HBO’s ‘The White House Plumbers’ got help from Beacon restaurants

When Moises Ortega was commissioned to provide the cast and crew for HBO’s “The White House Plumbers,” he was more than grateful for the company.

But he never expected to receive praise from one of the show’s stars, Woody Harrelson.

“I was working in the back of the restaurant on Monday when the girl working the front ran back to tell me Woody Harrelson was here,” said Ortega, owner of Vegan in the town of Beacon. ‘I came up and he said,’ Are you Moises? I want to thank you for the food you made for us. ‘

Harrelson, a longtime vegan, sought out a local caterer while the production was filming Saturday in Newburgh, just across the Hudson River.

But vegan food was the least unique of Harrelson’s vegan needs.

Kamel Jamal, owner of the River Valley Restaurant Group, said the production contacted him last week to make a “vegan dough.”

Harrelson’s veganism isn’t limited to his diet, so when manufacturing required a prosthetic mask for the star, the process followed the same limitations.

“They had to make a mold for his face, so we had to make a custom dough recipe for him,” said Jamal.

Story continues after the jump

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Celebrity sightings: William H. Macy visits Poughkeepsie: Why the actor stopped by Savona’s Trattoria

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The White House Plumbers, a five-part limited HBO series, began filming in the region this month. Production was in the town of Poughkeepsie on Monday and in the town of Poughkeepsie on Tuesday.

The series stars Harrelson and Justin Theroux E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy, the masterminds behind the Watergate scandal. Liddy is a former assistant district attorney from Dutchess County who was buried last month in St. Peter’s Cemetery in the town of Poughkeepsie.

Ortega posted a photo of herself with Harrelson on Végétalien’s Instagram page on Monday. The two discussed their own views on veganism, and Ortega provided Harrelson with a few examples.

“I made him one of our smoothies, and he was hesitant at first because it had carrots in it,” said Ortega. “But he tried it and really enjoyed it. He said he never expected a carrot to work in a smoothie, and we talked about how flavors can change from savory to sweet and vice versa.”

A five-year-old vegan, Ortega said there is more to veganism than diet.

“It’s really a lifestyle, and it’s not such a drastic switch for people,” he said.

It is the vegan lifestyle that led the production crew for “The White House Plumbers” to contact Jamal.

Jamal, whose restaurants are Tito Santana Taqueria and Beacon Bread Company, said he received the request for a “vegan dough” May 12.

“So I made some samples to send to them,” he said.

Jamal first opened Végétalien, but Ortega eventually became the owner of the restaurant. Ortega views Jamal as a mentor who helped him break into the local restaurant scene.

According to Laurent Rejto, director of the Hudson Valley Film Commission, filming for “The White House Plumbers” is “expected to take at least six months.”

The success of HBO’s “I Know This Much Is True,” which was filmed primarily in the Mid Hudson Valley, “100%” played a role in its return to the region, Rejto said.

Rejto said much of the filming will take place on the set in Umbra in Newburgh, but the production also aims to shoot in office spaces and historic estates suitable for the time period.

The city of Poughkeepsie closed several streets and parking lots on Monday to allow filming in the area. The town of Poughkeepsie closed off part of Zack’s Way on Tuesday.

In addition to Harrelson and Theroux, actors such as Ike Barinholtz, Lena Headey and David Krumholtz will be seen in the series. Gary Cole filmed Monday according to a Twitter message from producer David Mandel.

Mid Hudson Valley movie peaks

“The White House Plumbers” is far from the only production going on in the region.

Another HBO series, “The Sex Lives of College Girls”, will be shot at Vassar College and around Poughkeepsie in June. The show, from “The Office” star and “The Mindy Project” creator Mindy Kaling, put out a call for extras earlier this month.

In March, the upcoming AppleTV + thriller “Severance” was filmed in the cities of Beacon and Kingston, among other Hudson Valley areas. The project, led by Ben Stiller, stars Adam Scott, Britt Lower, Patricia Arquette, Christopher Walken and SUNY New Paltz graduate John Turturro.

Celebrity sightings in the Hudson Valley

Celebrity sightings in the Mid Hudson Valley have not become uncommon in recent months.

Last month, actor William H. Macy dined at Savona’s Trattoria in Poughkeepsie while showing his youngest daughter, Georgia, the area before coming to Vassar College in the fall.

In March, Post Malone dined at Hurricane Grill & Wings, just a few blocks from Savona’s.

The Grammy Award-winning rapper, known for hits like “Rockstar” and “Circles,” took the check for $ 500 for his group of 15, grabbed wings and enjoyed a pair of Moscow mules. Towards the end of the evening, Post Malone was happy to take photos with the restaurant staff.

Geoffrey Wilson: [email protected]; 845-437-4882; Twitter: @GeoffWilson_

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