June 02--In "Revolution," it's been 15 years since the world's electronics -- computers, plans, phones, lights, cars -- mysteriously shut down. The NBC drama follows a young woman, Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos), and her uncle (Billy Burke, "The Twilight Saga") who set out first to rescue Charlie's brother, then overthrow a militia and solve the mystery of the world's power failure.
During the show's season finale Monday, the scrappy revolutionaries likely will have a dramatic confrontation with General Monroe (again), and Charlie will probably spend some more time looking dismayed. But before our favorite rebels say farewell to their fans for summer break, here's a recap of the production's trek though Southeastern North Carolina. SPOILER ALERT: The following items contain plot points from the first season.
The Wilmington Regional Film Commission announced that "Revolution," a new scripted drama set to air on Monday nights on NBC, was headed to the Cape Fear region to film. The sci-fi TV adventure, created by J.J. Abrams, who best known for ABC's hit series "Lost," and "Supernatural" creator Eric Kripke, was expected to put about 125 people to work full time. The show's Warner Bros. Television producers opted to film in the region because of its locations, experienced local crew and vendors, and North Carolina's film incentives program, according to the commission. The series' pilot, which was directed by Jon Favreau, had filmed in Atlanta.
"Revolution's" cast, including Graham Rogers, J.D. Pardo, Tim Guinee and Giancarlo Esposito arrived in the Port City in preparation for filming. Many cast members opted to rent long-term housing in lieu of living out of a hotel room. A warehouse at 3700 U.S. 421 North owned by former state Rep. Danny McComas was converted into a film studio for the new series. The production signed and one-year lease. McComas has declined to give the price of the lease.
Filming kicked off July 16 in a wooded area near the railroad tracks at Brunswick Street and North Fourth Street in downtown Wilmington. Shoots also took place at The Schwartz Center at Cape Fear Community College, the former Sticky Fingers restaurant on Market Street, Smith Creek Bridge, Bellevue Cemetery, Vance Alley and a number of other businesses and private residences about town. Meanwhile, cast members joined series creator Eric Kripke ("Supernatural") and co-executive producer Favreau ("Iron Man 3") at Comic-Con in San Diego and at the Television Critics Association summer press tour to answer questions about the new series.
Unlike TV series that return to the same soundstage sets weekly (with just a few days in each seven- or eight-day production cycle spent on location), "Revolution" had few standing set in the region. For example, North Fourth Street was host to a special pack of trained dogs for a scene in which they ferociously ripped apart a deer carcass. A few days later, crews popped up at Greenfield Transmission at 10 Willard St.
On Sept. 6, more than 800 local film crews and soon-to-be "Revolution" fans packed Thalian Hall's main stage for two free screenings of the show's pilot. Series' stars Giancarlo Esposito, Graham Rogers and Daniella Alonso hosted a brief Q&A with audience members after the first showing. The series premiered on TV at 10 p.m. Sept. 17 to the highest number of viewers of any NBC drama premiere in five years. Meanwhile, cast members like David Lyons and Tim Guinee settled into their temporary home and lent their voices to the Sunny 104.5 FM "Caring for Kids" radiothon at New Hanover Regional Medical Center.
The new drama held its own in the ratings game, prompting NBC executives to green light the final episodes of the series' 20-episode first season on Oct. 2. A couple of weeks later, former N.C. Gov. Beverly Perdue got a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the apocalyptic world during a set visit on North Fourth Street.
The show wrapped for a four-month hiatus on Nov. 26 and planned to return with new episodes on March 25.
The show's army of local set decorators, make-up artists, special effects technicians and construction crews wrapped for a month-long holiday filming break.
After the break, "Revolution" crews popped at Blue Post Billiards and the North Fourth Street bridge between Campbell and Hanover streets. There, the heroes entered the gates of Atlanta and the Georgia Federation, a much different place from that of the Monroe Republic. Mayfaire Town Centre also stood in as Atlanta's Atlantic Station outdoor shopping center, while horses, sheep and a few llamas took over a couple of blocks between Dock and Orange streets near the waterfront during an outdoor market scene that was set in Missouri.
The series shot an episode heavy on stunt work and explosions at Burgaw's historic jail and at the Pender County Courthouse, at 100 S. Wright St. Next, the scrappy group of rebels hit the water and smuggled a scientist onto a boat at Conlon Pier near the Coastline Conference and Event Center on the Cape Fear River. Characters then filmed an assassination attempt against Gen. Monroe (David Lyons) at the historic New Hanover County Courthouse, 316 Princess St. Crews also were spotted near the Legion Sports Complex at the former U.S. Naval Reserve Center at 2144 W. Lake Shore Drive and at the Wilmington Fire Department's old training tower nearby. The scenes show a rebel base under attack by "drones."
After its four-month hiatus, "Revolution" returned to the airwaves March 25 with an intense episode that marked a turning point in suspense for the series. Armed helicopters, characters who can use electrical power and the death of Danny (Graham Rogers) made for an invigorating episode.
The series wrapped season one filming the week of April 4. Although "Revolution's" ratings had cooled a bit since its debut, NBC announced it would renew the show for season two on April 26.
On May 10, crew members of the locally filmed drama received notice from creator Eric Kripke informing them that production for season two would move to Austin, Texas. The show employed about 300 skilled crew members, according to the N.C. Film Office. Meanwhile, Giancarlo Esposito returned to Wilmington to speak at the Coastal Horizons Center's annual fundraising luncheon about the impact of mental illness in his family. NBC also announced that the show's second season episodes will air on Wednesday nights in the fall.
The final episode of "Revolution's" first season will air June 3. Season 2 filming is expected to begin the week of June 24, according to the Austin Film Commission.
Cassie Foss: 343-2365
On Twitter: @WilmOnFilm
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