ADMISSION's College Prep

Getting into Princeton is hard enough, but for the filmmakers, getting Princeton to accept ADMISSION to be shot there was a real honor. Find out about the film's other locations.

In readying to make the movie, executive producer Caroline Baron says, "Locations-wise, ADMISSION was a complicated picture. It was challenging to unify the worlds the characters inhabited, and yet all these suburban and rural locations don't give away that we were in the metro New York area."

Utilizing as many practical settings as possible was essential to meeting a streamlined filming schedule and budget. The majority of the locations were in New York State; the latter's versatility afforded a multitude of options to recreate the story's locales of rural New Hampshire, leafy suburban New Jersey, a sprawling country estate, and the hushed gentility of some of the top private schools along the Eastern seaboard.

For New Quest, John Pressman's experimental high school where learning is valued for its own sake, an equine training center in Old Westbury, NY provided the requisite bucolic setting. At HorseAbility, the filmmakers had access to an open-air courtyard and a farmyard; production designer Sarah Knowles and her department fashioned rustic classrooms. Four-legged animals joined the principal cast members for several days of filming there, as Tina Fey, Paul Rudd, and Nat Wolff found themselves working with a cow for a calf-birthing sequence. Rudd praises the cow as being "sweet, but huge. It was hard to see past our new costar, spending the day filming in a small pen.

"The flies loved us that day, because we were smeared with this goop made of syrup and some other gelatinous substance. Our clothes were stuck to us. Sometimes, filming a movie stinks."

The newborn calf was slathered in the goop as well, but since it was in actuality a flexible prosthetic fashioned by the special effects department specifically for the scene, no peeps of discomfort were heard.

Extending the equestrian connection, a privately owned estate in "horse country" on Long Island stood in as the genteel home of John's wealthy family where Nelson's birthday party is held.

Elsewhere in the state, a beautiful old farmhouse in Piermont, NY became Portia's childhood home, then as now Susannah's bohemian enclave. The 35-day shooting schedule also took the production to the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn in New York City.

The production's ability to work so well and so swiftly within imposed parameters can be traced in part to the team's having been one prior. Baron notes, "With a short shooting schedule, it was tremendously helpful that Paul Weitz, [cinematographer] Declan Quinn, Sarah, and so many of us had all worked together before - recently, on Being Flynn. So there was a real shorthand. We knew we would have to think on our feet while also being well-prepared prior to the shoot. In that regard, Paul is a wonderful collaborator with cast and crew alike."

Knowles and returning set decorator Susan Perlman enjoyed scouring prop houses, vintage stores, and flea markets to re-create Susannah's decades' worth of materials. Tomlin reports, "They made it a rambling place where Susannah is forever working on things. In one scene, she's repairing a bike - which would be her eco-minded mode of transportation - so I was taught how to fix the bike chain, which I'll now never forget."

One of the occasions where the production filmed on a soundstage was for the marathon admission session scenes during which final decisions on the incoming class of Princetonians are made; the volume of cast members, and a surprising shooting style that Weitz and Quinn had worked out, necessitated removing set walls and ceilings in order to capture unexpected perspectives.

As production on Admission neared its close, the production finally made it to Princeton University for several days of location filming on campus and in the town of Princeton, NJ.

With full cooperation from the university, its iconic ivy-covered buildings and campus locales such as Blair Arch, Whig Hall, Scudder Plaza Fountain, Holder Court, and Firestone Plaza were captured on camera.

All of this access became feasible because the university had commenced its less-trafficked summer session. As word of the production's presence spread, Dean of Admissions Janet Lavin Rapelye arrived to meet the moviemakers - and was promptly added by Paul Weitz into a scene being filmed with Tina Fey. Dr. Shirley M. Tilghman, University President at the time, stopped by but remained out of camera range along with a Princeton professor who had previous experience with moviemaking; the man with her, Nobel Prize winner John Forbes Nash Jr., whose life story and history with Princeton was told in the multi-Academy Award-winning film A Beautiful Mind, quietly and intently observed the unfolding scenes.

Miano comments, "Princeton University is an institution that is a touchstone to generations of the best and the brightest. Everyone was so glad that we were able to include it in the movie - that was an honor."