Salisbury musician spots himself as Ichabod

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 19, 2013

SALISBURY — Jeremy Vess wasn’t just looking for Salisbury when he watched the “Sleepy Hollow” pilot Monday night.
The local musician was also trying to spot himself.
Vess spent three days as the body double and stand-in for Ichabod Crane while “Sleepy Hollow” filmed in Salisbury and Charlotte in March. He spotted himself three times in the supernatural thriller, Fox’s highest rated drama premiere in seven years.
Vess said he portrayed Ichabod in the scene where Ichabod and the Headless Horseman, both mortally wounded, fall on the battlefield, their blood mixing to bind them together until they awaken 250 years later.
Vess said when they filmed that scene on the “Homeland” soundstage in Charlotte, where most of his scenes were shot, he fell alone and laid next to a dummy.
The lanky guitar player and folk singer said he scored the job as British star Tom Mison’s body double because they are about the same size, with similar builds and facial features.
“Whatever Tom Mison wore, they’d either bring over a replica or in some scenes, I’d just have to wear his clothes, as in, we’d share,” Vess said.
Vess recognized his feet and legs clad in Revolutionary War-era boots in the dream sequence where Ichabod talks to his dead wife. As Ichabod is pulled out of the dream, the camera cuts to his boots — covering Vess’ feet.
He also portrayed Ichabod for a brief moment in the scene where the hero carries the Headless Horseman’s skull in a glass jar, shot at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Salisbury.
Although it came at the end of the show, that was the first scene Vess shot as a body double. To be honest, Vess admits, he didn’t even know which character he was playing at the time.
“I was clueless,” he said.

After waiting for hours in the middle of the night, directors summoned Vess and had him carry the skull.
“When I saw that I was holding the head, I thought I was the Horseman. There were other extras there, and they kept asking me what I was,” Vess said. “I kept saying, ‘I think I’m the Horseman because I think I found my head.’
They said, ‘No, we’re pretty sure you’re Ichabod.’”
His fellow extras were right, and Vess is hoping to spot himself as Ichabod in future episodes of “Sleepy Hollow,” which will continue to air at 9 p.m. Mondays.
“I think it’s possible, if there are more flashbacks,” he said.
“Sleepy Hollow” grabbed 10 million viewers, making it Fox’s highest rated fall drama premiere since the police drama “Standoff” in 2006.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.