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Hulu pilot Locke and Key being filmed in Lunenburg

A production team has been busy at work in Lunenburg since Tuesday shooting a TV pilot based on a graphic novel by Stephen King's son Joe Hill. (ANDREW RANKIN /THE CHRONICLE HERALD)
A production team has been busy at work in Lunenburg since Tuesday shooting a TV pilot based on a graphic novel by Stephen King's son Joe Hill. (ANDREW RANKIN /THE CHRONICLE HERALD)

The producer and director behind the recent Hollywood blockbuster movie, IT, are shooting their newest project in Lunenburg with a cast that includes actors Danny Glover, Frances O’Connor and IT star Owen Teague.

The brother-sister tandem of Andy Muschietti and Barbara Muschietti are among a production crew leading a pilot adaptation of Locke and Key — a bestselling horror-fantasy graphic novel series authored by artist Gabriel Rodriguez and writer Joe Hill, the son of legendary horror writer Stephen King. Hill also wrote the pilot’s script.

“We were looking for very particular aesthetics for a fictional town in Maine, and Lunenburg has been perfect,” said producer Barbara Muschietti, who resides in Los Angeles. “We wanted the seaside, a beautiful small town. That’s what Lunenburg is in our eyes.”

The production was in its third of four days of shooting on Thursday. The town centre, graveyard and gazebo, as well as the Ovens Natural Park are among some of the local film locations.

A production crew and cast of about 70 arrived from Toronto, where the pilot is also being filmed, on Monday. Several locals have since been hired to assist with the production. A few of those will fill background acting roles, said Muschietti.

None of the stars were available on Thursday. But Glover is expected to make his appearance on set in Lunenburg on Friday.

The pilot is being shot for Hulu, a U.S. subscription video on-demand service. Muschietti is optimistic that once Hulu sees what her production team comes up with they’ll get the go-ahead to produce a 10-episode TV series. If that happens, she’s expecting word soon, they’ll be back in Lunenburg for more shooting.

It doesn’t hurt that the pilot’s showrunner, Carlton Cuse, is one of the best in the business. The American screenwriter, producer and former co-showrunner of the hit TV series Lost recently signed a multi-year, multimillion-dollar deal with ABC studios to develop projects across the ABC network.

Other notable actors slated for the pilot include Jackson Robert Scott and Megan Charpentier, who were also in IT.

It should be quite the pilot. The story centres around three siblings who move to their ancestral home in Maine (Lunenburg) after their father is murdered. It turns out the house they move into has magical keys giving them all kinds of powers and abilities. Drama is drummed up by a demon who wants those keys, stopping at nothing to get them.

“It’s an incredible graphic novel, incredible script by Joe Hill,” said Muschietti. “It’s a very exciting endeavour for us.”

So far Muschietti has loved what she’s seen of Nova Scotia. It’s the third time she’s been here.

“I absolutely love it here. The first time I came the weather was so amazing. We came through the golf course and it was one of the most beautiful things we’ve ever seen. I’m looking to get a house here. It’s ridiculous.

“I’m surprised how nice people have been to us, open arms and graceful, excited to have this project coming. Sometimes you shoot in places where people don’t want you there and that sucks.”

Lindsey Springer, the pilot’s executive producer, said they settled on Lunenburg after some investigation and the picturesque harbourside town turned out to be everything she had hoped for.

“We knew we weren’t going to be able to shoot in Massachusetts,” said Springer. “A few producers thought we should check out Nova Scotia with all the TV shows being shot here.

“We talked to the film commission, saw a few photos of the area, did a scout and fell in love with it. We thought, this has to be the place. It has been.”

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