Eileen (2023): Exploring All Filming Locations

Directed by William Oldroyd, ‘Eileen’ narrates the story of the titular character, a young woman who works at a juvenile detention center for boys in 1960s Boston. Eileen faces loneliness and an abusive father, becoming plagued by dark thoughts. One day, an attractive and insightful psychologist, Rebecca, joins the center and immediately captivates Eileen. The two begin to grow close, flirting with the idea of an intimate relationship. However, Eileen is soon pulled into Rebecca’s world of dark secrets, which leads her down a path of chaotic emotions and choices. Based on the eponymous 2015 novel by Ottessa Moshfegh, the 2023 mystery thriller film transports us back in time with a mix of gloomy and evocative backdrops.

Where Was Eileen Filmed?

‘Eileen’ was filmed using locations around New Jersey, which stood in for their 1960s Boston counterparts in the movie. Principal photography was carried out over 26 days in December 2021 and January 2022. According to Oldroyd, the cold, dark, and depressing environment of the movie did not have to be fabricated. “It was zero movie magic… There was no acting required. I mean, it was New Jersey, December, January. It was brutal,” he recalled in good humor during an interview. “It was actually quite a difficult thing. And poor Thomasin, she was not really — she was wearing some woolen layers, but really the clothes of the ’60s were not … we’re all in our high-tech gear, standing behind the camera.”

Metuchen, New Jersey

Metuchen, a charming borough in Middlesex County, New Jersey, served as one of the primary filming locations for ‘Eileen.’ Known for its picturesque streets and historic architecture, Metuchen provided the perfect backdrop for capturing the atmosphere of 1960s Boston. The production team utilized local businesses and residences to create the setting for pivotal scenes, immersing viewers in Eileen’s world.

‘Eileen’ is Oldroyd’s first project within the US, and he was very grateful to the crew and producers for helping him navigate the filming process within a tight schedule. Since the film utilized many filming sites and required the recreation of a bygone era all within 26 days, Oldroyd relied heavily on the talented crew members to bring together all the required elements in a timely manner.

South Amboy, New Jersey

Situated along the Raritan Bay in Middlesex County, South Amboy offered additional filming locations for ‘Eileen.’ The bar seen in the after-hours work party in the movie is actually the Lagoda’s Saloon, located at 109 South Broadway. The 1980s family-owned bar has a distinct retro charm, which shines through in the iconic party scenes of the movie. The waterfront community of South Amboy provided an appropriate setting to depict parts of 1960s Boston, including suburban neighborhoods and scenic waterfront views.

New England, New Jersey

New England, a neighborhood within the city of Piscataway in New Jersey, played a significant role in bringing the natural environments of ‘Eileen’ to life. The blue-gray coastal scenery of New England with its tree-lined streets and colonial-style homes evokes the timeless charm of 1960s Boston suburbs. The neighborhood’s quaint combined with soft lighting and costumes to create the film’s immersive experience, transporting us to a bygone era.

‘Eileen’ was shot entirely on location, which created greater authenticity for the scenes but came with its own set of challenges. “Also the problem is we shot everything on location, and if you’re in a small location and the camera doesn’t fit in the room with the actors, you have to open the doors to shoot through a door,” explained Oldroyd in the aforementioned interview. “Well, then it’s like shooting outdoors, but the actors are pretending they’re indoors in a nice, cozy kitchen. I mean, that has an impact on the body. You don’t want them to be thinking about, ‘I’m freezing.’ You want them to be thinking about the scene.”

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