Wauconda, Island Lake in spotlight for new Amazon Prime series
Wauconda and Island Lake were in the spotlight this week as filming for a pending Amazon Prime series took center stage.
"Lightyears," a science fiction story starring J.K. Simmons and Sissy Spacek, shot scenes at Wauconda Pharmacy, 222 S. Main St., and Island Foods, 223 E. Route 176.
Film crews arrived early, and spectators turned out to catch a glimpse of Hollywood in their backyards.
"It was such a joy to see people happy again," said Terry Bruner, whose Wauconda Pharmacy was transformed to "Hildbreth Pharmacy" for the scenes. "It wasn't only good for the pharmacy; it was good for Wauconda."
Jessica LoBue, an actress and Island Lake resident, was one of more than a dozen extras who posed as shoppers at Island Foods.
LoBue, who's also appeared as an extra on "Chicago Med" and "Chicago Fire," among other credits, said she was proud to be working on a project in her hometown.
"When I was a kid walking through this very store, if you told me in 20 years I'd be here but doing something I've always dreamed of being when I grew up, I wouldn't have believed it," she posted on Facebook.
The pending series stars Simmons and Spacek as a married couple who years before discovered a chamber buried in their backyard that leads to a strange, deserted planet, according to the IMDb website.
LoBue said the production moved to a Woodstock house on Wednesday and is expected to continue through October in the McHenry County area.
"It was stressful but a lot of fun," said Bruner, whose dad bought the pharmacy in 1974. "I told my wife, I wish every day was like this."
It wasn't Wauconda's first brush with celebrity. Phil's Beach on Bangs Lake was featured in the classic 1980 film "The Blues Brothers."
And the village gained national attention over its name's similarity to that of "Wakanda," the fictional utopian African nation featured in the 2018 Marvel Studios film "Black Panther."