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    19 “Mare Of Easttown” Behind-The-Scenes Facts Every Fan Needs To Know

    Here's what went into the making of the show.

    The finale of the hit miniseries Mare of Easttown aired this Sunday, bringing a jaw-dropping and satisfactory end to this HBO crime drama.

    Mare of Easttown key art
    HBO

    The show is a murder mystery set in a quiet, sleepy town that is tranquil on the surface but bubbling underneath. The town witnesses adultery, drug abuse, prostitution, stalkers, kidnappings, and, of course, murder, which puts the spotlight on our protagonist, Detective Sgt. Marianne Sheehan, aka Lady Hawk, aka Mare.

    Academy Award winner and acting juggernaut Kate Winslet features in the titular role as a gloomy, stoic, wisecracking, emotionally reclusive, divorced, middle-aged cop mom who is also a grandma to a 4-year-old boy.

    Close-up of Kate Winslet as Mare
    Sarah Shatz / HBO

    The show follows Mare as she tries to solve the murder of a young single mother and the possibly related disappearances of two other young girls.

    Supporting her in the investigations is Detective Colin Zabel (Evan Peters) while Mare jumps through hoops to prevent her personal life from falling apart.

    Evan Peters and Kate Winslet in a bar
    Sarah Shatz / HBO

    In addition to being a murder mystery, the show is a profound family dramaIt is these qualities that have led many to compare Mare of Easttown to other TV series like Broadchurch, Happy Valley, and Top of the Lake.

    Let's dive into what went into the making of the show.

    1. There is a real Easttown.

    Journalist Laura Pullman, who visited Easttown, with two police officers of Easttown
    The Times UK / Via thetimes.co.uk

    The titular town does exist in Chester County, Pennsylvania, but is unlike its small-screen counterpart. It is an upscale, very quiet, leafy, and law-abiding suburb where nothing eventful seems to take place. A journalist who visited the town found that "[t]here is so little crime that the police station has only two cells — and one is used for storage." And guess what? There's no mayor of Easttown, although there are lots of mares, as the area is famous for the Devon Horse Show.

    2. But most of the show was not actually shot in Easttown.

    Mare putting Cheez Whiz on cheeseballs
    HBO

    Except for a few scenes, the show was shot in nearby Coatesville, Aston, and Drexel Hill. According to screenwriter Brad Ingelsby, "We did shoot some of the show in Easttown, [but] the Easttown in the show is really an amalgam of some of the towns in the area." He tried to capture the blue-collar vibe that permeates the neighboring towns of the real Easttown. The other real-life locations where shooting was done, according to Ingelsby, are "the VFW bar in Sellersville, Girard College, Wissahickon Valley Park, and Pastorius Park in Chestnut Hill."

    3. The actual Easttown police helped Ingelsby enhance the show's verisimilitude.

    A screengrab from Mare of Easttown showing Mare and the chief of police
    HBO

    David Obzud, chief of the Easttown Police Department, was an adviser on the set. Ingelsby wanted the show to look authentic and hence contacted Obzud. In Obzud's own words, "They reached out to us, and Brad Ingelsby asked to come in. He came in and asked would I mind looking at the script. He had a lot of interest in procedures. 'What about this? Is this what you do? What would you do with this?' He just wanted to learn. He wanted to get everything right." Well, given the show's success, he did get it right.

    4. The show marks Winslet's first time as an executive producer.

    Kate Winslet talking about herself reading the script, saying, "I sat up till the early hours of the morning"
    HBO

    This is the first time Winslet has found herself in the role of executive producer. She was totally fascinated by the script and kept reading it all through the night. Winslet joined the cast about 48 hours later. She even lived for a month in the area where the series is set to “get a sense of the place.”

