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‘The Continental’ series director Albert Hughes on playing in the “sandbox” of 1970s New York

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The Continental © 2022 Starz Entertainment, LLC

The second of three episodes of The Continental: From the World of John Wick is now streaming on Peacock.

Set in “the hell-scape of 1970s New York City,” it was up to director Albert Hughes, as well as Wick franchise producers Basil Iwanyk, Erica Lee and their production team, to recreate the bad old days of the Big Apple — very far from New York, no less.

Lee explains, “We scouted all over and then ended up in Budapest, which is amazing.” She thanked “an incredible team that … helped build … The Continental and ’70s New York and still give it that kind of slick John Wick vibe on a … smaller budget.”

Hughes adds, “When we did Dead Presidents in 1994 … we’re doing the ’70s, you’re a little closer to that period. And they hadn’t yet cleaned up Times Square, and the Bronx and Harlem. So we were able to do it. You know, even now in New York, you can’t … get away with it.”

“Even modern-day John Wick … it’s an impression of New York,” he continues. “So what’s our impression of the 1970s New York? That starts with disco for me and music and classic rock and the style of the ’70s, the sanitation strike, you know, all that good stuff.”

The location was sweetened with establishing shots of the New York City skyline, thanks to some digital artistry. Hughes explains, “We had to get reference pictures of what buildings weren’t there and take them out. We had to put the Twin Towers in.”

But sorry, Statue of Liberty wonks: The visual effects supervisor pointed out that the flame atop Lady Liberty’s torch isn’t period-accurate and offered to fix it.

“I’m like … no, we shouldn’t waste money on that,” Hughes laughs.

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