I have known the city for a long time, but can’t say I’m intimately acquainted with it.
Even so, I was hit with a strange feeling early in my viewing of “Paterson” that something wasn’t quite right — aside from the fact that the family bulldog, a male named Marvin, was a gender-bending role for a female named Nellie.
It was more than the occasional script misstep, like the reference indicating that that Driver’s character, Paterson, worked for the city when his bus is clearly marked NJ Transit, a statewide transit agency.
Some of the settings, while authentically gritty, reminded me of somewhere else.
Take, for instance, Paterson’s walk home from the Paterson bus depot, which took him through a brick archway past a “Paterson” sign painted on the wall. Something about the location reminded me of the Garnerville Arts & Industrial Center just a couple of miles from my home in Rockland County, New York.
Click through to the jump for the photographic evidence.
Sure enough, when the credits rolled, the Garnerville center is listed as one of a number of New York locations listed in the credits of the flick, whose world view is locked on the New Jersey city founded by Alexander Hamilton.
I couldn’t find an exact match for the movie still of Driver’s walk, But I did find an image of the arch on the Garnerville center’ss website, pretty much nails it. It’s the passageway across from the Smokestack Building that now houses Industrial Arts Brewing Company, a place we visit with some — albeit insufficient — regularity.
Discovering Jarmusch’s use of Garnerville as Paterson stand-in doesn’t even slightly diminish the fact that the movie is a beautiful valentine to the home of the Great Falls.
Jarmusch s told my friend Jim Beckerman in an interview for The Record/northjersey.com that interiors and some exteriors were shot elsewhere, including in Yonkers (Driver’s character’s home and local pub).
“Yonkers is kind of visually a sister city, in a way, to Paterson,” Jarmusch told Beckerman. ” A lot of the architecture is from the same periods. ‘Paterson’ the film is not a social document. It’s not hyper-realistic. Our film is partly an imagined Paterson. But with a real affection and intention to feel [the real] Paterson.”
He never mentions Garnerville, where scenes were shot without attracting much attention. Of course, that was in the fall of 2015, before the whole world discovered what fans of Girls on HBO and Inside Llewyn Davis already knew — that Adam Driver is a monster talent. His turn as villain Kylo Ren in last year’s “Star Wars: Episode VIII – the Last Jedi” turned him from quirky actor into a real movie star.
Another great surprise in seeing this movie was the wonderfully funny-sad appearance as the lovelorn Everett by William Jackson Harper, an actor who has never failed to impress me.
The first time I can recall encountering him was in 2012, when he appeared in the first Public Theater production of Stew & Heidi Rodewald’s musical play “The Total Bent.”
I was so thoroughly entertained and impressed that I made a point to see again later that year in the Brian Mertes-directed production of Jose Rivera’s incredibly bloody “Massacre (Sing to Your Children)” at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater.
Harper also co-starred with Carrie Coon (“Gone Girl” and HBO’s “The Leftovers”) in what The New York Times called the “slight but divertingly offbeat” 2015 off-Broadway play “Placebo” at Playwrights Horizons.
Avid TV watchers might know Harper best from his role in “The Good Place” on NBC. That gig, he says in an interview, kept him from giving up acting altogether.)actor in this delightful cast is a particular favorite of mine.
This post edits and expands an item first published on Facebook.