‘Hillbilly Elegy’ filming in Middletown: What happened the first day?

Crews began at 6:30 a.m. Monday getting everything ready for the first day of highly anticipated location filming in Middletown for the “Hillbilly Elegy” movie.

The actual filming started about 9 a.m. with scenes at several houses in Middletown whose exteriors and interiors have been transformed to look like the mid to late 1990s. There are about 125 cast and crew working on the Middletown location.

The perimeter, including alleys, were blocked by a security officer and hired police officers from Middletown, Monroe, Franklin, Springboro and the Butler County Sheriff’s Office.

Publicist Andy Lipschultz said the movie has a 43-day shooting schedule with four filming days slated for Middletown. He said most of the interior scenes were shot at locations in Macon, Clayton and Atlanta, Ga.

Lipschultz said Monday’s shooting schedule includes a number of dialog scenes between the Vance character and his “Mamaw,” played by Glenn Close.

Also cast in the film is Amy Adams who plays “Bev Vance,” J.D.’s mother.

Some of the scenes included the “J.D. Vance” character played by Gabriel Basso coming out of house with a dog and driving down the street in Dodge Rampage.

Lipschultz said interior scenes would be filmed today and interior and outdoor scenes would be filmed for the remainder of the week.

Cars and trucks that will be used in the movie are parked at the base camp at Charles Street and Manchester Avenue. Also at the base camp is a large tent with a mobile generator and air conditioner as well as several travel trailers for actors.

At another large tent, meals were being prepared for cast, crew and other production personnel.

While there are no local “spectators,” some residents who live near one of the large tents sat on their front porches hoping for a glimpse of one of the stars or of Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard.

Constance Bowling of North Avenue said she saw Howard walking on Sunday. Her sister, Judy Crowe, and Vincent Whicker of Hamilton were visiting Monday.

“I think it’s nice that they’re doing films in Middletown,” Whicker said. “It’s pretty cool. Things are booming here in Middletown.”

A couple of doors down another watch party was going on screened-in porch hoping for a glimpse of an actor. Wendy Adams, who lives in Trenton, said they had been on the porch for a couple of hours Monday.

“We’re waiting to be discovered,” said Blanche Cokley.

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