Scenes from Jordan Peele’s upcoming HBO show “Lovecraft Country” might look familiar to Woodstock residents.
Preservation of the city’s Opera House and the county’s former courthouse already lend a historic feel to the area’s downtown. The Square is in the process of a more elaborate transformation, however, intended to usher the show’s viewers back in time through 1950s America.
Crew members working on the series pilot for “Lovecraft Country” staged business on the Square in preparation for filming that is expected to begin Monday, assistant location manager Raul Esparza III said.
Academy Award winner Peele, Emmy Award winner J.J. Abrams and the series’ co-creator, Misha Green, are among the project’s executive producers.
The horror drama, based on author Matt Ruff’s 2016 novel of the same name, follows a black man – 22-year-old Army veteran Atticus (Jonathan Majors) – as he joins up with his childhood friend, Letitia (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), and his uncle, George (Courtney Vance) – who is publisher of “The Safe Negro Travel Guide” – on a road trip across America in the 1950s during the Jim Crow era in search of his missing father.
During the trip, they encounter “both mundane terrors of white America and malevolent spirits that seem straight out of the weird tales George devours,” according to the book’s description.
The series has been filming at various locations in Illinois throughout the summer. A stop in Elburn last month landed a stunt car driver in the hospital after a car used in a chase scene during the second day of filming flipped onto its side.
The crash took place as the car was rounding the intersection of Gates and Pierce streets, Elburn Police Chief Nick Sikora said.
The stunt driver was treated by Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District paramedics for injuries that were not considered life-threatening, and was taken to Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital, Sikora said. The four actors inside the car reportedly were not injured.
The scene being filmed was close to the last scheduled in Elburn, Sikora said.
Crews will continue to transform the Woodstock Square on Friday, and they are expected to move onto Hebron after filming Monday.
“They know that Woodstock has been on film before, and so that is part of why they came out here,” said Jane Howie, executive assistant to Woodstock’s city manager and mayor. “They really like that Woodstock has kept up with the historic buildings, and so that’s part of the draw, as well.”
Representatives from both HBO and Random Productions LLC have spoken fondly of the Woodstock community, and city officials hope the impression brings crew members back for future filming, Howie said.
“The city is really excited to have this group select us. We have had a pleasure working with the group, as well,” she said. “They’ve been very kind and very appreciative of the city, and so we do hope that they come back.”
The village of Hebron announced the use of local ice cream shop The Dari on its Facebook page Thursday.
“Both Routes 47 and 173, along with some side streets, will be closed and detoured from approximately 4 to
10 p.m. and marked as such by the production company,” the village wrote.
Residents who would like to watch the filming, should do so from the Northeast corner of Routes 47 and 173, which will not be used during filming, according to the village’s post.
Filming could take place Wednesday, rather than Monday, depending on the weather.