrictions in advance and provided compensation to those affected.
Some businesses, like Burnette’s Baked Goods, stayed open during the two days of filming.
“It was awesome because a lot of people came in and bought pies … crew members, new people that we haven’t seen,” said cashier Janetta Bey. “It brought a lot of attention to the shop.”
Others, like Lisa’s Cafe, opted to close during this time due to reduced foot traffic.
“They gave us a paper talking about the schedule, and it was saying there was going to be five minute intervals where people could walk on the street, so there was no point in opening,” said April Waters, assistant manager of Lisa’s Cafe.
The crew began the process of staging the building facades earlier in the week.
“In the beginning I thought that was just somebody remodeling the building … because if you look, they’ve been opening little different businesses right here in downtown,” Hopewell resident Jeff Moogalian said.
“Homeland,” is the latest in a string of well-known film or television productions to use the Tri-Cities as a location. Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” Meg Ryan’s “Ithaca,” AMC’s “Turn: Washington’s Spies,” PBS’s “Mercy Street,” have all used the area for filming. In 2015, the film “Imperium” starring Daniel Radcliffe was shot in Hopewell. Production for a “Dirty Money” remake was also scheduled to begin this summer.
Andy Edmunds, director of the Virginia Film Office, credits the Hopewell’s welcoming attitude for bringing this production to another location in the Tri-Cities.
“We are thrilled to bring more production work back to Hopewell,” said Edmunds. “It’s a testament to our helpful colleagues in local government and the film-friendly community spirit.”
• Kate Gibson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 804-722-5162.