    5. The show's creator grew up there. (Well, almost there!)

    The show creator Brad Ingelsby grew up nearby
    Margo Moritz / Via phillymag.com

    Ingelsby, who is also the show's creator, didn't grow up in Easttown, but he was raised in the nearby Chester County town of Berwyn. Although the character of Mare isn't based on anyone in particular, Ingelsby drew on his experiences growing up to add characters to the show. For example, his great uncle, a priest, was a regular visitor to the family home and used to drink Manhattan cocktails — "as Father Dan Hastings does with Mare’s mother, Helen." Ingelsby was also the Easttown Library’s 2020 Barbara Robinson Author Visit speaker.

    6. This is the second time that Winslet has appeared in a TV series.

    Kate Winslet under an umbrella in Mare of Easttown
    HBO

    The first time Winslet appeared in a TV series was in 2011, when she appeared in HBO's miniseries Mildred Pierce. Stephen King reviewed it (he liked it; just didn't like the length).

    7. The show was influenced by Broadchurch...and other series.

    Cast of the British TV series Broadchurch
    ITV / Via images.app.goo.gl

    Since Mare of Easttown debuted, the one show it has been consistently and positively compared to is ITV's Broadchurch. That series also follows two cops, played by Olivia Colman and David Tennant, as they try to solve a murder in a seaside town in Dorset, England. Ingelsby confirmed that influence and also mentioned The Killing, True Detective, Breaking Away, and Boogie Nights as inspirations for the series.

    8. There's a lot of local food product placement.

    One of the many times Mare is seen with Wawa coffee
    HBO

    In Ingelsby's words, "Mare stops at Wawa every morning on her way to the precinct, and she drinks Wawa coffee in the show quite a bit." Mare also drinks, in every episode, Rolling Rock beer, a local favorite. Interestingly, not all the characters drink Rolling Rock; instead they drink Yuengling, another local favorite. According to the props master, it was predecided "which [characters] drank Yuengling, which characters drank Rolling Rock.

    9. Evan Peters was shootingWandaVision at the same time.

    Colin Zabel (Evan Peters) clinking Rolling Rock beer with Mare (Kate Winslet)
    HBO

    Peters was shooting simultaneously for another big project, WandaVision. He would travel to Atlanta for WandaVision and then to Philly for Mare of Easttown. He explained, "They started shooting simultaneously and then the pandemic hit, and they naturally broke simultaneously, and then they picked back up simultaneously, which I couldn’t believe." He watched The First 48 to prepare for his role as Colin.

    10. Winslet hid in the trunk of a car during an intimate scene.

    The scene where Kate Winslet hid in the trunk of a car
    HBO

    As the show's executive producer, Winslet always made sure that everyone was comfortable. There's a scene in Episode 4 that happens in a car where Mare's daughter, Siobhan (Angourie Rice), shares an intimate moment with her girlfriend. Because the scene didn't have any nudity, an intimacy coordinator was not involved, but Winslet sensed that Rice was uncomfortable. Winslet described the experience: “I ended up being in the boot of the car. I knew it would make them feel better to have that one person who would be able to put their hand up and say, ‘Actually, we need to cut now; is everyone feeling OK?’”

    11. This was the first time Winslet had held a gun.

    Mare (Kate Winslet) holding a gun in the miniseries
    HBO

    The character of Mare is unlike any of Winslet's previous roles, and none of her previous roles required wielding a gun. Winslet told EW, "You know what was even more shocking than the fact that I'd never held a gun was how shocked everyone was that I'd never held a gun." Well, the only time she held a gun, she put it to good use.

    12. Winslet aced the Delco accent.

    Winslet's dialect coach, Susan Hegarty
    HBO

    Once the first episode aired, what got attention from many viewers and reviewers was Winslet's command of the "Delco" (Delaware County) accent. Winslet confessed, “It is absolutely up there amongst the top two hardest dialects I’ve ever done.” To ace the accent, Winslet trained with dialect coach Susan Hegarty. Her grasp of the accent stood out so much that Saturday Night Live parodied the show in the the skit "Murdur Durdur," in which Kate McKinnon stands in for Winslet.

