For the second time in less than six months Hollywood has come to Lebanon.
“Carol,” a feature film starring Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett that is based on a short story set in the 1950s in New York City, was filmed in Lebanon on Monday at the Shaker Inn motel, 600 Cincinnati Avenue, just south of the downtown. The Shaker Inn will be used to portray the Josephine Inn in New York, according to a news release from the Lebanon Area Chamber of Commerce.
Production crews also shot scenes along East Mulberry Street in downtown Lebanon, according to Deputy City Manager Scott Brunka.
“Great to highlight our community and the town,” Brunka said. “I think that’s a reflection of the charm of Lebanon.”
In October of 2013, a Hallmark Channel movie titled, “The Christmas Spirit,” starring Nicollette Sheridan, was filmed in downtown Lebanon.
“The majority of the film was on-site, a lot of shots on East Mulberry,” Brunka said of Monday’s filming. “The downtown area and also one of our historical residential neighborhoods was heavily filmed.”
Monday was the only day of scheduled shooting in Lebanon as production crews returned to Cincinnati to film the rest of the movie, officials said. Blanchett was on location for the filming.
“I saw her. I was going to get her autograph but didn’t do that. I’m just a little shy,” said Robert Cook, of Lebanon.
Cook lives at Concord Square Apartments, which is next door to the Shaker Inn.
“I’ve seen a lot of Hollywood people. It’s really cool,” he said. “I like all the old cars.”
More than a hundred production crew members were in Lebanon for the filming on Monday. City officials and local business owners said they hope the crew had time after work to do a little shopping.
“Hopefully, they’re spending money in our community shopping in stores,” said Brunka. “During ‘The Christmas Spirit’ movie, we had people from out of town come here to just watch the film…being shot.”
Marty Spicer, who works at Liberty Western, a Lebanon store that sells western apparel including hats, boots and shirts, said he hopes to see more movies filmed in town because it’s a big boost for the local economy.
“Some of the film crews (from The Christmas Spirit) came over and bought some stuff,” Spicer said, adding he hoped to meet Blanchett on Monday.
“I’d say ma’am step right in here; let me show you my boot collection,” he said.
Brunka said officials with the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Film Commission brought production crews for “Carol” to Lebanon many months ago to see if they wanted to film there.
According to WCPO-TV, Kristen Erwin Schlotman, executive director of the Film Commission, said, “We are ecstatic to host such an extraordinary project. This is the largest motion picture to shoot in our area…and will be one of Hollywood’s highest profile films produced next year.”
“Carol” is the first film shot entirely in the region under Ohio’s Film Production Incentive that passed in 2012 to lure more Hollywood films to the state by offering various tax breaks. Part of the 2012 incentives includes tax rebates for the producers based on the number of Ohioans hired to participate in movies. That includes crew, extras and day players with speaking roles.
According to the film commission, the movie tax incentive returns $1.20 into the Ohio economy for every $1 invested by the incentive.