‘The Gilded Age’ Starts Monday On HBO

It feels like yesterday that Julian Fellowes had his crew down in Newport for the filming of this new HBO series. The first local casting call went out in December of 2020 when they were in search of “bearded men with professional kitchen experience” among other types. The cast of ‘The Gilded Age’ includes Denée Benton (Ruby on UnREAL), Louisa Jacobson (Meryl’s daughter), Taissa Farmiga (Vera’s younger sister), and the ubiquitous Christine Baranski (it would be easier listing the projects she hasn’t been in).

The 9-episode limited series ‘The Gilded Age’ premieres at 9pm, Monday, January 24 on HBO, with streaming on HBO Max. And it appears that the lives of African Americans have not been neglected, with one female character, described as an “aspiring writer,” in a major role.

The American Gilded Age was a period of immense economic change, of great conflict between the old ways and brand new systems, and of huge fortunes made and lost. Against the backdrop of this transformation, HBO’s The Gilded Age begins in 1882 with young Marian Brook (Louisa Jacobson) moving from rural Pennsylvania to New York City after the death of her father to live with her thoroughly old money aunts Agnes van Rhijn (Christine Baranski) and Ada Brook (Cynthia Nixon).

Accompanied by Peggy Scott (Denée Benton), an aspiring writer seeking a fresh start, Marian inadvertently becomes enmeshed in a social war between one of her aunts, a scion of the old money set, and her stupendously rich neighbors, a ruthless railroad tycoon and his ambitious wife, George (Morgan Spector) and Bertha Russell (Carrie Coon). Exposed to a world on the brink of the modern age, will Marian follow the established rules of society, or forge her own path?

Let’s see how many of our local culinary beardy boys made it into the final cut.

[Update: ProJo writer Paul Edward Parker has created a very useful guide to Newport locations used in the show. There is a photo of The Ledges. Not all scenes shot in Newport will be used to represent Newport in the show: i.e. scenes in the ballroom of the Russell house were shot in the music room at the Breakers.]

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