Tag Archives: NBC

‘The Blacklist’ films bank robbery scene in Astoria


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos by Asha Mahadevan

BY ASHA MAHADEVAN 

The Sun City Bank came into existence in Astoria on Monday morning and then was robbed a few minutes later. If you missed all the action, don’t fret. Cameras across the street caught it all and you can watch it on “The Blacklist,” the hit NBC fictional crime show.

As season 2 of “The Blacklist” is set to premiere on Sept. 22, the cast and crew were hard at work in Astoria filming a bank robbery scene for the season’s fourth episode.

The series, which started last year, follows Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington (James Spader), one of the FBI’s most wanted fugitives, who helps the Bureau nab criminals they didn’t know existed. His partner in this adventure is Agent Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone). Season 1 ended with this partnership breaking up and the task force on the verge of dissolution with its head Harold Cooper (Harry Lennix) on life support in a hospital.

On Sept. 15, Sun City Bank was the temporary name given to the First Central Savings Bank on 30th Avenue and 35th Street. The crew filled up the sidewalks across the bank with their cameras and recording equipment. Pedestrians were rerouted away as extras were urged to walk past the bank within camera range.

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According to fliers posted by Woodbridge Productions Inc., the company producing the show, filming at this location is expected to continue until 9 p.m. The fliers also said the scene is expected to involve bulb flashes, bloodied actors, actors in police uniform and intermittent traffic control.

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Interior scenes for the series were also being filmed on 36th Street between 30th and 31st avenues.

The actors shooting at the Astoria location, however, did not star in the first season, according to sources on the set. The second season has 22 episodes and filming will go on until May.

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Forest Hills opera singer competing for America’s vote on ‘AGT’ this week


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo by: Eric Liebowitz/NBC


A Texas-born, afro-sporting woman who enjoys football and mixed martial arts is not who most people imagine when they think of an opera singer.

That viewpoint is exactly what Forest Hills resident Olanna Goudeau is trying to prove wrong.

Goudeau, 32, and musical partner Ashley Renée Watkins, 29, will be singing for America’s vote Tuesday night in the hopes of spreading opera to a larger audience and winning $1 million.

“People feel [opera] is not accessible and not familiar to them,” Goudeau said. “We kind of want to be ambassadors for the art form.”

The singing duo, Acte II, is one of 48 acts that made it to the season nine “America’s Got Talent” quarterfinals, where they get to appear live at Radio City Music Hall and compete for viewers’ votes.

The ladies received yeses from all four judges, Howard Stern, Heidi Klum, Mel B and Howie Mandel, in the NBC show’s season nine premiere on May 27. They were so impressed that Acte II was selected to go straight through to the live performances, bypassing a second audition in front of the judges.

Mel B surprised Goudeau with the exciting news at her Queens home.

“I was completely shocked,” Goudeau said. “I didn’t say hello or invite her in.”

Before making it to the reality show stage, Goudeau’s love for singing started in church and with gospel music. As she grew older, she was introduced to classical music. But her focus on singing and opera as a career came in college.

After switching from a computer science major to music, she thought her program would focus on jazz music, since she was attending Dillard University in New Orleans. But to her surprise, she learned the classics and her passion for opera was born.

It was also at Dillard that she met Watkins, but they didn’t become friends until Goudeau was working on her master’s degree at the University of Oklahoma and Watkins was one of several Dillard students the school hosted following Hurricane Katrina.

They grew closer when they both were a part of Opera New Jersey one summer. The idea for Acte II started as way for them to find more singing opportunities in Europe and to do a concert tour.

“We enjoyed singing together,” Goudeau said. “So we were like, why don’t we make this official?”

The name and the group came to represent more.

“We wanted to make our own opportunities,” Goudeau said. “It’s like a second phase in life.”

The same weekend they were set to have their first concert, at the First AME Church: Bethel in Harlem, where Goudeau is currently an artist-in-residence, “America’s Got Talent” was holding auditions.

“We were so nervous that [the judges] wouldn’t accept opera,” she said. The pair both had their “afros out” and dressed like “everyday people.”

