Written by on Aug 19, 2014. Posted in Production News

Clive Owen films period medical TV drama The Knick on location in New York

Clive Owen and filmmaker Steven Soderbergh recreated New York as it looked at the turn of the 20th Century for period medical drama The Knick. Set in 1900, the ten-part miniseries tells the story of the medical staff at Brooklyn’s Knickerbocker Hospital, led by Owen’s Dr John Thackery.

An historic Victorian-era high school in Brooklyn dating back to 1891 doubled for the hospital’s exterior and parts of Manhattan’s Lower East Side were dressed to recreate the period setting.

“We did remove air conditioners on the lower floors,” Production Designer Howard Cummings told the New York Post: “All others had to be removed digitally. Everything at head level has to look realistic. Above head level you can get away with a lot.”

Specific challenges included turning a street into a period farmers’ market for a two-day shoot, which meant negotiating with every business on the block. Shop windows had fake period facades built in front of them to protect the glass and canvas skirts were erected to hide shop awnings.

Interiors were filmed in a retrofitted studio space in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where sets were built of the Knick’s hallways and operating theatre.

New York has become one of the top production centres in the US, partly because of its generous 30% filming incentive that offers an annual fund of USD420 million. Long-running period drama Boardwalk Empire, set in Prohibition-era New Jersey, is among the many TV shows to film in the city.

This year New York became the number one city in North America for drama pilot filming, taking the top spot from Los Angeles for the first time.

The Knick is showing on Cinemax in the US and will launch on Sky Atlantic in the UK in the autumn.

(Images: Mary Cybulski/Cinemax)

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