New movie ‘Manodrome’ filmed in Syracuse, features Jesse Eisenberg, Adrien Brody

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Manodrome, a movie filmed in Syracuse with award-winning actors Jesse Eisenberg and Adrien Brody, is set to be released in theaters on Friday, Nov. 10.

Eisenberg, known for Now You See Me and The Social Network, plays Ralphie, a spiraling young man who doesn’t realize he’s looking for a place to “fit in.” His co-star, Adrien Brody, known for The Pianist and Peaky Blinders, plays Dad Dan, the “father figure” within a cult-like group of men.

Other stars include Odessa Young who plays Sal, Ralphie’s pregnant girlfriend. As well as Sallieu Sesay as Ahmet and Philip Ettinger as Jason.

Eisenberg’s character, Ralphie, is trying to work through the relative pressures of life. His girlfriend is pregnant, money is tight and he’s starting to lose control. In an effort to navigate his own problems, he ends up neck-deep with a mysterious group of men who are welcoming him as one of their own.

The drama thriller film walks us through (as if we’re on eggshells) Ralphie’s personal struggles to figure out who he is, with the help and coercion of these older men, or new found “dads.”

As the movie’s South African writer and director, John Trengove, put it, it’s a sense of finding a new family.

The tense trailer for the movie — which includes a red-headed Eisenberg and a scruffy Brody — was released on YouTube days ago, and locals have begun to pick up on some familiar backgrounds.

According to Trengove, they shot the movie in Syracuse mid-pandemic. Although you see many notable landmarks throughout the trailer — and seemingly in the movie — the film isn’t actually set in Syracuse.

“There are one or two tiny hints, that we are somewhere in Upstate New York, but it was very much intended not to be representative of a specific place,” said Trengove in an interview with Deadline. “For me, it’s a kind of fever dream. That was the word that I’ve always used. We’re inside Ralphie’s head, inside a version of America that is projected and imagined. His experiences aren’t always reliable in the sense that we don’t always know what’s real and what’s not.”

Some of the locations that can be seen in the trailer include Destiny USA, I-81, Pavone’s Pizza, the Wellington House, Crucible, and more.

Trengove touched on how Covid created a new world in his Deadline interview, and how that played part in the movie.

“We were also shooting there over Covid, in Syracuse,” said Trengove. “It was devastating. There was this idea that people weren’t coming back to work and a real sense that the system wasn’t working anymore, that it was disintegrating. We were quite preoccupied with that when we were shooting and it became something that we were keen to bring into the story.”

This movie isn’t Brody’s only tie to Syracuse. Back in 2015, he released a documentary called Stone Barn Castle about his compassion for an old European castle he bought and renovated in Cleveland, New York.

His dream was to always own a place in the country, according to the documentary’s IMDB. So Brody impulsively bought the property.

Before the mansion was Brody’s, it had a multitude of uses. It began its life as a cow barn, but has also been a nightclub, an amusement park, an antiques shop and a museum, according to the Rome Sentinel.

Brody worked with filmmaker Kevin Ford as they documented Brody’s seven-year journey in making something so unique, and worn down, into something even more beautiful.

Manodrome is set to be released in select theaters on Friday, Nov. 10, but none in the Syracuse area are playing it. If you want to make the drive to an AMC, they will be playing it.

There are AMC theatres in Buffalo, Rochester and Binghamton. Manodrome is not yet streaming online either.

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