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Hunting ‘Banshee’ in western Rowan

SALISBURY — Suspense and intrigue arrived Monday morning in western Rowan County, where the Cinemax TV series “Banshee” will film for a week.
Cameras were rolling as actor Rus Blackwell, who plays District Attorney Gordon Hopewell, appeared to be sneaking up on an old farmhouse on Cooper Road, carrying binoculars and wearing a backpack. Screaming Spirit Productions is using the house and a large barn as a backdrop for the show that’s filmed in the Charlotte region but set in Pennsylvania Amish country.
A location scout called the farmhouse “the perfect house,” said Don Bringle, the parks and recreation director for Rowan County. “Banshee” is paying the county $500 to park cars at Sloan Park.
Monday morning, trucks and equipment lined Cooper Road, and dozens of cast and crew members were at work behind tall grass that stands in front of the house.
The production studio is using the Millbridge Ruritan Club as the catering location and has rented a former cow pasture on Weaver Road to park trucks and trailers.
Screaming Spirit Productions started filming the second season of “Banshee” in the Charlotte region a month ago and will shoot through September, said Aaron Syrett, director of the N.C. Film Office.
When scripts are delivered a week or two before filming, it’s up to location scouts to find settings that match the writers’ vision for the show, Syrett said.
Scouts often venture out to find locations within a certain radius of Charlotte, he said. If they have trouble finding something that meets their needs, they can call Syrett’s office for suggestions.
“We got them here,” Syrett said. “After that, the decisions are up to them.”
“Banshee” has created about 180 jobs in the region, he said.
The series premiered on Cinemax in January as part of the station’s drive to develop original content. The series was renewed for a 10-episode second season, which is set to premiere in 2014.
The first episode of the 2013 season is available on Youtube, although it comes with a warning that some content is not appropriate for everyone.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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