New Pilot in Chicago This Month
November 11, 2016 by Mike McNamara
There is a new pilot gearing up to shoot in Chicago this month, helmed by two celebrated stalwarts of the city's renowned theatre community. Actor Elizabeth Laidlaw and playwright Mia McCullough are teaming up to co-direct and co-produce the pilot THE HAVEN, shooting this month and eyeing an early 2017 release.
"THE HAVEN is based on my experiences working at a domestic violence shelter," explained co-director McCullough. "I always knew it was a killer vehicle for a series --- a TV show has never been set in a shelter before --- but before ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK came out I wasn't really sure it was marketable. Thankfully OITNB proved that people will watch a show that features mostly women and people of color. I know it sounds like a potentially depressing topic, but there is a whole lot of hilarity and weirdness going down at a DV shelter."
As for what this pilot could mean to Chicago and to McCullough/Laidlaw... "We love that so many shows are shooting in Chicago now, but nothing is written or produced here, and Chicago actors are mostly used as day players," commented McCullough. "We have unbelievably talented artists here, and we want to stop the talent migration to the coasts by employing actors, writers, and directors from Chicago in Chicago. In this day and age, there's no reason why everything needs to happen in LA. It's a matter of proving that it can be done, and hoping others will follow in our footsteps."
"I've always felt that it's important to tell stories about women and their struggles, and THE HAVEN gives us the opportunity to employ so many artists. We're really excited to have a predominantly female crew for the pilot, as well as the cast. And four of our six actors are people of color."
McCullough closed with a look back at the historic happenings this past Tuesday, "After the election results this week, it feels that much more important for us to tell these stories, to validate the experiences of the disregarded in our society. So while I'm demoralized by the election results, I'm really proud of what we're doing."
THE HAVEN plans to film throughout the Chicagoland area, primarily in the neighborhoods of Andersonville and Lincoln Square as well as the neighbor to the north, Evanston.
Mike McNamara is the Co-Founder of The Midwest Independent Film Festival, www.midwestfilm.org. Mike pays his rent as an actor in Chicago in theatre, commercials, television and film. More from Mac at www.findmac.com.