×

Orange becomes Castle Rock: Film crew works downtown

  • A hand-drawn map of the detours implemented in downtown Orange for filming of “Castle Rock” on Tuesday. Recorder Staff/Domenic Poli

  • Recorder File photo/Domenic PoliMattresses & More on South Main Street in Orange has had a Schlitz beer advertisement painted on its side for the filming of “Castle Rock,” an upcoming Hulu series inspired by the works of horror writer Stephen King.

  • Recorder Staff/Domenic PoliA down-the-street look at the filming of “Castle Rock,” a Stephen King-inspired series set for Hulu, a subscription video-on-demand service.

  • Castle Rock logo

  • Recorder Staff/Domenic PoliThe intersection near the filming of “Castle Rock,” a Stephen King-inspired series set for Hulu, a subscription video-on-demand service.



Recorder Staff
Tuesday, August 08, 2017

ORANGE — If you were walking through downtown Orange on Tuesday, or should we say “Castle Rock,” you may have wondered what happened to local businesses like Quik Cutz hair styling salon or Sunjays bubble tea shop. Don’t worry — they’re not going anywhere. They merely had a temporary change of identity.

The town was ready for its close-up as the police cordoned off downtown for periods of the day so a film crew could shoot scenes for “Castle Rock,” an upcoming online series inspired by the works of famed horror writer Stephen King. Most pedestrian traffic was still allowed.

Orange resident Jamel Kovacevic, who lives on Dexter Street, stopped by to see the action.

“I’ve been trying to get them to use my swamp — I’ve got a nice little swamp down at my house,” he said. “This is cool. I think it’s good for the town.”

This series, slated for the Hulu subscription video-on-demand service, is an original suspense/thriller.

The main intersection was littered with equipment and personnel, from make-up artists and construction crew members to stunt drivers and camera operators, some of whom stood on ladders. The crew worked throughout the morning, stopping shortly after 1 p.m. Filming resumed after lunch and was scheduled for the First Universalist Church on North Main Street in the afternoon.

Traffic was detoured while the film crew was working.

Castle Rock is a fictional town in Maine (King’s home state) that the writer has used in much of his work. According to Hulu, the town has been featured in “Cujo,” “The Dark Half,” and “Needful Things,” as well as the novella “The Body” and other short stories.

At one point, a crew member was seen combing and styling the hair of actress Melanie Lynskey, who sat in the driver’s seat of a run-down Volvo waiting near the intersection on South Main Street. Lynskey, perhaps most known for playing Rose on the sitcom “Two and a Half Men,” is one of the production’s big names. André Holland, from the Academy Award-winning film “Moonlight,” has been cast to play the lead role, and Sissy Spacek, famous for her role as the title character in the 1976 film adaptation of Stephen King’s “Carrie,” and Jane Levy, who starred in the ABC comedy series “Suburgatory,” have also signed on.

Publicists for Hulu asked that no photographs or video footage be shot of the actors or the altered storefronts.

Equipped with headsets and walkie-talkies, crew members meticulously engineered every movement and camera angle for the scenes. This consisted mostly of vehicles driving through the intersection. Scenes were repeated multiple times. The business facades in the background of the shots had been artistically transferred to resemble those of a mysterious defunct mill town from yesteryear.

“Walk with the strollers,” one man instructed, prompting two women to walk up South Main Street with baby strollers while a car cruised past them. The parking lot across the street from Trail Head Outfitters & General Store was filled with background actors waiting to be tagged in. A July 18 open casting call drew nearly 1,700 people to Orange Town Hall.

Kovacevic, the local resident, said a background actor, apparently portraying a disheveled “town drunk” sitting in the intersection, reminded him of Otis Campbell, the drunken lush portrayed by actor Hal Smith on “The Andy Griffith Show” in the 1960s.

Several crew members poured into the Millers River Cafe, inside Trailhead, for food and drinks throughout Tuesday morning.

Joseph Stargensky, a freelance location manager working for Hulu, previously said Hulu has ordered 10 episodes and it takes 10 to 15 days to film one. Other scenes will be filmed at New England Studios in Devens. Kevin Kennedy, the director of community development and planning for Orange, has said film crews will be in town off and on until January 2018.

“Castle Rock” is being produced by Warner Bros. Television and Bad Robot, the production company of J.J. Abrams, creator of “Lost,” “Felicity” and the films “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Mission: Impossible.”

A teaser for the series can be viewed online at: hulu.tv/2rBi7hF.

Reach Domenic Poli at:
dpoli@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 258
On Twitter: @DomenicPoli