Baltimore isn’t like New York City for a lot of reasons (we’re okay with that), like when we see movie trailers on the side of the road, we’re taken aback and we usually ask someone on set, “What’s going on?”
The answer to that question recently has been Veep, an HBO series starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who plays a Maryland Senator turned U.S. Vice President. The eight-episode season was shot locally and filming wrapped in December.
“Everyone who’s been working on this show said how great the set is, how nice the people are,” says casting director Pat Moran. “This can hopefully give Baltimore a chance to compete in the industry again.”
While Baltimore is acting as a stand in for D.C. (à la Live Free or Die Hard and Enemy of the State), natives will surely recognize Veep’s filming locations when it premieres on HBO in the spring.
A scene in the pilot episode was filmed outside of MICA’s main building. The grand, white-marble stairs were able to mimic D.C.’s architecture. The crew even put a fake metal detector in the entranceway to add to that government feel.
There was also a scene at The Ottobar with about 200 people. Moran couldn’t reveal much, though she said that Veep is a comedy and this was a “big, funny scene.”
Another filming location that got attention (especially as many thought Mad Men was in town) was the Belvedere, which was the backdrop for a law enforcement retirement party.
“The Belvedere is a grand dame,” Moran says. “I don’t care about any standards of any city. It was a perfect place for this over-the-top event. We used many local retired law-enforcement folks for that scene.”
Other locations included Donna’s in Charles Village, a Dillon Street row home in Canton, the offices of DLA Piper, and the show’s soundstage in Columbia.
But Moran stresses that this show means much more to Baltimore than just glitz and glamour.
“In a city like ours, we need the revenue,” she says. “We were once top five in the nation in the film industry. Now people move to New York, New Orleans. Hopefully, this will help bring our crew base back.”