The Americans are all over Brooklyn

“All’s Fair in Love and Cold War” reads ads for The Americans

BROOKLYN, N.Y.–I’ve been deep undercover this week with The Americans.
The Cold War spy series, starring Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell, premieres Jan. 30 on FX and FX Canada. There are already bus shelter ads for the series all over Manhattan.
The series shoots in one of those stealth studios tucked into an industrial corner of Brooklyn. Crews and talent in Vancouver are bemoaning an exodus of shows in that town this week, but some of it seems to have shifted to Manhattan and the boroughs. Within blocks of The Americans several other series are in production, including Boardwalk Empire, Girls, The Good Wife and Blue Bloods.
Part of it is the tax incentives provided by the State of New York. Part of it, though, is dues to other reasons. The Americans, for example, is shooting in Brooklyn because Keri Russell wants to be close to home and her two young children. Aidan Quinn, who lives just north of New York City, is pretty happy he just has to cross a bridge or two to get to work on Elementary.

The Americans is set in 1981. Gad, those harvest gold/avocado kitchens

Matthew Rhys, a Welsh actor who now lives in Los Angeles, has more of a commute. Tough, joked Russell Wednesday on the set. Single dude Rhys is footloose and fancy free and can suck it up and relocate. Rhys agrees, knowing he signed up for the gypsy life.
If it wasn’t for Russell, who knows? The Americans might have been shot in Canada.
That would have worked for Joel Fields. As he told me Wednesday, the writer/producer has lived so many places he doesn’t care where the show shoots. Fields grew up in Boston but lived in Toronto for about five years during his teens. His dad was a Rabbi who moved from synagogue to synagogue and young Fields eventually followed his family to L.A. and lucked into this crazy TV business. He has fond memories of his years on Bathurst St. and found Toronto’s theatre scene was a big influence on his showbiz career choice.
The Americans is actually set in Washington and Virginia. Russell and Rhys play a Russian couple who are deep undercover near the American capitol.

The golf club aftershave bottle; more manly than the VW Beetle bottle?

Nothing is shot in Washington, however, and that’s typical of the TV business. In one gigantic old munitions factory in Toronto you’ll find a U.S. cable show set in Washington (Covert Affairs) and a similar show set in Manhattan (Suits), all under the same roof. Boardwalk Empire, set in Atlantic City, shoots in Brooklyn. Copper, which depicts lower Manhattan in the 1860s, is shot in Toronto. Haven, supposedly a New England town, is produced near Halifax.
For more on Rhys and Russell and The Americans read this story I wrote Thursday for The Canadian Press. That’s CP, not AP.

Circa 1981: what even FBI offices looked like before cell phones

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