Behind the scenes of American Gothic

CBS' new summer murder mystery series is being shot close to home

TORONTO, N.Y. (WROC-TV) - News 8 recently got up-close and behind the scenes of American Gothic – a summer series CBS expects to deliver gripping drama, starring Virginia Madsen and produced by Stephen Spielberg's company.

American Gothic is a CBS murder mystery set in an affluent Boston suburb, but in reality, most of the show was shot not far from Rochester, in Toronto.

"It's really become the place to be, it's alive with it here,” said actress Stephanie Leonidas, who plays Sophie Hawthorne. “But what I like is there is so much going on in the film world here. It's very much like London – it’s not the entire city, it's kind of separate to that, and it's a really chilled out relaxed city."

John Kucko visited Cinespace Studios in Toronto, where more and more films and primetime series are being shot.

The spacious studio is now home to a full-scale hospital wing, which serves as the setting for the 13 episode murder mystery. But it’s still a movie set – open the right door, and you’ll find yourself in a construction zone.

"Obviously the show is set in Boston, but what I found, in Toronto – it's my first time shooting here – just being here a couple of weeks, you can already see how versatile the city as,” said actor Elliot Knight, who plays Officer Brady. “It offers you so many great looks and feels and locations, and definitely for the tone of our show that we're going for, which is so structured by the infrastructure and population of Boston, you really have that here, and a lot of cement but also mixed in with powerful shiny new apartment buildings. The whole look of downtown is such a vibrant mix of different periods and cultures."

CBS was tight-lipped on how the story unfolds, but it centers around a wealthy Boston family, whose patriarch may or may not be linked to a series of unsolved murders.

"I've only been given things episode by episode, so everything is new to us. We have no idea who the killer is,” Leonidas said. “We have no idea who's linked up to the killer at the end, so it's keeping us on our toes and that feel really comes through the way it's shot, the lighting. So we're on that journey at the moment. You can't really think about the end yet because, we're so far at the beginning."

"We all love the story. Corrine, the creator, is fantastic,” Knight said. “She's made a very compelling, very gripping, honest, and real set of characters and relationships within the family. Everyone is just as excited as everyone else who will watch to find out what happens and where the story is going to go."

American Gothic debuts here on CBS on Wednesday, June 22nd at 10:00 p.m.


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