For one night in early May, marking the first notable break from a long, harsh winter, Malvernites could walk past the homes on one block to find Christmas decorations once again sitting on front lawns — only to discover that they had ventured onto the set of “The Leftovers,” an upcoming HBO drama that centers on a sleepy suburban town.
From 5 p.m. until 5 a.m. on May 2 and 3, actors and a production crew bustled up and down North Cambridge Street as they shot a few scenes for the show, all which were supposed to take place around Christmastime, for the fourth episode of the show’s inaugural season.
Sisters and former residents Cathy Formisano and Maryann Stoll watched last Friday as crew members prepared equipment outside their childhood home — where their 85-year-old mother, Joan Fulgieri, still lives — and marveled at all of the excitement on their old street. “It’s turning quiet little Malverne upside down, the little sleepy town that it is,” Formisano said. “We’ve never had this many people on our street.”
The series — which is adapted from Tom Perrotta’s 2011 novel about a residential town that is rattled by a worldwide rapture-like event that inexplicably wipes out 100 of its 1,000 residents — stars Justin Theroux, Liv Tyler and Amy Brenneman. It will premiere on June 29 at 10 p.m. on HBO.
Demian Resnick, the show’s location manager, said his scouts searched for two straight weeks in late March for a suburban, middle-class neighborhood that’s diverse in both architecture and demographics, until they found Malverne. “I think Malverne’s a great almost-anywhere-USA town,” Resnick said. “For the reception that we’ve gotten from the people who are in charge of the town, that’s the kind of attitude and relationship we need to be successful.”