    13. Winslet's hair was deliberately done badly.

    Mare in one of her disheveled looks
    HBO

    Throughout the series, Mare and many other characters wear a disheveled, just-got-out-of-bed look. Well, according to the show's hairstylist Lawrence Davis, "When I came on board, I was told bed hair for everyone. I was basically told that everybody has bed hair." Since the show is set in a small working-class town, none of the characters were supposed to look "over the top."

    14. This is only the second time Winslet and Guy Pearce have worked together.

    Scene where Mare (Kate Winslet meets Richard (Guy Pearce).
    HBO

    Winslet's first foray into the world of TV shows, Mildred Pierce, was also the first time she got a chance to work with childhood crush Guy Pearce, who played her love interest, Richard, in Mare of Easttown. Winslet, who said that she was "completely obsessed with him" as a kid, explained, "It was that bad, and so when I did work with Guy in 2010 on Mildred Pierce, I had to come clean about all of this. I had to say, 'Look, I've been in love with you since I was 11. And we share the same birthday, which I've also known since I was 11 years old.'" For Mare of Easttown, she phoned Pearce to tell him about the character she wanted him to play — and Pearce was in.

    15. On the set, it was testing, testing, and more testing.

    Shooting crew all masked up
    HBO

    Shooting for the series was shut down on March 13, 2020, and resumed in mid-September. Because the show was shot amid a raging pandemic, the cast and crew had to be super cautious. According to director Craig Zobel, they "had 10,000 tests over the course of the shoot." The props master described working on the sets as "walking through mud," and the rigorous protocols and arduous task of sanitizing the props and locations took an emotional toll on her.

    16. Thanks to the quarantine, Winslet and Pearce got to celebrate their birthdays together.

    Mare and Richard enjoying a dance
    HBO

    Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Winslet and Pearce were in quarantine together on their shared birthday, Oct. 5. Winslet detailed what happened that day: "On our joint birthday, I woke up, I opened my bedroom door to go to work, and there was a gift and a card from my childhood sweetheart outside my door. And then of course I did the same thing for Guy. So it's very sweet, and kind of tinged with a little bit of romance that I quite like, and it was absolutely lovely."

    17. One of the cast members died while the shooting was suspended.

    The late Phyllis Somerville in her last role as Betty Carroll
    HBO

    Phyllis Somerville, best known for her roles in The Big C and Little Children, died at her home in New York City on July 16 while the show's production was on hold. She didn't die of COVID-19 but of natural causes. She played the role of Betty Carroll, who calls Mare in the very first scene of the first episode to investigate some voyeurism.

    18. The surname of Peters' character may have been inspired by a real family.

    I’ve learned that the #MareOfEasttown creator/writer Brad Ingelsby was friendly with one of my siblings when they were growing up - fitting the Mare theme of everyone in Delco knowing each other - and my guess is Ingelsby pulled names from his own experience, as writers do. https://t.co/SVghzWEQOe

    Via Twitter: @MikeZabel

    Since the show draws heavily from Ingelsby's experiences growing up in the Delco area, there's a strong possibility that the surname of Peters' character, "Zabel," was inspired by the Zabel family who resides in the area, of which state Rep. Mike Zabel is a member. Zabel told a reporter, "We are the only Zabels in Delco. Have been the only Zabels in Delco since Brad was there." He also tweeted with additional information.

    19. And finally, there is a real "Mare"!

    End credits where Christine Bleiler has been credited as one of the police tech advisers
    HBO

    Although the character of Mare is fictitious, Winslet based her role on a real-life police detective. Christine Bleiler, a Chester County detective, was Winslet's inspiration for Mare Sheehan. Winslet described her as her “go-to person” for most of her cop-related mannerisms. She further revealed, “I would honestly call her at 5 in the morning and I’d say, ‘Christine, I’m so sorry. Are you awake?’ ‘Well, I am now.’ I would say, ‘There’s a line I have today. It’s about cellphone records in the case, and I’m just not sure…,’ and she’s like, ‘Oh, no, you wouldn’t say it like that. No, no, no, it’s messier; make it more like this.’

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