With Alexander Payne occupying the director’s chair, ‘The Holdovers’ is a comedy-drama movie that sees Paul Giamatti assume the role of a bad-tempered history teacher, Paul Hunham, at a remotely situated prep school. When Christmas arrives, it brings joy and holidays for all the staff members of the school, except for Paul. He is instructed to stay back on campus this holiday season and look after a bunch of students who have nowhere to go.
Over time, Paul gets out of his grumpy attitude and forms an unexpected bond with one of the students — a brainy troublemaker — as well as the school’s head cook, who is grieving for his recently lost son. The quick transitions in the backdrops are symbolic of the growing change in Paul’s attitude and the relationship with his students. The snow-covered terrains and the fictional Barton Academy teleport the viewers to the holiday season, leaving them curious about the actual filming locations of ‘The Holdovers.’
Where Was The Holdovers Filmed?
‘The Holdovers’ was primarily filmed in Greater Boston, Massachusetts, with other sites, such as Worcester, Gill, Deerfield, and Fairhaven, also featuring in the movie. According to reports, the production of the Paul Giamatti starrer got underway in late January 2022 and wrapped up in a couple of months, in late March 2022. One of the main reasons for the filmmaker to choose Massachusetts as the filming site is its 25% film tax credit. So, let’s navigate all the specific locations where all the drama unfolds!
Greater Boston, Massachusetts
A majority of ‘The Holdovers’ was taped in Greater Boston, a metropolitan area encompassing the eponymous city. First and foremost, two actual schools in the region stood in for the fictional Barton Academy, and they are Groton School at 282 Farmers Row in Groton and St. Mark’s School of Southborough at 25 Marlboro Road in Southborough. The cast and crew members were spotted taping important scenes in different parts of Boston, including in and around Boston City Hall at 1 City Hall Square, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Orpheum Theatre at 1 Hamilton Place, Boston Common at 139 Tremont Street, and Brattle Book Shop at 9 West Street, all in the City of Boston.
From the looks of it, the filming unit of the Christmas movie also utilized the locales of the Red Sky Studios at 184 Everett Street in the Boston neighborhood of Allston. Furthermore, several onlookers and passersby also noticed Christmas decorations in the storefronts of Bromfield Street & Province Street. The production team also set up camp in a couple of other establishments across the metropolitan region — the Continental Restaurant at 266 Broadway in Saugus and Somerville Theatre at 55 Davis Square in Somerville.
More filming prep in DTX for “The Holdovers” now
Fake snow on Bromfield & Province sidewalks, being augmented w/some real snow gathered in wheelbarrows. Xmas decorations in Bromfield storefronts.
— Matthew Broude (@MatthewBroude) February 19, 2022
Other Locations in Massachusetts
For the purpose of shooting, the director and his team also traveled to other locations across Massachusetts. For instance, they utilized the campus of another three real schools to depict the fictional Barton Academy — Northfield Mount Hermon on Bolger House, One Lamplighter Way in Gill, Deerfield Academy at 7 Boyden Lane in Deerfield, and Fairhaven High School at 12 Huttleston Avenue in Fairhaven. The Memorial Chapel of Northfield Mount Hermon was specifically turned into a film set to tape key portions.
— Ladimer Nagurney🇺🇦 (@HawkECEProf) March 15, 2022
Furthermore, the city of Worcester, which is situated near the geographic center of Massachusetts, served as yet another prominent production location for ‘The Holdovers.’ In particular, the Worcester Common, including the Oval on Front Street, features in quite a few scenes of the comedy movie. In a November 2023 interview with Town and Country, the production designer Ryan Warren Smith talked about the reason they chose five different schools to portray the fictional Barton Academy. Smith explained, “We wished we could find a school that had everything we would need for the time period, but that was just going to be impossible. So, we found the pieces that we thought would work together and that we thought would look believable to the audience.”
— Craig Semon (@CraigSemon) February 27, 2022
Read More: Is The Holdovers Based on The True Story?