WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The streets in downtown Wilmington’s Brooklyn Arts District were lined with No Parking markers, lighting rigs and other equipment, the tell-tale signs that filming of Swamp Thing is finally underway.
The series, which will air exclusively on DC Universe, began filming Wednesday with plans to continue through the next several weeks.
The show about a humanoid swamp monster almost didn’t come to pass., at least as far as being filmed in Wilmington.
When Hurricane Florence left behind widespread damage and dominated national headlines for more than a week, EUE/Screen Gems Executive Vice President Bill Vasser said show executives in Los Angeles began to worry.
“They got a little gun-shy when they saw what was happening here through the media,” Vasser said.
He added, however, that none of the facilities the production was planning to use saw more than minimal damage. The buildings where Swamp Thing has its major sets are rated for 120 to 140 mile per hour winds, Vasser said.
That, along with multiple meetings showing executives that downtown Wilmington for the most part escaped the worst of Florence’s destruction, helped keep the show in town.
“When things kind of calmed down and they saw that their offices were dry, that their assets, their stuff of the stages and props set deck that they’d been assembling was not the least bit damaged," Vasser said, "they saw that both financially and creatively it was best to stay in Wilmington.”
Economically, he said, that’s a win for the area.
Swamp Thing is expected to impart more than $55 million into Wilmington’s economy this year, Vasser said, with half of that being wages for local staff and crew.
“It’s not comparable to any television show that we’ve done,” he said, because no show of theirs has ever spent that much in such a short time.
Combine that with promising information about Reprisal, a show which filmed a pilot episode in downtown Wilmington in October, and Vasser said 2019 is shaping up to be a promising time.
“Right now, things are healthy," he said. "Certain things could be better, but next year’s going to be a good year compared to the last couple of years for us.”