HAVERHILL — Hollywood is back in Haverhill.
Francis McDormand, perhaps best known for her Academy Award-winning performance as Marge Gunderson in the 1996 movie “Fargo,’’ is the latest movie star to film in the city
McDormand was at the Merrivista elderly housing complex on Water Street on Friday to film scenes for HBO’s upcoming miniseries “Olive Kitteridge.”
The four-part series is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning series of short stories of the same name by Elizabeth Strout. Released in 2008, the story covers the life of Olive Kitteridge and the people in a small town on the coast of Maine.
“Olive Kitteridge tells the alternately poignantly sweet, acerbically funny, and devastatingly tragic story of a seemingly placid New England town wrought with illicit affairs, crime and tragedy, told through the lens of Olive, whose wicked wit and harsh demeanor mask a warm but troubled heart and a staunch moral center,” according to a release by the Massachusetts Film Office announcing that HBO and Playtone will be filming on the North Shore this fall.
Mayor James Fiorentini said there were about 160 people in the production and film crew in Haverhill and that they patronized city restaurants and rented the Elks Lodge for a party for Merrivista residents while they were here.
As many as two dozens residents of the Merrivista complex were used as extras during filming, the mayor said. Filming on Friday took place in a parking lot between the apartment complex and the neighboring Central Plaza.
Hollywood stars aren’t new to Haverhill or Merrivista. Denzel Washington was in the city this past summer to film scenes for Columbia Picture’s upcoming movie “The Equalizer” at the former Lowe’s building off Route 97. In 2009, several scenes were shot at the Merrivista complex for the film “This Side of the Truth,” which starred Jennifer Garner, Rob Lowe and Ricky Gervais.