The Amazon Prime series will be filming in Woodstock next week
The historic downtown plaza in Woodstock will host a film crew for a new Amazon Prime series called “Lightyears” later this month starring JK Simmons and Sissy Spacek.
Other parts of McHenry County have already been or may soon be shot for potential use on the show, according to local officials. Last week, the show’s crews were in Island Lake and Wauconda, filming a drugstore and grocery store there.
The show’s crew will film June 23 in the plaza, then June 28 in downtown Woodstock, again in the plaza and also potentially on Calhoun Street near the plaza, said Assistant Jane Howie. executive of the city to the general manager and the mayor’s offices. The crew could also return to the area next month, Howie said, although details about that are still being worked out.
The hours when teams will use public spaces during the day are fluid, Howie said, and may require parts of the plaza to be closed. City officials will be on hand to help with these closures and the flow of traffic and to assist the crew.
Additionally, McHenry County Deputy Administrator Scott Hartman said an area near the intersection of Highways 14 and 120 in unincorporated Woodstock had already been shot by the crew and some shootings had occurred or soon would be along a stretch of Cherry Valley Road off Bull Valley Road.
Local officials are delighted that the area has been chosen to be part of the production.
“Anytime we can showcase McHenry County, we’re in it,” Hartman said.
This is the second time since 2018 that a television series airing on a major cable channel or streaming service such as Amazon Prime has selected parts of McHenry County and Woodstock for filming. That year, part of HBO’s “Lovecraft Country,” which debuted in August, was filmed in Woodstock, Hebron and Marengo.
Nick Rafferty, the Chicago-based stage manager who helped bring “Lovecraft Country” to McHenry County to film the shots used in its pilot episode, said filmmakers were increasingly interested in Illinois and starting to look further from the city of Chicago, thus increasing the chances that small towns and villages will be noticed by producers.
“In terms of filming in McHenry County, what I would say is that as Illinois becomes more attractive to filmmakers, producers are casting a wider net beyond the city of Chicago. And they explore all that the state has to offer in terms of different looks and places to put the story, ”said Rafferty, who also worked on the“ Fargo ”FX series, part of which was tour to Elgin.
The HBO and FX shows, Rafferty said, “researched Americana in a way that places like Woodstock and McHenry County and other rural Illinois areas are really having a dime a dozen.”
Howie said the team behind “Lightyears” was looking for a setting similar to that of cities in the northeast of the country.
“Apparently they loved the place so much. It was really conducive to exactly what their vision was,” Howie said. “So as soon as they came here they were like, ‘Yeah, this is the place.'”
The brick architecture of downtown Woodstock buildings and its cobbled streets, as well as its association with movie history to appear in the 1993 hit “Groundhog Day” with Bill Murray, are magnet for videographers. , said the Illinois-based site directors.
“As far as what McHenry County has to offer, it’s definitely small town charm. They have a lot of those classic places like Woodstock where the roads are still paved and the buildings still date back to a century. certain period, “said Daniel Marcus, a Chicago-based manager who helped bring a team to McHenry County to film a Jeep commercial featuring Murray that debuted on the Super Bowl LIV 2020 airing. , which coincided with Groundhog Day on February 2 of last year.
The county’s location within driving distance of two urban centers in Milwaukee and Chicago also gives it an appeal for large video projects, Marcus said.
“You can attract great talent and be able to work in the right place. It’s a big draw for the big studios to come here and do that kind of thing,” Marcus said.