Showtime’s “Homeland” has begun filming in Richmond.
On Monday, crew members were spotted filming the seventh season of the popular TV series in the parking deck at the James Center and at Shockoe Espresso & Roastery in Shockoe Slip. On Wednesday, the crew took over East Grace Street in downtown Richmond while filming inside Julep’s restaurant.
The crew will be filming in the area from now until February.
“We’re super excited to have ‘Homeland’ here,” said Andy Edmunds, director of the Virginia Film Office. “Series television is the most valuable type of project to pursue because of the jobs it brings to the state.”
Future set locations are expected all over town, from Carytown and Monument Avenue to Shockoe Slip and North Side. Ashland is another possibility.
“Homeland” is an American spy thriller series starring Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin as Washington-based CIA operatives engaged in counterterrorism and national security.
On Wednesday, Danes was briefly spotted stepping outside of Julep’s to grab a drink of water. Onlookers were allowed to watch the crew at work. Later, Danes was filmed walking down Grace.
The director and executive producer, Lesli Linka Glatter, was seen on set, as well as producer Michael Klick directing a series of promos outside of Centenary United Methodist Church as a bus headed for Willow Lawn whizzed by.
On the show, Richmond likely will serve as a stand-in location for Washington, though no one with the show is confirming. This season’s plot is under tight wraps.
The show’s first three seasons were mainly shot in North Carolina, which served as set locations for the nation’s capital and its suburbs.
While filming in Richmond, some of the cast are living in the Fan District.
The show also will be taking over a 200,000-square-foot soundstage in Henrico County, owned by NASCAR, that was recently used by the AMC series “Turn: Washington’s Spies.”
The building has an Oval Office set built in 1994 that may be used for the “Homeland” shoot, and the show will be adding an entire West Wing set to the facility. Those sets will stay at the facility and will be available for other films.
The economic impact of the filming for Virginia is expected to be more than $75 million, according to the Virginia Film Office.
Richmond’s dining scene also helped land the deal. Local restaurants topping national “best of” lists was a definite attraction for producers, cast and crew.
That plus a governor who happens to be a fan of the show.
When meeting with “Homeland” producers, Edmunds took a group to dinner at Rappahannock and showed them several locations around Richmond. Afterward, they swung by the Executive Mansion.
“The governor invited us into the garden and started asking all these questions. He was asking, ‘Why did Carrie do this and this?’ He knew Season Three better than some of the producers did.”
It was that kind of enthusiasm that helped clinch the deal.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe hosted a welcome party Friday for the cast and crew at the Executive Mansion, along with several movers and shakers in the Richmond dining industry.
“Filmmakers love Richmond for the same reasons we all love Richmond and decide to live here,” Edmunds added. “It’s authentic and has a diversity of looks.”
But at the end of the day, Edmunds said, the most important question is: “Where are we going to eat?”