Harrison's downtown environment might not be often confused with that of a college town, but it looks like there are enough similarities for producers of an HBO comedy to portray it that way.
The crew of HBO's new comedy series "Girls" will be filming scenes on Halstead Avenue and in another Harrison neighborhood for four days this week. The scenes filmed in Harrison will be portrayed as East Lansing, MI., home of Michigan State University.
The crew was filming inside of at 261 Halstead Ave. on Tuesday afternoon.
"It's the kind of place that would also be in a college town," said Ilene S. Landress, a co-producer of the show, who added that producers looked at photos of several areas in the metropolitan area before deciding that Harrison fit their needs.
After the shoot at Rue Des Crepes is completed, filming will continue for two days in a home nearby. Landress said she didn't want to disclose the address until they are finished.
"Girls" is a comedy about the struggles of girls in their early 20s as they look for direction after college. The shoot in Harrison will be used for an episode this season when the show's lead character returns to East Lansing to visit her parents who are college professors.
Since the show is based in New York City, Harrison was chosen to stand in for East Lansing because it provides a similar backdrop, Landress said.
"It's cute, suburban, same idea," Landress said.
Harrison Town Clerk Joseph Acocella worked with producers to help draw the production to Harrison. Town Councilwoman Marlane Amelio praised Acocella's work and said she was excited to welcome the film crew to town.
"It is beneficial to town on both a monetary basis while generating good-will for future productions," said Amelio. "I am pleased that Harrison is being viewed in a positive light as a desirable venue for movie making, commercials and photo shoots."
"Girls" is executive produced by big-name comedy filmmaker Judd Apatow and Jenni Konner. It was created by Lena Dunham, who also plays the lead role. HBO announced in January that it will be picking up the show.
HBO is paying for local police traffic control during the shoots and has worked with local businesses to create parking spots for film trucks over the next few days. There will be no road closings or other changes while the show is filmed, said Harrison Police Chief Anthony Marraccini.
"It brings a little livelihood to downtown Harrison," said Marraccini.
There is no timetable for when the episode will air, but we'll let you know when locals can expect to see some familiar sights on the small screen.