There are fictional royals among us.
Matthew Weiner’s $50 million anthology series has gained critical attention for its elaborate settings in cities across the globe since its premiere spanned the streets of Paris. This weekend, the Amazon show comes to New York City for a 90-minute episode that takes viewers on an upper Manhattan day trip of sorts.
Told through the eyes of a soon-to-be grandmother (Amanda Peet) who’s having one seriously rough afternoon, “Expectation” includes a drop-in at Bergdorf Goodman and other Fifth Avenue shops, Columbus Circle views and a quick trip to the airport.
Filming in New York City “makes me feel like I won the lottery … but honestly, if Matt had set it in Cincinnati, I would’ve gone there too,” Peet, who plays Olivia Wells, says. On a Wednesday afternoon earlier this month, she and her co-star Jon Tenney chatted about the series at The Whitby Hotel, walking distance from where their episode filmed.
As a New Yorker herself, Peet felt right at home shooting on the city’s streets. “I was a kid walking around and every now and then I’d see a film set and be filled with wonder and awe. It’s always pretty crazy to drive up and see that there’s a trailer there for me,” she says.
Peet shares screentime with Tenney (“The Closer”) in the episode, of which little plot points have been revealed ahead of its release. As with all episodes of Weiner’s series, one or more characters have an incredibly loose tie to the infamous Romanov family executed in 1918.
“We’re a married couple and our daughter is about to have a baby,” Tenney says. “We’re about to be grandparents for the first time and that’s a crisis point in our lives that sets off a lot of the action in the story that takes place over one day.”
The episode synopsis keeps it simple, stating a woman (Peet) is confronted with “all the lies she’s ever told” in one day. “I feel like that’s really good. That’s it,” Peet says, holding back details.
“How many times in your own life do you get to these points, these sort of crisis points, and you take stock? I think that’s really truthful,” Tenney adds.
The episode stars Emily Rudd as Peet and Tenney’s daughter. “Mad Men” alum John Slattery has a major role, too. But we can’t tell you much more about that.
Both Tenney and Peet admit they knew just as little as you do about the series when signing onto the project, but say throwing their trust in Weiner was easy.
“He’s very exacting and he has a strong point of view and knows what he wants. There was some relief in that,” Peet says. Agreeing, Tenney adds it was the “Mad Men” aesthetic that got him hooked to the “Romanoffs” project.
“Expectation” hit the streaming platform on Friday, Oct. 26.