Haverhill’s historical connection to the movie business goes back to the early 1900s, when Louis B. Mayer opened his first theater downtown. Mayer went on to own several other local theaters before moving on to become one of Hollywood’s biggest movie moguls.
After working in Haverhill, HBO will be shooting the “Olive Kitteridge’’ series on Cape Ann and around the North Shore through November, the state film office said.
Jane Anderson wrote the screenplay, Lisa Cholodenko is the director, and McDormand and Tom Hanks are among the executive producers.
Fiorentini said he’s not sure why HBO picked Haverhill, but that he tries to make it as easy as possible whenever a film company contacts his office for permission to shoot in the city.
“It’s exciting and it’s good for the local economy,” the mayor said of film crews visiting Haverhill. “They told us we are getting a reputation for being easy to deal with, and that’s what we want.”
Fiorentini said the film crew rented the Elks Lodge hall on Thursday night for Merrivista residents who were used as extras in the production. He said Merrivista and its residents used in filming were paid.
The mayor said the film crew also patronized several restaurants, including the A1 Deli downtown, while they were here.
The Massachusetts Film Office press release said the production hired workers locally, and is using Massachusetts-based businesses and services.
“Olive Kitteridge” is HBO’s second recent production in Massachusetts. “Clear History” — with Larry David, Jon Hamm, Kate Hudson, Michael Keaton and Eva Mendes — filmed on the North Shore in 2012. The comedy debuted on HBO earlier this month.