Hollywood continues to come to Maryland
Filmmakers draw on state’s geographic diversity, easy access
and ‘made-for-screen’ destinations
BALTIMORE (Feb. 20, 2013) – In light of the Oscar telecast on Feb. 24, it is only fitting to dub February “Hollywood on the Chesapeake” month in Maryland. Since hometown directors Barry Levinson and John Waters put Baltimore on the map with films such as Diner and Hairspray, filmmakers have continued to look to Maryland as the backdrop for a variety of film productions.
Maryland’s appeal for filmmakers starts with its diversity of locations – all in relative proximity, says Jack Gerbes, director of the Maryland Film Office. “It’s a plus for filmmakers when they can move from an urban setting like Baltimore, to open horse country just north of the city, to a waterfront town along the Chesapeake Bay or to the flat landscape of the Eastern Shore – all within an hour or two.”
The Maryland Office of Tourism is encouraging Marylanders and visitors to plan a trip and visit one of the many Maryland locations seen on-screen.
Baltimore – Filmmakers Barry Levinson and John Waters used Baltimore as the inspiration and backdrop for the films Diner (1982) and Hairspray (1988). The television series The Wire was also filmed in Baltimore as well as the recent HBO film Game Change (2012) and television series Veep, using an assortment of Baltimore locations as stand-ins for Washington locales. Baltimore was the setting for Ladder 49 (2003), a drama about a firefighter trapped in a burning building with Joaquin Phoenix and John Travolta. Locations included War Memorial Plaza, Werner’s (a downtown Art-Deco-styled luncheonette), Looney’s Pub in Canton, Curtis Bay (a waterfront area in southeast Baltimore) and a closed firehouse off Harford Road in the northeast part of the city. Baltimore’s beloved Camden Yards has also been seen in Dave (1993), Head of State (2002) and a 2012 episode of Veep.
Johns Hopkins University was used as the Harvard campus in Social Network, as well as a fictional military academy in House of Cards. Mount Vernon Square has been used as a location in Enemy of the State, For Richer or Poorer, and Washington Square. And, He’s Just Not That Into You (2009) used Baltimore for exterior shots.
Havre de Grace – House of Cards – a new television series released Feb. 1 by Netflix – is the latest Maryland production to have a script set in the nation’s capital. The series, a political drama starring Kevin Spacey, began filming a year ago on location in Harford County and Baltimore. Havre de Grace, a colonial-era town located at the juncture of the Chesapeake Bay and Susquehanna River, doubles for Gaffney, S.C., Spacey’s character’s hometown.
Ocean City - Ping Pong Summer, a coming-of-age comedy filmed in Ocean City, will also be a 2013 release. Its cast features Susan Sarandon, Amy Sedaris and John Hannah. Written and directed by Maryland native Michael Tully, the movie is set in Ocean City during the 1980s. Filming locations included Trimper’s Rides, a boardwalk amusement park that dates back to the turn of the 20th century.
Berlin - The Runaway Bride (1999), starring Julia Roberts, Richard Gere and Joan Cusack, was filmed on the Eastern Shore. In this romantic comedy, the Worcester County towns of Berlin and Snow Hill were used as the fictional Maryland town of Hale. Berlin’s Atlantic Hotel, built in 1895, was a prominent backdrop. The production also filmed in Baltimore city and in Baltimore County at Waugh United Methodist Church (Glen Arm) and Boordy Vineyard (Hydes).
St. Michaels - Filming of Wedding Crashers (2005), a romantic comedy starring Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams, was done in and around St. Michaels in Talbot County. In one scene, cast member Christopher Walken takes the helm of Woodwind II, a 74-foot Annapolis schooner that sails along the Choptank River in the film. (The schooner is available for public cruises during sailing season.) And, the Inn at Perry Cabin – where some cast and crew stayed – is a key film location, as the site of the waterfront wedding.
Oxford - Minutes from St. Michaels, was one of the main locations for Failure to Launch (2006), a romantic comedy featuring Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew McConaughey. Additional filming for this production occurred in Annapolis and Baltimore.
Harford County - Tuck Everlasting (2002) – a film that was adapted from a children’s fantasy novel – features scenic locations at Rocks State Park in Harford County. Kilgore Falls, for instance, in the park’s Falling Branch Area, is the second-highest vertical drop waterfall in the state. And, the King and Queen Seat, 190 feet above Deer Creek, is the top of a rock formation that offers a picturesque view of the park. The King and Queen Seat was also shown in the 1998 film Beloved. Tuck Everlasting also used locations in Susquehanna State Park (Harford County), Loch Raven Reservoir (Baltimore County), Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area (Cecil County) and Berlin (Worcester County).
Baltimore County - The presidential press conference scene in Absolute Power (1997) – starring Clint Eastwood (he also directed), Gene Hackman and Ed Harris – was filmed at the Towson courthouse in Baltimore County. Other Central Maryland locations included The Walters Art Museum (Baltimore) and Elk Neck State Park (Cecil County). Turkey Point Lighthouse – built in 1883 and located atop a 100-foot bluff at the park – was in a scene in which a car chase ended as the cars flew over a cliff. The Castle at Maryvale Preparatory School was used as a mansion where a crime central to the storyline occurred early in the film.
Antietam - The Civil War movie Gods and Generals (2003), was filmed on a farm close to Antietam National Battlefield, in Washington County, where the single bloodiest day of fighting on American soil occurred in 1863.
About Maryland tourism
The Maryland Office of Tourism is an agency of the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts within the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. Visitors to the state spent more than $14.3 billion on travel-related expenses in 2011. During 2011, the Maryland tourism industry also generated close to $2 billion in state and local taxes and provided more than 131,000 jobs to Maryland residents.