TNT drama films in Norco

It was between breakfast and lunch when a Turner NOLA film crew walked into the Sub Express and Apple Street Diner in Norco.

“It was perfect timing,” said Adam Bragdon, an owner of the restaurant at 26 Apple St. Having been in the film business earlier in life, Bragdon readily recognized what this group of nearly 10 people wanted.

“They were walking through the place seeing what the place would look like through the eye of the lens,” he said. “I gave them permission to roam the entire premises.”

And they did.

They fell in love with the rug with a photo of an old cabin on it, saying they were looking for that exact location in the swamp.

“They told me to stop working, and the location manager shook my hand and asked if they could film here,” Bragdon said.

He couldn’t believe his luck.

By Friday, the crew arrived and began shooting scenes for the TNT pilot series, “Deadlier Than the Male.”Production began in early May in New Orleans.

According to imdb.com, the series follows a trio of characters, each with a mysterious and troubling past: a young woman who once looked into the eyes of a dangerous killer, a former serial predator desperate to find redemption and a grieving mother obsessed with finding her missing daughter. As each of them is pushed to the edge, the truth about their pasts and motives grows ever murkier, blurring the lines between victim and perpetrator.

The series will feature actress Amy Brenneman of HBO’s “The Leftovers” and “Judging Amy.”

She will co-star with Enrique Murciano, of the Netflix “Bloodline” series, and Lily Rabe, known for her multiple roles on “American Horror Story.”

The Sub Express location would be one of several in the area that Turner NOLA Productions filmed at last weekend. Other film sites included the 100 block of Good Hope Street, and 115 Diamond St., both also in Norco.

At the Sub Express, Bragdon said the restaurant walls, that had just gotten a fresh coat of paint, were repainted to “look old and junky,” pictures were hung on them and lighting changed to reflect an older period. The crew filmed Friday night.

“I got to see everything behind the scenes,” he said.

After the filming, they took their props and returned Monday to restore the restaurant interior. The exterior glass had been painted to make the place look like it sold fried chicken, which Bragdon said he wanted to keep.

The entire experience was a “blast from the past” for him.Bragdon had started in film in high school and stayed in the business for eight years, working his way up to “first director” – or almost.

He recalled waiting on his next production, a movie called “The Rules of the Dead,” when he learned the script had been sold and he was out of  work.

That was it for him.

“I went to the real world,” he said of tiring over worrying when his next job was coming. “I left the land of make believe.”

Bragdon works at an oil refinery now and bought the Sub Express restaurant for his wife, whose chicken potpies are made and sold out every Thursday.

Despite his past with the film industry, he considered the shoot a complete blessing. He thoroughly enjoyed being with a film crew again and joyfully recounted every technical detail about filming.

“There was a large crew that came through,” he said. “My whole building was engulfed with people – it was just fun.”

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