The old Laboratory Mill on Southfork Road in Lincolnton was once again the site of a Hollywood production this week as 20th Century Fox Television was in town to shoot a pilot episode for a remake of “Sleepy Hollow.”
John Dellinger, who owns and is restoring the historic mill building with his wife, Cyndi, told the Times-News this week that “nothing ever this big” had yet to be filmed in the area.
The filming, which took place during daylight hours, required the temporary closure of Southfork Road and help from various local agencies to pull off some pyrotechnics and other special effects, including small explosives, gunfire, cannon fire and atmospheric smoke.
Last summer, the mill provided the backdrop for scenes shot for the Cinemax TV series “Banshee,” which has now been picked up for a second season.
Other productions, including one from Hallmark Movie Channel starring actor Danny Glover and another entitled “An Evergreen Christmas” and starring Naomi Judd, shot on location in various parts of Lincoln County in recent months.
Dellinger said the current production filming at his mill, a former Confederate laboratory that he plans to have open for business as an events venue by July, has quite a large budget, with crew members involved that have previously worked on the special-effects-laden “Transformers” movies. Len Wiseman, who helmed the “Underworld” series and most recently the “Total Recall” remake, is directing.
“We wouldn’t have stopped construction otherwise,” Dellinger said regarding the restoration that’s being completed on the property after more than five years of work.
The “Sleepy Hollow” remake has also filmed in Gastonia and Salisbury.
“There’s a good chance they’ll be back,” Dellinger said.
Three major sequences involving roughly 100 extras were shot while the crew was in town, he said.
The Charlotte Regional Film Commission posted on its website in mid-March a call for extras for the production, with Tona B. Dahlquist Casting Company, from projects such as “Homeland,” “Banshee,” “The Hunger Games” and “Iron Man 3,” heading up the search.
Crew members, described by Dellinger as “really professional,” began to descend on the mill last Friday to start setting up, with filming taking place Monday through Wednesday. The camp was scheduled to be taken apart during the latter part of the week.
Dellinger noted how impressed he was with both the authenticity and the attention to detail of the props and the costumes being used for the production.
Though much of the crew is based out of Charlotte, he said many on the set found it difficult to believe places such as his mill exist just 30 miles out of the city. As such, he spent some time giving local history lessons to those interested.
Dellinger, who’s known about the production coming to town for about two months, showed the location scouts around himself, allowing them to survey between 12 and 15 sites in a couple of days.
With many of the crew members having worked on other local productions, his property was already on their radar.
Lincolnton should also reap some benefits from the visitors, as many stayed in local hotels and bought supplies, such as lumber, from local retailers.
“A lot of business was done in Lincolnton,” Dellinger said. “That’s the good thing about it.”