Filming in RI in 2024? 'Gilded Age,' 'Ella McCay' and a secret big-studio thriller

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What do you get when you combine Ella McCay, Emma Mackey and Dan McKee?

One of the star-studded Hollywood productions expected to film in Rhode Island this year.

"Ella McCay" is the name of the movie, set in a nondescript state, about a lieutenant governor looking to move up to the governor's office. It's being produced by James L. Brooks.

Mackey is to star in the film, having most recently played one of the Barbies in last summer's smash hit named for the famous doll. But she will be joined by bigger names, including Jamie Lee Curtis, Albert Brooks and Woody Harrelson.

Dan McKee is, of course, Rhode Island's governor – who was previously lieutenant governor, but similarities to the movie character apparently end there. He's part of the formula because his office, along with other interior and exterior locations at the Rhode Island State House, as well as other spots around Providence, including the East Side and Broadway, will be used for filming. Shooting is expected to get underway Feb. 5 and last into April.

'The Gilded Age' returns for a third season of filming in RI

HBO gave the green light late last year to a third season of the Julian Fellowes drama, which follows the lives of New York's high society during the American Gilded Age, when their summer playground was Newport. The series is sort of a prequel to Fellowes' "Downton Abbey," which was set among the British aristocracy in the early 20th century, a few decades after "The Gilded Age."

While HBO won't say much about the third season, a few details have leaked, including that the plot had been worked out before Season 2 finished airing and that writing had already begun before the writers' strike last year. Filming at New York locations and studios is expected to begin this summer, with a return to Newport locations sometime after the summer tourism season, when the City by the Sea's famous mansions will be too crowded for movie-making.

Filming delayed on secret Sony Pictures thriller

The actors' strike last year gummed up this production, which was expected to begin filming in Rhode Island in the spring, according to Steven Feinberg, head of the state's Film & Television Office. Some of the actors slated to appear in the film are attached to other projects, and it's on hold while producers decide how to accommodate the actors' schedules.

Feinberg was tight-lipped about the production, except to say that Sony is behind it, and that it's a thriller based on a novel, and a standalone movie, not a sequel. No date has been set.

Could a green-lit 'Hocus Pocus 3' film in RI?

'Hocus Pocus 2," the sequel to the 1993 Disney film about a trio of witches, the Sanderson sisters, was shot in Rhode Island in 2022 and became the most successful straight-to-streaming move ever, making a third installment seem inevitable.

Other than industry rumors that a script is undergoing revisions, not much is known about "Hocus Pocus 3," including where the movie will be set and where it will be filmed.

But the Ocean State is more than willing to throw its witch's hat into the ring in both cases.

"We would love for them to come back to Rhode Island to film 'Hocus Pocus 3,'" said Feinberg.

This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Movies filming in RI in 2024: Gilded Age, Ella McCay and Hocus Pocus 3?