Movie scenes from ‘The Holdovers’ shot at the Continental restaurant in Saugus
Actor Paul Giamatti descended on The Continental Restaurant with the cast and crew on Wednesday to film scenes from “The Holdovers.”
The Continental Restaurant – a staple of the Route 1 dining scene which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year – was perfectly suited as the setting for a film based in the 1970s.
According to IMDB, “The Holdovers” is about a curmudgeonly and universally hated teacher (Giamatti), his 15-year-old student, and the school’s African-American cook, who recently lost her son in Vietnam, who are dumped together while they stay at Deerfield Academy during the holidays of 1970.
Directed by Alexander Payne – famous for films such as (“Nebraska”), (“Election”) and (“About Schmidt”) – “The Holdovers” also stars Da’Vine Joy Randolph.
Giamatti, who has dozens of film roles in his career, previously teamed up with Payne in the 2004 film “Sideways.” He currently plays Chuck Rhoades in the Showtime drama “Billions.”
Sporting a red sweater, Giamatti mingled with members of the production crew outside the Continental restaurant between shots on Wednesday morning.
Trailers were lined up in the parking lot, and a curtain was draped over the restaurant’s west-facing windows to block out glare from the sun.
The Continental restaurant’s digital sign informs customers that the business will be closed from February 22 until 4 p.m. on February 24 for the filming of ‘The Holdovers’.
Owner Paul Kourkoulis told the announcer that he was approached by someone at Miramax who felt the atmosphere at the Continental was a good fit for the restaurant scenes in the film.
“We’re sort of a throwback,” Kourkoulis said.
Kourkoulis was surprised that the production team wanted to use many items from the continental restaurant for the shoots, such as the company’s Christmas glasses.
The film crew replaced the Continental Restaurant’s cash register up front, but left most of the interior decor intact, according to Kourkoulis.
Two cooks from the Continental restaurant arrived early to prepare dishes such as lobster tail, chicken parmesan and stuffed shrimp for the cast and crew.
It was the first time a movie had been shot at the Continental Restaurant since the business opened in 1952, Kourkoulis said.
For Kourkoulis, it was special to see scenes from “The Holdovers” come together at a restaurant that means so much to his family. He was amazed by the extent of the preparations taken for what could end up being just a few minutes of running time in the film.
“We’ve been here for 70 years and got through COVID even though it was tough at times,” Kourkoulis said. “It’s nice to be able to promote this place a bit. Hopefully we’ll be here for another 50 years.