Queen Mary takes on the role of a ship (that works) in a pair of TV shows

The Queen Mary has been closed for a while, but the ship is still getting some work as a film location. ABC-TV was aboard filming a series “Career Opportunities in Murder & Mayhem,” a sort of Agatha Christie/”Love Boat” mashup in which rich and powerful passengers on an ocean liner (that actually works—a stretch role for the QM) are each hiding something, and one may be a murderer. Trying to solve the case is detective Rufus Cotesworth, played by Mandy Patinkin (following his eight-series role on “Homeland”) and his protége Imogene (played by Violett Beane, of “God Friended Me”).

The Queen also plays a functioning cruise ship in a recent visit by crews and talent from “Reno 911!” the comedy series that has bounced around from Comedy Central to Quibi to the Roku Channel and now to Paramount+.

The shooting reportedly took place all over the ship as the bumbling police officers run afoul of a QAnon convention.

Long Beach becomes Palm Springs

Add Palm Springs to the list of towns played by Long Beach. Save for the fact that we don’t have massive tracts of land where nothing will grow, we do have a mess of mid-century-modern architecture and, of course, palm trees, those towering and ubiquitous trees that too often preclude Long Beach from taking on roles of cities that don’t have them growing in front of every home.

Long Beach’s Palm Springs turn is for a new half-hour comedy series called “High Desert” (aka “Swamp Flower”) starring Oscar, Golden Globe and Emmy winner Patricia Arquette.

The eight-day Long Beach shoot, which wrapped Wednesday, was done at a mid-century office building on Spring Street across from Long Beach Airport.

The series reunites Arquette and director Ben Stiller. The duo scooped up multiple awards for the 2018 Showtime series “Escape at Dannemora” and appeared together in “Flirting With Disaster.”

“High Desert,” which will be carried on Apple TV+, follows Peggy (Arquette), a former addict who decides to make a new start in life after the death of her mother by becoming a private investigator.

“High Desert” will be Apple’s second partnership with Arquette and Stiller following the series order for “Severance,” an upcoming workplace thriller directed by Stiller and starring Arquette alongside John Turturro and Christopher Walken.

‘Purple Hearts’

Crews and talent were at 54th Place and Ocean Boulevard recently for an eight-day shoot for the Netflix flick “Purple Hearts,” a Young Adult picture involving a young couple who married for less-than-romantic reasons, and then what? They fall in love for real or what? The movie stars Sofia Carson, star of the musical-fantasy “Descendants” and all of its sequels and offshoots, The music-heavy film (with songs written by Justin Tranter) is based on the Tess Wakefield adult romance novel of the same name. It’s tentatively set for a mid-2022 release.

And now a word from a sponsor

Feature film, TV series, TV ad: It all pays the same in terms of the city getting checks from film work.

Here’s an IBM commercial filmed recently on Los Altos Avenue in Park Estates.


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Tim Grobaty is a columnist and opinions editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his newspaper career at the Press-Telegram in 1976 as a copy boy and moved on to feature writer, music critic, TV critic, copy editor and daily columnist. He’s the author of several books, including I’m Dyin’ Here, and he lives in Long Beach.