Where was 2016’s “The Girl On The Train” filmed?
First of all, it wasn’t filmed in the London suburbs, where the book was set. The best-selling The Girl On The Train book’s author, Paula Hawkins, created fictional towns like “Witney” based on her on own personal commute from Putney (just south of the Thames River) to Earl’s Court (on London’s west side). It’s a distance of about three miles.
Although that real-world commute was on London’s “Underground”, that section was actually an above-ground portion. And that was key to the voyeuristic lead character Rachel (Emily Blunt) being able to check out what’s going on in houses along the route, and imagine fantasy lives for the people she sees.
In the movie, the producers decided to switch the action to New York. And, as a result, the filming was done on a stretch of the MetroNorth rail line, which runs along the Hudson River about 20-25 miles north from Manhattan.
Trainspotters can recognize exterior settings in Hastings-On-Hudson, Dobbs Ferry, Ardsley-On-Hudson and Irvington. Those are four stations along the MetroNorth route, spread out over a section that is also about three miles long. The two key homes shown, however, are on Macy Avenue in White Plains. (White Plains is not on the MetroNorth line, but a few miles east of it on another train route.)
Interiors were mostly shot on sets in Yonkers, where editing was also done.
The creepy tunnel where key scenes are set? That’s the Station Road tunnel in Irvington. A reservoir outside that town was also the site of another disturbing scene.
The pretty train station is in Ardsley-on-Hudson, but the filmmakers dolled it up with an ornate portico. The station used to have a portico – although one not so nice – but a dump truck had knocked it down in 2010. The one the filmmakers created was deemed so lovely by the local citizens, they voted to keep it after the filming was done.
Why the change of venue, for a story so closely linked to a daily commute into London? It seems the filmmakers liked the contrast of fictional lives of decadence in the real-life, peaceful-looking commuter neighborhoods of the Hudson River Valley.
Was that reason enough to relocate the story? Is the plot portable? Movie-goers will need to decide that for themselves.
October 9, 2016