Photos: Jodi Foster Directs 'Orange is the New Black' Episode in Riverhead

The Suffolk Theater and Main Street are featured in the episode.

Downtown Riverhead turned into a Hollywood film set Friday as actress Jodie Foster directed an episode of the hit Netflx show, "Orange is the New Black" outside the Suffolk Theater.

The excitement began at 7 a.m. when crews began unloading props, light boxes and other equipment from a truck parked outside the theater.

Main Street was closed for the duration of the shoot, which commenced around 10 a.m. Beforehand, a crowd of extras was given instruction on where to stand and what to do; other crew members and cast lined up for fresh omelets, sausage, bacon, muffins, fruit and other goodies from the craft services truck set up in the parking lot behind the theater.

In recent days, a call went out for extras to appear in the episode, which filmed at the Suffolk County Correctional Facility earlier in the week. The series depicts the real-life experiences of a woman who was locked up in a minimum security prison after transporting narcotics for an international drug ring, one time, for her lover.

Crew members worked to attach framed movie signs to the front of the theater; the movie showing for the fictional shoot was "Dazed and Confused."

The scene taped had a crowd standing on line outside the theater, and a young man running across the street.

In addition, approximately 12 to 15 vintage cars, including a Mercedes and other classic rides from the late 80s and 70s, were parked along Main Street to make the scene feel as if it were still 1992.

While taping began after 10 a.m., the crew was busy since 7 a.m., preparing the street for the scene. Traffic was rerouted for the duration of the shoot. One production assistant explained that the rule is it usually takes one minute to shoot one page of dialogue; the goal on Friday was to shoot four pages, and the shoot was slated to take under an hour. The entire shoot took longer, however, due to setting up the scene and breaking down the set.

Meanwhile, Riverhead business owners were delighted with their foray into TV fame.

"This is fantastic," said Bryan DeLuca, general manager of the Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center and East End Tourism Alliance founder and president. The shoot, he said, brought scores of guests to downtown hotels and eateries. "It's great for economic development, and it's wonderful that Riverhead gets recognized in a shoot done on Main Street," he said.

"This is fantastic," added Ray Pickersgill, president of the Riverhead Business Improvment District, and a precursor to a big weekend ahead, when the first-ever indoor farmers' market also debuts on Main Street Saturday.

Bob Castaldi, owner of the Suffolk Theater, said the shoot "turns the spotlight on Riverhead and brings visitors to hotels and restaurants. It's great."

For teens Leah Duchnowski and Anna Neithercut, who came dressed ready to be extras, if needed, the experience was a chance to rub elbows with Jodie Foster, a star they both say is one of their favorite actresses and directors. Both hope to pursue careers in the arts, as an actress or model.

Rebekah Duchnowski, Leah's mom, said she grew up in Riverhead and was surprised to see the filming. "It's weird," she said. "This is Riverhead. Nothing like this usually happens here."

Added one teen, who was seen by the trailers and the food services table, hoping to meet a star, "I just want to see somebody."


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