The judges not only accepted the art form, but were surprised by their voices.

“That was a moment and that was your moment,” Mel B said, adding that the performance made the hair on her arms stand up.

On Tuesday they will need to garner the same reaction from viewers. And Goudeau, who moved to Queens six years ago to pursue her New York City opera dreams, is asking the borough to vote for one of their own.

“[My family has] embraced Queens so much. I just feel so comfortable here. It’s such a community,” she said. “I hope Queens people vote.”

To watch Acte II perform live on “America’s Got Talent,” tune in on Tuesday, Aug. 5, at 9 p.m. To find out how to vote, visit www.nbc.com/americas-got-talent/vote/methods.

UPDATE: Acte II was eliminated in the Wednesday, Aug. 6 episode of “America’s Got Talent.”  To watch Acte II’ s Tuesday night performance, watch the video below. For more information on the singers, visit acteii.com.

 

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93-year-old Rockaway strongman moves on to next round of ‘America’s Got Talent’


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos by Craig Blankenhorn/NBC

Rockaway strongman Mike “Mighty Atom Jr.” Greenstein pulled off enough yeses from the “America’s Got Talent” judges to earn another appearance on the reality competition show.

The 93-year-old was featured in the NBC program’s season nine premiere Tuesday night, where he pulled a Plymouth station wagon with his teeth.

He impressed judges Heidi Klum, Mel B and Howie Mandel with his strength, but judge Howard Stern said no.

But three out of four was all Greenstein needed to go to Judgment Week, where he will audition again, and the judges will determine which 48 acts will compete in the live shows for America’s vote. Judgment Week will air in July.

Greenstein, wearing a “Mighty Atom & Sons 1940” t-shirt, in honor of his father, the first “Mighty Atom,” who became renowned for his strongman act, both shocked and amazed the audience when he revealed his talent.

“You might say I have been carrying on his legacy,” Greenstein said during an interview for the show.

Though he never made a career out of his strongman act like his father, Greenstein performed as a hobby, after doing shows during WWII all over the country.

“My dad would be very proud to see me doing things like this,” Greenstein said. “I hope the judges think of me as something extraordinary, especially at my age.”

In his younger days, he would bend iron bars, break chains and pull vehicles with his hair and teeth.

“The hair is no more, so I am still pulling with my teeth,” he said.

Greenstein said, even at 93, his teeth are all his own.

He used those choppers to pull the 3,500-pound station wagon, with his 84-year-old brother, his brother’s wife and his “lady friend,” inside of it.

With cheers of encouragement from the New York City audience, he towed the car a full-vehicle length and impressed the judges.

“That’s amazing at any age,” Mandel said.

But Stern turned him down because he felt Greenstein “needed more showmanship.”

The comment elicited boos from the audience and even host Nick Cannon.

Greenstein said in his next appearance he wants an open-back truck with about 20 to 30 people in the back of it.

If he goes further in the competition, the strongman told The Courier he would like to bend iron bars across the bridge of his nose, something he hasn’t done in almost 40 years.

“I feel with my mental capacity I can do it.”

 

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PHOTOS: New NBC show ‘Believe’ films in Whitestone


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos by Robert Stridiron

A new NBC show, “Believe,” from J.J. Abrams and Oscar-winning director Alfonso Cuarón, was shooting in Whitestone Tuesday.

The TV drama is about a “an unlikely relationship between a gifted young girl (Johnny Sequoyah) and a man sprung from prison Jake McLaughlin (“Crash”) who has been tasked with protecting her from the evil elements that hunt her power,” according to IMDB.

It also stars Jamie Chung (“Once Upon a Time”), Arian Moayed and Kyle MacLachlan (“Portlandia,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Sex and the City”).

Executive producers include J.J. Abrams and Alfonso Cuarón, who just won a best director Oscar for “Gravity.” Cuarón is also one of the show’s creators and writers.

Sequoyah, who plays Bo on “Believe,” took some time out from the shoot, near 14th Road and 150th street, to pose for some photos with staff at a local Dunkin’ Donuts.

“Believe” will premiere on Monday, March 10 at 9 p.m.

 

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