DANNEMORA, N.Y. (WCAX) Richard Matt and David Sweat made headlines when they broke out of the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora in the summer of 2015. During the massive manhunt and investigation in the weeks that followed, the town was swarmed by law enforcement and media. For local stores, it meant a lot of extra work keeping their shelves stocked for the hundreds of search crews.
"When they first broke out, we ended up going to actually all the Maplefields and we were cleaning them out of water and everything and bringing it up. And we served coffee free to anyone in uniform through the whole thing, so we did a lot of stuff," said Christina Whitney, a Maplefields manager.
But now residents are dealing with a new influx of crowds as Hollywood star Ben Stiller has been gearing up to direct and produce his TV miniseries based on the escape. More than 1,000 people come from across the region came to Plattsburgh to audition for the show this summer. Some think the attention is good for business.
"We've got all these little mom and pop shops which, you know, they made a lot of sales, all the attention coming to the theater. They got to go out. They got to buy food. They got hundreds of people that wouldn't usually just go buy a slice of pizza from them, now they've had all those sales and all that attention, all that free advertising," said Dana McLaughlin, of the Strand Theater.
Stiller and his crew have been spotted recently outside the prison preparing for scenes that will be filmed locally. And some people told us they're worried he won't paint the region in a positive light, citing a recent Lifetime movie on Joyce Mitchell who was accused of helping the men escape.
"The Lifetime movie that was made almost kind of made us look bad or made the situation look bad, so I'm hoping Ben has a different plot twist to it and actually shows the correct views and just how things unfolded and how it wasn't just one person's fault kind of thing," said Mark Lapointe, Maplefields employee.
Some also told us that having the big TV crews fill up the streets will bring back memories of the search teams and road blocks that were out during the manhunt.
"I mean it's exciting to have him up here doing this, but I feel we went through an awful lot with it, and now it seems like we're just kind of going through it again, but in a way though, it is kind of exciting," said Whitney.
No word yet on when filming actually starts or when residents will get to see the final product.