MOORESVILLE – If you hear gunshots downtown, don’t panic. The “Banshee” TV series is back in town, and local stores and residents have had the chance to experience the filming firsthand.
Danny Martin, who works at the Mooresville Ice Cream Company, was hired as a background actor. His role was to walk across the sidewalk in the opening scene of an upcoming episode.
Martin went up to one of the production’s crew and said, “What does it take to get a part on the show?”
His boldness paid off, and he can officially put "actor" on his résumé.
Martin said it took 20 minutes and 30 takes for his small scene. The costume department said he could wear his regular clothes as long as he wore muted colors. Martin hopes he will have a second chance to work on another scene.
Besides the thrill of being on a show, his favorite part of filming “Banshee” involved food. The company set up what is called “base camp” behind Merinos Home Furnishings, where caterers piled plenty of food onto hungry actors’ plates.
The production company’s generosity extended to a couple of stores – the Mooresville Ice Cream Company and HEbrews Coffeehouse, where they left a sizable tab at both places for the crew and performers to pick up snacks during the day.
“People don’t realize all the business the filming company brings to town,” said Nikki Tate, co-owner of Hebrews Coffeehouse.
Production workers “rented” certain stores for the show. This required the crew to empty out the entire contents of the store and furnish it for the needed scene in the script.
Aubrey Hartman, of the Quilters Loft Company, said "Banshee" turned the sewing store into a bookstore, redressing the entire interior with books. The filming didn’t interrupt business – in fact more people came into the store to see what was going on.
According to one of the production crew members, the company does anything needed to repair any damage done during the filming, including repainting if necessary.
Vacant buildings were also rented.
The production company turned an empty store into a 1940s-style coffee shop, complete with stools, a jukebox and hand-painted signage on the window, allowing a passerby to do a double-take at the “new” restaurant in town.
Two crew members of Screaming Spirits Productions, Mark Cook and Fred Phelps Jr., said their company hires locals for much of the work they do. They both expressed a concern that North Carolina’s film tax incentives could be taken away with a bill introduced in the N.C. General Assembly.
Ray Bivins, a veteran of movies such as “Talladega Nights” and “Children of the Corn,” coordinates special effects for “Banshee.” He’s done more than 120 movies, one-third in North Carolina, adding the last five years he’s worked more in North Carolina than he has the other 25 years.
“I just spent $3,000 at the Mooresville Lowe’s,” Bivins said. “I also hired 14 workers from this area and gave them work.”
He noted how producing a film is extremely expensive. A scene shot June 13 will last only 45 seconds but will cost $10,000 to produce it.
Filming in North Carolina may still be up in the air, but for right now, many locals will have great memories of this season’s “Banshee” filming.