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Arts and Music

Lights! Camera! Fraud!

Films set on Long Island shot elsewhere

Probably one of the more disappointing experiences a cinephile can have is readily realizing that a movie that’s supposed to be taking place in a specific locale was in fact shot somewhere else (think Jackie Chan’s Rumble in the Bronx­ — I didn’t know there were mountains by the Grand Concourse.) It’s even more egregious when the entire plot centers around somewhere specific like Long Island.

1. The Great Gatsby (2013) — Great Neck was where the fictionalized setting for the 1925 F. Scott Fitgerald novel of the same name was supposed to take place. But rather than shoot in the village and in New York City, Aussie filmmaker Baz Luhrmann instead chose to shoot at Fox Studios Australia and in Sydney.

2. Adventureland (2009) — Dix Hills native Greg Mottola worked at the Farmingdale landmark amusement park when he was growing up. But rather than go back to his old stomping grounds, Mottola instead chose to shoot at Kennywood Amusement Park in West Mifflin, Penn., Pittsburgh and a handful of Keystone State suburbs.

3. The Amityville Horror (1979) — So you would think that a film that had the name of a town in the title would shoot in said place but if that were the case with The Amityville Horror, you would be wrong. It turns out that the 1977 Jay Hanson novel that was adapted into a screenplay proved too hot to handle for local authorities in Amityville. As a result, the shoot decamped to New Jersey, specifically Toms River and Point Pleasant.

4. Grey Gardens (2009) — The actual Grey Gardens estate was in East Hampton and was where Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale and daughter Edith Bouvier Beale, relatives of Jacqueline Bouvier Kenney Onassis and Lee Radziwell, called home. The squalor they lived in not only became an international story but became the basis for the 1975 Albert and David Maysles documentary Grey Gardens. Fast forward 32 years later and HBO greenlights a dramatic adaptation starring Jessica Lange and Big Edie and Drew Barrymore as Little Edie that starts shooting in 2007. But rather than head east, director Michael Sucsy decided to head north to Toronto and some other Ontario locations.

5. Jaws (1975) — Even though the burg at the heart of Peter Benchley’s 1974 novel Jaws was the fictional village of Amity, it was set on Long Island. And while co-producer David Brown was considering shooting in East Hampton, the decision was to go with Martha’s Vineyard, the thinking was that a vacation area that looked lower middle class was needed to reinforce the idea that multiple shark attacks could destroy the local tourist economy.