Editorial: ‘Castle Rock’ filming a fruitful endeavor for Orange, show runners

Published: 8/24/2018 9:00:25 AM

In Burgundy, France, the village of Flavigny-sur-Ozerain, the location of the movie “Chocolat,” has become something of a tourist attraction. In places like Croatia and Iceland, visitors have swamped locations for “Game of Thrones.” Even Shelburne Falls, already a regional tourism village, has added movie-making to its list of attractions since the filming of “The Judge” and “Labor Day.”

Now, maybe it will be Orange’s time, with “Castle Rock,” which was shot largely in Orange last year and has taken off in popularity.

The first season of Hulu’s original horror series hasn’t finished airing yet, but it has already been so successful that its creators have renewed it for a second season.

The 10 episodes of “Castle Rock” are set in the eponymous Maine town of the famed horror writer Stephen King’s mythos, where popular novels like “Cujo” and “The Dark Half” are set.

“Nothing stays dead in this town. #CastleRock will return for Season 2,” a Hulu Twitter post has proclaimed to the delight of most area residents.

It is unknown when the second season might be filmed and whether it will be filmed in Orange again, but we are hoping it will. Production team member Joseph Stargensky has said that the production team felt, “This is Castle Rock right here,” upon finding the eastern Franklin County town.

While no numbers have been released publicly, Hulu told the Hollywood Reporter that “Castle Rock” was the most successful first-season launch for an original Hulu show on the day of its July 25 premiere, both in terms of viewership and reach, and the show also had the highest “view-through” rates for a Hulu original in its first two weeks.

Adrienne Bedaw, Orange’s community development administrator who acted as a liaison between the town and “Castle Rock” during filming, is cautiously optimistic “Castle Rock” will return.

Bedaw said “we’d be honored” to have “Castle Rock” return to town for Season 2.

The kick that locals get watching their town and fellow residents on the screen is reward enough for hosting production crews for several weeks, but there were tangible financial benefits as well: money spent in local stores and restaurants by the crew over the months and the cash gifts the production company doled out afterward.

“Castle Rock” donated money to Orange twice since filming for Season 1 wrapped up — first, $3,500 to the town’s Fire Department and Trustees of Soldiers’ Memorials; and then another $10,000 to beautify the parks and cemeteries in town, where some filming was done.

That last chunk of money has made it possible in part for Dinner by the River to return this year after the event was canceled last year because the park suffered from neglected maintenance. But now, Dinner by the River, returns fittingly as a fundraiser for the parks of Orange.

“It’s really been a three-way effort. There’s the ORP (Orange Revitalization Partnership), the superintendent of highways, parks and cemeteries and ‘Castle Rock,’” said Selectboard member James Cornwell.

We hope “Castle Rock” returns to Orange, along with its fun, excitement and financial infusion. And then there is also the prospect of a longer-term payout: that Orange may see a boost in tourist business as Stephen King fans travel here to catch some of that “Castle Rock” vibe.

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