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Paul Giamatti talks filming ‘The Holdovers’ in Massachusetts with Stephen Colbert

The actor opened up about his new Bay State-set film on “The Late Show”

‘The Holdovers’ is a love letter to 1970s Massachusetts
WATCH: entertainment writer Kevin Slane says the new Paul Giamatti movie is one of the best movies of the year.

Actor Paul Giamatti talked about the character quirks, scathing insults, and rural Massachusetts backdrop in his latest film, “The Holdovers,” on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” Wednesday.

“It’s funny, it’s heartbreaking, and it feels like time travel,” Colbert said about the film, set in 1970s Massachusetts. “Like in that scene in the liquor store, all of the bottles have the old tax label that used to be on all the liquor bottles.”

“Turns out, Massachusetts, it’s still 1970 in Massachusetts,” Giamatti said, eliciting laughs from the crowd. “Definitely in parts of Massachusetts.”

The film follows a professor (Giamatti) at an all-boys private school who makes some unexpected connections when he stays on campus for winter break. The movie was largely filmed within the Bay State.


For scenes at the prep school, location manager Kai Quinlan told the Globe in a recent interview that the production decided on Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Southborough’s St. Mark’s School, Fairhaven High School and Academy in Fairhaven, and Gill’s Northfield Mount Hermon.

Director Alexander Payne also filmed parts of the movie around the Boston area, with Quinlan choosing Somerville Theatre for a scene in which Giamatti and Dominic Sessa, playing troubled teenager Angus, go to the movies.

“Sitting in this space where we were going to film, in my hometown, doing a movie that is about this place that I know so well — it was so moving,” Quinlan said. “I teared up.”

“The Holdovers” is now playing in theaters.

Elena Giardina can be reached at