‘NOS4A2’ films across Rhode Island

‘NOS4A2’ films across Rhode Island

Taking questions from the press on set of the upcoming AMC series NOS4A2, are co-executive producer and writer Tom Brady, actress Jahkara Smith, showrunner/executive producer Jami O’Brien and producer/co-president of Tornante Television, Lauren Corrao.

NORTH KINGSTOWN – The State of Rhode Island is ready for its close-up.

Rhode Islanders will likely recognize a number of familiar sights in the upcoming AMC series “NOS4A2,” which is currently being filmed at various locations across the state, including Lincoln.

Pronounced “Nosferatu,” the series was adapted from a mystery/thriller novel by Joe Hill, son of Stephen King. It follows a young New England woman named Vic McQueen, played by Ashleigh Cummings, who uses her supernatural abilities to track the show’s villain, Charlie Manx, played by Zachary Quinto. Manx feeds off the souls of children before depositing them in a place called Christmasland, a twisted place of Manx’s imagination where every day is Christmas and unhappiness is against the law.

While the series is set mostly in Haverhill, Mass., it is being filmed 100 percent in Rhode Island. There have been scenes shot across the state, including Lincoln Woods State Park, the Providence Athenaeum and various locations in Woonsocket. West Warwick High School is the William White Memorial High School and the Warren Town Hall represents the fictional location Here, Iowa. Goddard Memorial State Park has lent itself for scenes from Christmasland, and a carhop was shot at Shady Acres in Foster.

“There are scenes from Iowa and Colorado in the show, and Rhode Island doubles for those as well,” said Rhode Island Film & Television Office Director Steven Feinberg. “It’s the smallest state with the biggest backlot.”

“We’re delighted to be in Rhode Island,” said showrunner Jami O’Brien, who adapted the series from the novel to television. She said they’d been considering filming in Vancouver, Canada when someone suggested Rhode Island.

“You have so many different looks here without driving too far,” echoed Lauren Corrao, co-president of Tornante Television, who brought the show to AMC. “Rhode Island serves as Colorado, Iowa cornfields, Kansas and some fantasy places too. We’ve filmed in every corner of the state.”

The show’s home base is a 100,000-square-foot warehouse in Quonset Business Park, which houses the show’s production office and sound stage. From the trusses of the warehouse, a complex system of pulleys and wires twist through the rafters, supporting a series of massive lighting fixtures that cast a natural sunlight effect.

Inside this warehouse, crewmembers have built the show’s set from the ground-up, including the “Essex County Hospital” and model homes for each of the main characters. The homes feel authentic, down to the dated décor and family photos adorning the walls. In one character’s bedroom, clothes lie scattered on the floor and a cigarette sits in ashes on the nightstand. On the dresser, a can of Barbasol sits next to the contents of someone’s pockets – some spare change and Chapstick.

“It’s amazing how lived-in it feels,” said Tom Brady, co-executive producer and writer. “That was very important to the show.”

Last week during a press tour of the set, lead actress Ashleigh Cummings was filming a hospital scene, requiring her to sit still as the camera slowly zooms in on her face. Around her, a flurry of nurses will be edited to create a blurred effect. As the director yells, “cut, reset,” the nurses return to their positions out-of-frame, while the camera slowly whirs back on its tracks. They’ll shoot this scene over and over, with excruciating attention to detail.

Speaking to the press after the morning production, Cummings said the experience has been, “pretty extraordinary” so far as she begins to hone-in on her character’s narrative. One of her main attractions to Vic, she said, is the “internal push and pull” of the female heroine, who walks the line between vulnerability and strength. She promised the show would transport viewers to other worlds.

Jahkara Smith, a U.S.Air Force veteran and YouTube star, said she was willing to leave her home in Missouri to accept the role of librarian Maggie Smith on the show because of its female-centric storyline and production team.

“This genuinely is a female-driven project, and I was willing to come to Rhode Island because of this,” she said.

Virginia Kull, who plays Vic’s mother Linda in the show, said she hopes that the series is “an absolute feast for people’s senses. This feels completely new and unique, and I think it’s going to be great fun.”

With filming set to wrap at the end of January, “NOS4A2” is expected to make its debute next summer.