As two projects tidy up at EUE Screen Gems Studios in Wilmington, another is in prep mode.
Both Swamp Thing and independent film Uncle Frank have left only skeleton crews here to finish accounting and other final tasks, Wilmington Regional Film Commissioner Johnny Griffin said Friday.
Moving into the Wilmington studio complex is Reprisal, a series that will be streamed on Hulu. Advance crews are settling into their offices and building sets. The project plans to begin shooting in June, according to Bill Vassar, executive vice president of EUE Screen Gems in Wilmington.
Reprisal shot its pilot here last fall, and was subsequently given the go-ahead by Hulu to film nine additional episodes.
“Most of these streaming shows have 10 episodes,” Vassar said Friday. “I was not surprised when Swamp Thing was cut back to 10, because that was the original number. You can’t start a whole new story arc without knowing whether you’re going to be renewed for another season.”
Originally scheduled for 13 episodes, the project was cut to 10 episodes in April when DC Universe decided to assess the viability of the project and, possibly, of its streaming service.
Reprisal, whose storyline concerns a glamorous woman who goes after a gang of gearheads who attack her and leave her for dead, plans to shoot in the Wilmington area until October, according to Vassar.
And after that?
“We do have some projects we’re talking to,” Griffin said Friday. “They are still deciding where to go, but we are in the running. But it’s totally out of our hands right now.”
Griffin likened the studios’ decision-making process to having a lot of pots on the stove, stirring them occasionally to see how they are progressing, and finding the one that tastes the best.
Meanwhile, Swamp Thing will premiere on DC Universe May 31, airing a new episode each week.
Both Swamp Thing and Uncle Frank had a major impact on several local businesses. Sabrina Davis, owner of Port City Signs & Graphics, got plenty of business from both productions. She hopes her company will reprise its role with Reprisal, since it provided graphic materials for the pilot.
“We have worked with the film industry for years and have good, solid relationships with the studios. We have the expertise they need,” she said Friday. “We can recreate their design, hit their colors, make things look old.”
Typically, the project art directors send anything from concepts to samples to finished designs to Port City Signs & Graphics, whose staff turns those into set décor, car wraps or landscape elements.
“We’ve been working on ceilings, walls and floors, and we can do it without breaking the bank,” Davis added. “For Uncle Frank, we did canvas art – lots of art. They would send us the [image] file and we would put it on the [fabric].”
Frequent requests from Swamp Thing were for sheriff car wraps, boat graphics, signs for hospitals and government buildings.
“We can turn things around fast,” Davis said. “They will call us in the morning and we have it ready by 4.”