Growing Up and Other Lies, the second feature from filmmakers Darren Grodsky and Danny Jacobs, focuses on a group of friends who decide to walk the length of Manhattan. And while the island itself is a little more than 13 miles long, when all was said and done, the filmmakers shot at over 50 locations across New York City.
“We had 57 locations in our 19 days of shooting,” Grodsky says of the film, which stars Adam Brody and Amber Tamblyn. “Pretty much everyone involved in the production had the thought, probably several times, that we could do with fewer locations. But we knew from the beginning that, by the nature of this film, we would shoot in New York City and we would shoot all over.”
Early on, some investors suggested the duo substitute Toronto for Manhattan or find other ways to cut down on the headache—not to mention the cost—of such a complicated shoot. The directors were undeterred.
“It was important for each neighborhood to be right, or at least close to what it really looks like,” Jacobs says. “We had to shoot in Washington Heights, on Eighth Avenue in Midtown and in Battery Park. We wanted things to look real.”
To make it work, the crew would set up one base camp and attempt to shoot in three different locations nearby on a given day. To hear Grodsky tell it, there was no other option. “To do what’s called a company move, when you’re packing everything up in a truck and driving, was impossible to do three times a day for 19 days,” he says.
In the end, the filmmakers agree the trouble was worthwhile and they were able to capture images of New York that no other place could provide.
“For me, it’s looking across the Broadway Bridge to the northern tip of Manhattan,” Jacobs says. “From the northern part of the island, you see a skyline that is so unfamiliar and radically different from the skyline of Manhattan that we know. Looking out and seeing the excursion we were about to make, that’s emblematic of the journey for me.”