By Krys Estes
A television show filming in Wilmington wrapped, leaving the city with no active production until the network that produced the series pilot decides whether to schedule a full season of the show.
The drama “Good Behavior” filmed its pilot episode — the first episode of a show used by executives at TV networks to decide whether or not to schedule a full season — in several locations throughout Wilmington during September and October.
“The pilot went great,” said Melissa Maher, “Good Behavior” extras casting assistant. “One of the best cast and crews I’ve ever worked with.”
Produced by the TNT network, the pilot is based on the Letty Dobesh series of books by Blake Crouch. Michelle Dockery of “Downton Abbey” fame stars as Dobesh, a con artist and thief who is just out of prison when she uncovers a hitman’s plot to kill a man’s wife.
TNT has made no commitment to produce the series, as executives will first review the pilot episode.
“We have not received a timeline for pickup yet,” said Matthew Gardea, a TNT representative. “It goes through a ton of approvals and research before a pickup announcement will be ordered or not. If it is picked up, then the pilot will be the first episode that will air and they will go back into production. We have a long time to wait until the decision is made.”
Wilmington hasn’t hosted a film production since the CBS drama “Under the Dome” was cancelled in August after its third season.
“It’s unfortunate because just this week I’ve traveled to Charleston twice and Virginia once for work when I’m used to it all being at home in Wilmington,” said Carl Lowery, a “Good Behavior” background extra.
But with a new $30 million film grant program as part of the recently enacted state budget, Wilmington will have additional resources to lure productions to the area. “Good Behavior” received a $1.25 million grant from the fund that expired this year. The grant can fund up to 25 percent of the production’s costs.
“Interest [in Wilmington as a location for productions]is strong going forward,” said Johnny Griffin, director of the Wilmington Regional Film Commission. “I am currently talking with projects for early next year.”
The recent pilot production gave the region’s film workers their first opportunity to find local work since “Under the Dome’s” cancellation, allowing for a reunion for some cast and crew members.
“It was great to see the same crew on this production once again,” said Dennis Rollison, a “Good Behavior” background extra. “The cast was very friendly, like all of the cast I’ve interacted with. I’m praying for more productions as it will generate more sales for local businesses and will create more jobs for our community.”
Rollison said filming creates jobs for the community and, as extras make a little more than minimum wage, every dollar matters and means something.
“I have my fingers crossed this one gets picked up as it looks like a great show,” Gardea said.