Some of Ogle County’s natural landscapes are being used as location shots for HBO’s new series “Lovecraft Country.”
Scenes are being shot this week at the White Pines State Park with more filming planned along a section of U.S. 52 in western Ogle County next week.
“We chose that area for its topography ... we needed something with an open landscape,” location manager Wes Hagan said last week. “We thought it would work well with the show, and that’s why we’re here.”
The crew came to Ogle County from Chicago, where they were filming scenes in the Pilsen neighborhood in the Lower West Side.
“Lovecraft Country” is a horror drama set in the 1950s about a black man, 22-year-old Army veteran Atticus Turner, who drives across the country searching for his missing father with his Uncle George—publisher of “The Safe Negro Travel Guide”— and his childhood friend Letitia, encountering racism and the evils of Jim Crow America as well as malevolent spirits.
White Pines State Park concessionaire Beth George said she received a call from HBO earlier this year about shooting at the park.
“The book is written and based out of Chicago,” said George. “We, luckily, are the southern most stand of white pines. That’s how they found our little space.”
George said she was excited about benefits local businesses will see throughout the week’s filming.
“It’s good for the entire area. Over 100 people are coming in and they eat, they shop, and they buy gas,” she said. “It’s great exposure and they spend money.”
According to a letter sent to about a half a dozen residents by HBO and Random Productions location managers Hagan and Greg Chiodo: Route 52 west of Polo from West Canada Road to Freeport Road, and West Stewart Road from North Eagle Creek Road to Route 52, were to be closed earlier this week while scenes were being shot on Canada and at the intersection of West Stewart and Brookville roads.
However, due to an accident with one of the movie’s stunt cars in Elburn over the weekend, that shooting has been delayed until early next week.
Some scenes will also be shot on Brookville Road at West Stewart and West Canada at North Eagle Creek. Only area residents will be allowed access during those times.
White Pines Resort, the restaurant, cabins, and gift shop located inside White Pines State Park, was closed from 3 to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 3 to 9 p.m. Friday, according to a press release from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
Grey Squirrel, Red Squirrel, Whispering Pines, Lookout, and a portion of Sunset trail, all on the northeast section of the park near the lodge, were also closed, but all other trails, picnic areas, shelters and the campground remained open.
Film crews and trailers were staged in the parking lots at Spectrum Preferred Meats, the White Pines Skating Center, and KI Tracks, all located on Pines Road near the park.
Staging crews could also be seen along Forest Road, located just east of the park, and in an adjoining field.
At the request of HBO, the IDNR refused to confirm the closure was for filming purposes, while the Illinois Department of Transportation would confirm only that a production company had taken out a permit to close Route 52.
“Lovecraft Country,” based on the 2016 novel by Matt Ruff, stars Jonathan Majors as Atticus Black, Courtney B. Vance as Uncle George, and Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Letticia. It’s produced by Jordan Peele, who wrote and directed the Oscar-winning horror film “Get Out,” and “Lost” creator J.J. Abrams, among others.