Forest Hills was the backdrop for some recent scenes of “Armageddon Time,” a coming-of-age drama about being raised in Queens in the 1980s.
On October 8, some scenes was filmed along Burns Street between Continental Avenue and Tennis Place in Forest Hills Gardens.
Commuters exiting the Long Island Railroad might have noticed 1980s-style vehicles and young cast members.
The autobiographical drama was written and directed by James Gray and produced by Brazilian producer Rodrigo Teixeira. The cast features Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway, Donald Sutherland, Oscar Isaac, and Cate Blanchett.
Gray is known for his films “Little Odessa,” “The Yards,” “We Own The Night,” “Two Lovers,” “The Immigrant,” “The Lost City of Z,” and “Ad Astra.”
Based on Gray’s childhood memories, it offers a window into loyalty and friendship, as well as racial tension and bigotry, at a time America was poised to elect Ronald Reagan.
Twelve-year-old Paul Graff is raised in a warm and raucous family, where his grandpa encourages his artistic goals. His best friend, John Crocker, is an African-American student.
“I’m anxious to make something that is very much about people, about human emotions, and interactions between people,” Gray told Deadline in 2020. “In some sense, yes, it’s about my childhood, but an illustration of familial love really on every level.
“I got in big trouble when I was around 11, and the story is about my movement from the public education that I got into private school and a world of privilege,” he added. “This film is about what that meant for me and how lucky I was, and how unlucky my friend was.”
After a drug-related incident, Paul’s parents transfer him to The Kew-Forest School, a private prep institution in Forest Hills. At that time, the best friends devise a scheme to escape their lives and flee to Florida.
“It’s symbolic about what the school represented at the time, entrenched in this white protestant ethic,” Gray said. “It’s about that transition, and how it reflects on what the American society was and sadly still is. How we are separated along the lines of class and ethnicity.”
Other shows that have recently filmed in Forest Hills include “Mildred Pierce,” “The Americans” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Rose Chin-Wolner nearly wandered onto the set last week.
“Forest Hills Gardens was modeled after an English village, and is therefore a desirable setting for many movies and TV series,” she said.