“The Irishman,” Martin Scorsese’s upcoming mobster film starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Harvey Keitel, Ray Romano and an out-from-retirement Joe Pesci turned the clock back in Huntington Station Monday as the Rodeway Inn at 270 W. Jericho Tpke. became once more the Howard Johnson’s it had been in the 1970s.
“When I was a kid, I used to go there and have breakfast,” reminisced Troy Berliner, 50, owner of Coastline Pools & Spa next door — and an impromptu crew member who helped revive the hotel’s pool, unused for a decade or more.
The production, he explained, “had hired a company that came in and cleaned it and filled it with water — which just sat there” without the pumped circulation that, along with filters and chemicals, keeps pools from becoming cloudy or algae-ridden. Last week, “They were heating the pool and I asked why,” said Berliner, who became friendly with some of the crew. “They said, ‘Well, Martin changed a scene and he wants people to be in that pool.’ I said, ‘The water’s not being filtered. You’re gonna have a green pool by the time you film.’ ”
Volunteering, Berliner brought a portable filtration system and administered chlorine and other chemicals beginning last Thursday. “This morning we broke the system down and they’re shooting a scene in the pool right now,” he said.
Also offering neighborly assistance to the film — Scorsese’s first in 22 years with De Niro, his collaborator / muse on eight previous movies — was Kevin Maibach, 27, owner of the All Weather Golf indoor golf center in the same building next door. The crew, which “had been in town setting up for probably a week-and-a-half or two weeks,” he says, used his parking lot to hold two vintage cars for the movie — a Mercury Comet, last produced in 1977, and a Buick Estate Wagon, made from 1970 to 1990.
The $100 million production is based on Charles Brandt’s 2004 book “I Heard You Paint Houses,” about mob hitman Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran — allegedly involved in the disappearance of union boss Jimmy Hoffa in 1975. Set to premiere on Netflix in 2019, it might also receive an Oscar-qualifying theatrical run in December 2018, according to trade reports. Production began in August and is expected to continue through December.