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Hollywood arrives in downtown Buffalo

Guillermo del Toro ready to film "Nightmare Alley”
Posted at 12:43 PM, Feb 25, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Hollywood has arrived in the Queen City. Oscar winning director Guillermo del Toro is ready to film his next major motion picture, "Nightmare Alley."

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Guillermo del Toro, director, appeared at City Hall Tuesday to talk about his film.

A caravan of crews rolled into downtown Buffalo Tuesday morning at Niagara Square, Franklin Street, and Court Streets.

“I’ve always been fascinated by the city and it is true everyday that i am here, I fall in love more and more with it,” said Guillermo del Toro, director.

The Oscar winning director del Toro appeared Tuesday at a news conference in the lobby of City Hall in downtown Buffalo with Mayor Byron Brown, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Buffalo Niagara Film Commissioner Tim Clark.

del Toro said Buffalo’s architecture and rich history won him over.

But there was one thing he didn't expect to have to create in Buffalo was snow.

“It’s like bringing tacos to Mexico,” joked del Toro. “I really didn't expect that."

As film crews arrived at Niagara Square, they actually brought in their own snow to Buffalo. Crews were shoveling snow out of the back of a pickup truck in the Square Tuesday morning.

Film crews bring in snow in Niagara Square.

But it didn't stop del Toro and a caravan of trucks and crew members from starting to turn parts of downtown into a movie set.

There are orange construction cones set up along parts of those streets to reserved for the tractor-trailer rigs. The restrictions will run until this Friday, February 28th at 6 p.m.

del Toro told reporters he has learned from other filmmakers that Buffalo is a great place to film. He says the city has a reputation where filmmakers can shoot and tap into a “depth of talent and crew” that is already in the city.

”This city has a pristine reputation as a place to shot,” del Toro remarked. The movie will feature actor Bradley Cooper and actress Cate Blanchett.

7 Eyewitness News asked del Toro if they arrived in Buffalo.

“They better be here because we start shooting in about a half hour so, so they must be somewhere. you know,” replied del Toro.

Filming will take place on two floors of City Hall. Just outside in Niagara Square, crews removed a pedestrian signal for filming.

Other nearby buildings are expected to share the spotlight as well including the Karpeles Museum at Elwmood and North street.

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Outside the Karpeles Museum at Elwmood and North Street.

Film commissioner Tim Clark says the film could bring in millions for the city.

The mayor and county executive duly declared this del Toro week in Buffalo.

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Director Guillermo del Toro holds up Buffalo trophy from Buffalo Mayor Brown.

“With this social recognition as an honoring Buffalonian, so now when he comes back to shoot his next movie here, he won't be a visitor he will be a Buffalonian,” declared Mayor Brown.

One tractor-trailer rig was marked "costumes", another said "North Hollywood Equipment Rentals", but the truck had Ontario plates.

Carlito's Catering in New York City also arrived and is set up in front of Statler City on Delaware.

Steve Pozo is with the catering firm. He says they're ready to feed about 200-crews members Tuesday, but they will be here all week.

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Another vehicle marked "costumes" parked on Franklin Street.

"We're here all week. We've worked with the producers before, so they called us — they like our food," laughed Pozo.

The catering company will serve up breakfast and lunch, that will include hamburgers, New York steak, pasta, and fish.

You might have a chance to appear in the film. A casting call has been issued by Citron Casting for locals to be in the film as background actors.

Here's what you need to know if you are heading toward Buffalo's City Hall this week:

City Hall will be open during filming, but the front entrance will be closed been 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. Visitors are being asked to use the South Elmwood entrance.

The front entrance and streets surrounding Niagara Square will be closed from 11 a.m. through 11 p.m. Thursday, February 27.

Posted parking signs and detours are posted in those areas:

  • Genesee St. between Niagara Square & Franklin
  • Delaware Ave. between Niagara Square & W. Eagle St.
  • Perkins Dr. between Niagara Square & S. Elmwood
  • Niagara St. between Niagara Square & S. Elmwood
  • Delaware Ave. between Niagara Square & W. Mohawk
  • Court St. between Niagara Square & Franklin
  • Niagara St. between Niagara Square & Franklin


  • Delaware Ave. between Niagara Square & Church St.


  • Intermediate Closure of Memorial Dr. and Curtis St.


  • Howard St. between Stetson & Montgomery
  • Fillmore Ave. between William St. & Olga Pl.