by Lucy Leitner
In a bizarre twist to Pittsburgh’s phenomenal Hollywood season thus far, one project has been overlooked. And it involves werewolves. Though I am a firm believer that werewolves are more more intriguing than fracking, the big-budget, star-studded feature films Promised Land and Out of the Furnace have stolen the spotlight from TV series Hemlock Grove. Based on the book by Charleroi native Brian McGreevy, the series is set in the outskirts of Pittsburgh which have been severely lacking in vicious lycanthropes for decades.
There are many reasons why werewolves may have been overlooked– the reigning popularity of zombies, the fact that there have been so few good werewolf movies, or possibly even irreparable damage inflicted by the Twilight series. However, one of the few not lame werewolves in pop culture today, Alcide of True Blood, is played by Pittsburgh’s own Joe Manganiello, which should have raised some awareness at least in this region. Whatever the reason, it should be noted that a werewolf TV series is coming to Pittsburgh.
Netflix has ordered 13 episodes of the series for its 2013 lineup available to streaming customers. That first season, like other literary horror shows True Blood and Dexter, will cover McGreevy’s novel about werewolves, vampires, murder, and high school.
With a $40 million budget, it is Pittsburgh’s biggest TV project yet. And some big, albeit niche names, are attached to it. Torture porn director and “Bear Jew” Eli Roth will direct the series and serve as executive producer, ensuring excessive violence with short bursts of witty dialogue. Bill Skarsgard, the son of Stellan and brother of Alexander, will star as will X-Men‘s Famke Janssen as members of a powerful, apparently Scandinavian, Pittsburgh family.