Much of the first season takes place at Wednesday’s boarding school in New England, Nevermore Academy. The exteriors were filmed in Romania’s Cantacuzino Castle, a neo-Romanian structure completed in 1911, and supplemented with visual effects.
“The castle had a great central turret, which gave it a kind of Addams Family premise that was like a reference to that original house,” says production designer Mark Scruton. “It’s really just the existing frontage and then the little piece of the courtyard that’s real, and everything else is added and expanded, which ultimately served us well because it meant we could build our own world.”
A critical change to the structure involved the use of CG to give it the recognizable roof of the Addams Family residence. “We wanted to give it a silhouette that gave it a sense of familiarity with the Addams Family world,” says Scruton. “And if you look at the building itself, it’s actually very different. It’s heavy stone and gothic and gargoyles. It’s not the kind of neo-Victorian (style) that Charles Addams drew, but it has the same feel and language. So you know you are in that same world without it being the same.
Some of Nevermore’s interiors, including director Weems’ office, were built in a dilapidated villa in Bucharest. The production design team’s responsibilities also include creating Jericho, which in the story is the New England town in close proximity to Nevermore. In total, the series was shot in 70 locations and six soundstages. Scruton says, “To get an authentic Tim Burton TV show, you have to be able to build big sets.”
This story first appeared in a standalone June issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.