Hollywood came to Valley Stream last week, when Emma Stone and Jonah Hill filmed parts of an upcoming Netflix series called “Maniac” around town.
About 20 people lined East Euclid Street on Aug. 22 to watch crew members dash in and out of Frank and Nancy Mazzei’s home, where filming took place. Prop cars with 1990s New York license plates lined the streets, and at one point, onlookers spotted a lemur being carried out of the house in a dog crate. Other bizarre sights included a woman in a tutu and sash talking on a cellphone, and a tractor-trailer repeatedly speeding down the street.
The 10-episode dark comedy is based on the 2014 Norwegian television series of the same name, written by Patrick Somerville, according to Deadline Hollywood. The show revolves around the fantasy worlds of the two main characters, played by Hill and Stone, who are confined to a mental institution.
According to published reports, Justin Theroux was recently tapped to co-star in the series, which is expected to finish principal photography in November. No release date has been set. Filming recently began on the Paramount TV/Anonymous Content project in New York City, with Cary Fukunaga set to direct all of the episodes.
Stone smiled and waved to the crowd before her lunch break on Aug. 22. “I think she had a wig on or something,” said 25-year-old Kelly Maroshick, of Valley Stream. “There was something crazy going on with her hair.”
Maroshick hurried back and forth between rumored set locations in hopes of seeing the stars. “I think they’re both talented people,” she said of Stone and Hill, “and when there’s rumors going around, you just want to be a part of all the action.”
Frank Mazzei seemed unfazed as the production company used his house to film scenes. “To me it’s just another day,” he said, because he’s a construction worker with the DC-9 union, which has worked with production companies in the past.
Nancy needed a bit more persuading, however. “They came to my wife, Nancy, early in the day, and she didn’t know who they were,” Frank said, referring to the location scouts from Silver Company.
But according to Frank, Nancy took their business card and called him. He recognized the name Silver Company, and knew that it wanted to use the house for the shoot. Frank called the scouting company back, and they came to an agreement on compensation.
According to Frank, the Silver Company chose his house because the exterior fit the 1990s setting of the show. The interior, however, did not. Paramount’s art department removed all of the Mazzeis’ furniture, which was put in a nearby storage facility, Frank said. Art department workers also put up wallpaper, which Frank said looked “like something out of ‘The Brady Bunch.’”
“As soon as this scene is shot, the art department will be back in the house, tearing the wallpaper off the walls, and the house will go back to the way it was before they ever came,” Frank said. “It’s the way it works.”
The excitement around town
The sights interested plenty of Valley Streamers, many of whom were prepared to spend several hours outside on a weekday in the heat. Stacey Franks watched with her friend Dylan Sissini, from East Meadow. “What else is there to do on a gorgeous day like this?” Franks asked.
Karen Bogner said the experience reminded her of when scenes from the 1996 film “Trees Lounge,” starring Valley Stream native Steve Buscemi, were filmed in front of her home.
Lorraine Surace, who lives around the block from the Mazzeis, on East Fenimore Street, said she didn’t plan to watch the filming because she is undergoing chemotherapy for bone cancer, but decided on a whim that she would anyway.
On Aug. 23, Stone and Hill filmed a scene outside American Legion Post No. 854, on Roosevelt Avenue. “I took a video as he walked by me and said hi to him, and he said hi back to me,” said Bismarck Ordoñez.
His sister, Nicole Shevak, was even luckier. “My son ran out and asked for a picture,” she recounted. “He was so polite and grabbed my phone and asked his name,” she said of Hill.
Mayor Ed Fare said that the production went smoothly. “I will say that they were very professional and friendly,” he said.
According to Gabriela Zapata, a senior publicist for Paramount/Anoymous Content,“Maniac” is due to be released on Netflix sometime in 2018.
Nick Ciccone contributed to this story.