Boardwalk Empire brings its second season to a close tonight (9 p.m., HBO/HBO Canada). Visited the set this past summer and marveled at how this gigantic outdoor boardwalk exterior was tucked away behind an enormous wall of boxcars in an industrial corner of Brooklyn, N.Y. Walking that boardwalk set, it’s all there–ice cream parlors, hardware stores and the like, and walking into most of them is like walking into the past. There are fully realized interiors filled with period effects like old nickle-plated cash registers and tins full of taffy.
Beyond the lip of the actual boardwalk is a large sandy beach; beyond that a tall, blue curtain is drawn facing the set. An ocean view is digitally added over this curtain later.
Creator Terry Winter and producer/director Tim Van Pattern walked a few reporters around the set that day. Van Patten said he cursed Martin Scorsese for hogging so many angles on the boardwalk set that very first episode he directed.
Van Patten and Winter on the Boardwalk set
Winter itself visited Winter’s set this season. The shoot began way back in February and Van Patten said there were days when he and the crew and the cast and extras were out there shooting through snow and ice. It gave the set a bit of a weather beaten look this season which only, to me anyway, added to the authenticity.