The film IRONWEED, adapted for the screen by William Kennedy from his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, will be shown on Friday, December 9, 2016 at 7 pm in Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, on the University at Albany downtown campus. The screening is a 30th anniversary celebration of its filming in Albany. Prior to the screening at 6:30 pm Kennedy will offer film commentary and reminiscences of the film’s production. The celebration will also include raffle giveaways and a reception following the screening.
The New York State Writers Institute dedicates an evening to the 30th anniversary of major motion picture IRONWEED, filmed on-location in Albany and based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by famed local Albany author William Kennedy. Just prior to the screening, Kennedy will give commentary on the production, which involved adapting his novel for the screen alongside director Hector Babenco, enlisting Jack Nicholson (Billy Phelan) and Meryl Streep (Helen Archer) to bring his characters to life, and returning parts of Albany to their Depression-era appearance.
Credit for the visual landscape of the film belongs also to Albany and its real-life citizens. In February-May of 1987 local carpenters were enlisted to turn Lark Street around Orange and Sheridan, and Broadway and Livingston, as well as some of the brownstones on Clinton Ave. into Albany circa 1901 – 1930. This involved digging to find the old trolley tracks, casting calls at the SUNY campus, and filling a barroom with local extras to shoot the famous scene in which down-in-the-dumps Helen imagines herself singing beautifully to a finely-attired crowd.
For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at (518) 442-5620 or online here.
Photo: Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson in IRONWEED.