An HBO camera crew sets up a shot during film production Thursday for the upcoming Cinemax series “Banshee” at the Laboratory Mill south of Lincolnton.
Cameras rolled, lights glared and fake rain fell as television crews were in town late last week for production on Banshee, a new show from HBO-television that is slated to air on Cinemax in 2013.
As the Times-News previously reported, members of the project’s location team scouted rural parts of Lincoln County earlier this spring for potential areas to film scenes for the Pennsylvania-set show.
Eventually, they decided on the old Laboratory Mill on Southfork Road in Lincolnton, owned by John and Cyndi Dellinger. The couple has been renovating the mill for the past five years and is currently seeking a conditional-use permit to operate an events venue at the former Confederate laboratory.
It is here that the show’s production crew set up shop to shoot scenes overnight Thursday and Friday. John Dellinger told the Times-News that roughly 150 people were a part of the base camp, consisting of tents, catering trucks, cranes, makeup trailers and more.
The mill was soon transformed into a Hollywood set, as camera crews, electricians, lighting fixtures, producers, actors and stunt doubles converged on the scene.
Neighbors were invited to come eat with the crew and watch the action unfold. The road remained open during shooting, thereby allowing locals driving by to crane their necks in hopes of sneaking a peak of the set.
A source with the project told the Times-News on-set Thursday evening that she fully expects more filming will be done in Lincoln County before production ends this fall, while also noting that roughly 90 percent of the crew members working on the show here are based locally out of Charlotte.
“It’s a series (involving) a biker gang in a rural setting and shoots ’til October; I think we’ll be back,” she said.
She also added that an important requirement when selecting potential filming sites is that the locations “must be interesting.”
As part of the scenes being shot at the mill, local fire departments were brought in to help create a rain effect. Sheriff’s deputies were also employed for security purposes.
Lincoln County Fire Marshal Mike Futrell has been serving as HBO’s primary contact for the various county agencies involved. In this role, he finds out what the crew needs and helps make the necessary arrangements.
The production company is working out the cost with the agencies for the equipment and manpower involved, he noted.
Futrell said the crew members will likely be in and out of the county over the next few weeks. If everything goes well, he also believes they will come back to shoot parts of the show’s second season here.
Futrell added that a couple of other shows and films also have been looking at the area.
Kara Brown, existing business manager for the Lincoln Economic Development Association, was heavily involved in showing the project’s location team around. She first met with representatives of the show back in February.
Brown initially worked with the Charlotte Regional Film Commission during the recruitment process and in locating sites and resources.
“LEDA went through a lot of trouble,” Dellinger said.
Brown also noted that, as the script dictates, she believes the show’s team will intermittently continue to have a presence in the county. In an effort to be more cost-effective, the crew is trying to film sites within a close proximity to other locations during a given shoot, she said.
“I fully expect them to come back,” she noted.
After a bit of a quiet spell, Brown said it got very busy in May as they ramped up for the shoot and lined up additional locations. Prior to the filming at the mill, crews also filmed a scene involving a car crash off of Beth Haven Church Road in Denver a couple of weeks ago.
“We’re glad to have them in Lincoln County,” Brown added. “We appreciate their interest in working here.”
The show is produced by Alan Ball (HBO’s True Blood and Six Feet Under) and is slated for 10 one-hour episodes. The action series will follow an ex-convict who assumes the identity of the town’s sheriff and continues his criminal activities while being hunted by those he previously betrayed, according to an earlier Cinemax press release.
The historic mill on the South Fork River, once used as a chemical production facility for the Confederate Army, is surrounded by production vehicles as the location was transformed into the Pennsylvania setting of the show, about an ex-convict posing as a sheriff.