Long Island is more than ready for its close-up. In fact, the area has a starring role in two major 2019 releases — Martin Scorsese’s mob drama “The Irishman,” filmed in Huntington Station, and “Bad Education,” starring Hugh Jackman as notorious former Roslyn Schools Superintendent Frank Tassone.
Don’t get the idea that Long Island is a newcomer to the motion picture industry. The area has been a principal player on screen going back to the days of silent movies. If you’re looking for a cool day trip, why not pay a visit to these local spots that served as a setting for some great movies.
1. Start your tour at Old Westbury Gardens, namely, its grand Phipps Estate. Most famously, the mansion doubled in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 thriller, “North by Northwest,” as the Glen Cove house where the movie’s hero, Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant), was kidnapped by the creepy bad guy (James Mason) and then force-fed booze by an even creepier bad guy (played by a very young Martin Landau). The Phipps Mansion was also featured in “Love Story” (1970) and “Cruel Intentions” (1999). ($12 adults, $7 ages 7-17; 516-333-0048, oldwestburygardens.org)
2. When you’re done with the mansion, you can take a quick tour of the property or just get back in your car and drive 11 miles north to Sands Point Preserve ($10/car parking; sandspointpreserveconservancy.org). Here, you can tour Falaise, the estate owned by Harry Guggenheim (who was married to Newsday founder Alicia Patterson) and see the room where the memorable horse’s head in the bedroom scene from “The Godfather” (1972) was filmed ($10 guided tours offered Thursdays-Sundays May-November, reserve at 516-571-7901).
3. Next door to Falaise is Hempstead House, another mansion that was the setting for many films, including “Scent of a Woman” (1992) and “Malcolm X” (also 1992). By prior arrangement, you might get a guided tour here also (516-571-7901).
4. Stop by Coe Hall, the mansion within Oyster Bay’s Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park (516-922,9200, plantingfields.org), for a guided tour and you might recognize it from “A Winter’s Tale” (2014). The fantasy romance starring Colin Farrell as a burglar with a gift for reincarnation used Coe Hall’s basement, furnace and other rooms. Be sure to call ahead, as Coe closes during the winter.
5. If you’re up for a laugh, swing by Governor’s Comedy Club in Levittown (516-731-3358, govs.com), which played a thinly disguised version of itself in “The Comedian” (2017). The film stars Robert De Niro as Jackie Burke, a onetime TV star who has fallen so far he’s reduced to playing — horrors! — Long Island. If you go, you might even see West Hempstead comic Jessica Kirson, a regular there who coached De Niro during filming.
6. Enjoy an evening drink at Woody’s Village Saloon at 1015 Park Blvd. in Massapequa Park (516-798-9786, woodysvillagesaloon.com). That’s where Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt shot four key scenes in the comedy-drama “Young Adult” (2011). She plays a successful but troubled author, he plays an old admirer and Woody’s plays their local haunt. The production crew threw a birthday party there for director Jason Reitman, who turned 33 a few days before filming began.
7. One of Long Island’s biggest claims to fame is that Jackson Pollock and his wife, Lee Krasner, made the area their home. When Ed Harris directed himself as the legendary action-painter, in “Pollock” (2000), he filmed a number of shots at the Pollock-Krasner House (631-324-4929, stonybrook.edu/pkhouse) in East Hampton. Because of the house’s landmark status, though, Harris was limited to exteriors. Even the concrete pad outside, on which Pollock did much of his painting, was off-limits, due to fears that Harris might spill paint on it. Instead, the crew built a duplicate nearby for the shoot.