If you were walking around Baldwin recently and stumbled on a police chase, a sexual assault, a shootout or a savage killing, don’t pack up and move just yet. You simply witnessed a scene or two from “The Night Never Sleeps,” a film being shot in and around the area by former Baldwin resident Fred Carpenter.
Carpenter, who deftly deflects questions about his age, is a film director and producer who lives in the Suffolk County Hamlet of Shirley, and is known for working on Long Island. He spent his teen years on Baldwin’s waterfront and went to Baldwin High School, where he played football. He has remained friends with several members of the Baldwin Fire Department, including former Chief Frank Esposito. Speaking with his characteristic raspy, energetic voice, Carpenter was full of praise for Baldwin. “It was good to return to the scenes of my youth,” he said. “To hang out with my friends from the firehouse was really cool. You meet a lot of people who can disappoint you in this life, and it was inspirational to come back to see guys who are really a brotherhood.”
The fire and police departments have supported the filming of “The Night Never Sleeps,” which Carpenter is directing and executive-producing, in more than a cheerleading capacity. Longtime firefighter and community activist Jerry Brown and two other members of the BFD play first responders in the film, and Detective Lt. Kevin Smith of the Nassau County Police Department has been on the set several times to ensure that panic doesn’t spread to the neighborhoods where the film is being shot.
“These scenes look real,” Smith told the Herald, standing beside a squad car and sipping coffee during a recent early-Saturday- morning shoot. “We like to be out here so that when people hear gunshots or see police chases, they don’t start calling 911 or running away or anything. When they see us out here, calmly watching next to the lights or the film truck, they usually put two and two together.”