Looking for something to watch while home? The Report, an Amazon Studios film is a tightly-woven thriller based on true events after 9/11. The point of interest for our readers here is where it films — despite being set in Washington D.C., a lot of the filming takes place in New York City.
Adam Driver and Annette Bening in The Report. Photo courtesy Amazon Studios.
Adam Driver plays Daniel Jones, a Senate staffer for Diane Feinstein (played by Annette Bening) who was tasked with investigating the CIA’s detention and interrogation program after 9/11. This is the report that revealed to the public the torture tactics of “enhanced interrogation” like waterboarding and sensory overload used at CIA black sites — and their subsequent failure to produce useful intelligence.
The most notable is how the film recreates the CIA inside a New York City agency not many people know visually. NYC Emergency Management (formerly the Office of Emergency Management) which is likely in full operation mode now for the coronavirus response, very much looks like a state-of-the-art government agency. When we first visited back in 2010, we thought it looked a bit like NASA. It works great for what the public likely imagines the CIA to look like.
Maura Tierney as “Bernadette,” who works for the CIA. Photo courtesy Amazon Studios.
Emergency Management in New York City plans for emergencies, collects and disseminates critical information, coordinates emergency response and recovery, and educates the public on emergency situations. The Office of Emergency Management was created in 1996 and became an official department in 2001. In 1998, OEM was moved to the 23rd floor of 7 World Trade Center and was promptly destroyed in the attacks on 9/11. Mayor Rudy Guiliani was criticized for authorizing this move and from leaked memos, it appears he overruled a recommendation to locate the center in Brooklyn. And so, Emergency Management is now in Brooklyn in a building on Cadman Plaza near the off-ramp of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Michael C. Hall and Maura Tierney in The Report. Photo courtesy Amazon Studios.
If you watch The Report you will see that the CIA, as it appears in the film, is shown to have a large command center. The main operations center at Emergency Management has rows of cubicle desks and an oval-shaped center of desks below an immense batch of television screens that can display multiple news channels at once. This room, which fits 100 people, gets occupied when many agencies need to come together to respond to an event, and the desks are already pre-labeled with which agency sits where. In the back is a conference room, where many of the scenes take place in the film, and also a “Watch Command” room — a wall of televisions and computer screens where Emergency Management monitors radio, news and other communication chatter 24/7.
Maura Tierney in The Report. Photo courtesy Amazon Studios.
Other scenes filmed in New York City include Central Park, doubling for a park in Washington D.C., where Daniel Jones runs into Denis McDonough (White House Chief of Staff under President Obama, played by Jon Hamm). This scene is filmed on the southern part of Central Park, near 5th Avenue and Central Park South, and although you don’t see the buildings in the background, the dead giveaway for the location are the lampposts.
Behind-the-scenes shot of Jon Hamm filming The Report in Central Park. Photo courtesy Amazon Studios.
Daniel Jones also meets covertly with a New York Times reporter played by Matthew Rhys up at the Hall of Fame of Great Americans at Bronx Community College, which was built originally as a campus of NYU. The Hall of Fame was designed by Stanford White, who did the plan for the campus and personally designed several of the buildings, including Gould Memorial Library. Bronx Community College rarely appears in film locations (but should!), so it was refreshing to see this spot appear in the film.
Matthew Rhys and Adam Driver in The Report, at Bronx Community College. Photo courtesy Amazon Studios.
Matthew Rhys in The Report, at the Hall of Fame of Great Americans. Photo courtesy Amazon Studios.