Marengo, Elburn to be backdrop for HBO horror television series

Filming to take place on Route 47 in Elburn

Vintage street front facades this summer will transform the businesses along Route 47 in downtown Elburn into the Main Street of a circa 1955 town to film a dramatic horror TV series to be aired on HBO.

Other towns involved in shooting include Marengo, O’Dell, Mt. Morris and the Pilsen neighborhood in Chicago.

Called “Lovecraft Country,” and based on a 2016 Matt Ruff book by the same name, the series follows 25-year-old Atticus Black, played by Jonathon Majors, who joins up with his friend Letitia “Leti” Dandridge and his uncle George to embark on a road trip across 1950s Jim Crow America to find his missing father.

Courtney B. Vance (“American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson”), Aunjanue Ellis (“Quantico”) and Elizabeth Debicki (“The Tale”) all  have been tapped for major roles in the series.

The filming will include a scene in the “diner” – the old Ream’s Meat Market, a high-speed car chase between an old fire truck and a Studebaker north on Main Street, and a crash out in the country in a corn field, said Village President Jeff Walter.

Traffic on Main Street will be rerouted to Anderson Road, and Main Street will be closed at least all day July 25 and half to a full day July 26, said Random Productions LLC supervising location manager Wes Hagan.

Hagan and Kevin Dowling, assistant location manager, met with village officials June 25 to begin discussions on what and how this will take place and all the prep work that will be needed in town to make it happen.

“Everyone in town has been super kind and welcoming,” Dowling said.

The conversations began with Elburn Building Superintendent Tom Brennan, with questions about the old Ream building, Walter said.

Hagan and Dowling said they had looked at about 140 different cities in the past two and a half months for these scenes, saying that finding the correct building for the diner was important, and that the railroad tracks added an extra element that will work well with the story. The topographic features looking north on Main Street were also “right” for one of the scenes.

There will be a stunt coordinator in town in the next couple of weeks to talk through the chase and crash scenes with local law enforcement. There will be gunfire, as well.

“Safety is everyone’s top priority,” Hagan said.

According to Walter, the Elburn Police Department will work out traffic logistics and will be responsible for rerouting traffic, etc.

“The stunt guy will coordinate with [Police] Chief Sikora on crowd control and road closures,” he said. “Our guys will be involved with crowd control to make sure nothing crazy happens. We’re expecting some overtime and extra shifts.”

There will be about 150 people in town once everyone in the crew shows up, and there will be a need for parking for everyone, as well as places to feed everyone.

The men said they will create individual agreements with each business along Main Street, with the work including period facades and awnings on the storefronts, as well as more specific work inside the “diner.”

There also will be a need for some extras, the men said, so residents should watch the Elburn Herald for audition calls.

“This is actually pretty exciting,” Walter said. “Sure, it’ll be a couple of days of inconvenience, but there will be an economic impact for the town, with money spent on renting land from folks for parking, and it will get the village’s name out there.”

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