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Clint Eastwood filmed Sully in New York and LA

SullyFilmmaker Clint Eastwood and actor Tom Hanks filmed the true-life movie Sully: Miracle on the Hudson in New York and Atlanta, and also in studio settings in California.

The film tells the story of the investigation into the conduct of pilot Chesley Sullenberger – or ‘Sully’ – when he successfully landed a plane on New York’s Hudson River following a bird strike shortly after take-off from LaGuardia in January 2009.

Eastwood’s production team filmed extensively on location in New York for city exteriors despite the challenges of filming in the bustling metropolis.

“NY Waterways was crucial to us because they’d had like nine ferryboats around the plane in 2009,” says producer Tim Moore. 

“But with the business they run and the fact that we were there during the busiest part of their year, and the Pope was in New York, and the United Nations was meeting with all the foreign dignitaries of what seemed like every country… Logistically it was somewhat difficult, but thankfully they came in and helped us tremendously.”

Locations in Atlanta – another top US production hub – doubled for New York interiors including hotels, hospitals and bars, plus a hearing room where Sully and his co-pilot Jeff Skiles are questioned by National Transportation Safety Board officials.

SullyEastwood relocated his team to California to film the emergency landing scenes and a flight deck set was built with a moveable gimbal on a stage at Warner Bros.

However, the Falls Lake water tank at nearby Universal Studios was used for scenes set after the landing on the Hudson River when the plane is evacuated and starts to flood.

A 140-foot A320 was built on Falls Lake on a 350-ton gimbal that allowed the plane to be tilted backwards and forwards, and from side to side.

California has hosted few big-budget studio movies in recent years due to the limitations of the state’s tax credit support system. The filming incentive currently favours TV shoots but Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time has been awarded tax credit support of $18m to film in California, making it the largest payment of its sort since the incentive was boosted in 2014.  

Images: Warner Bros Entertainment