CLIFTON FORGE, Va. – It’s lights, camera, action for the Alleghany Highlands.
The production of the upcoming Hulu mini-series “Dopesick” moved to Clifton Forge on Friday. Crews have used buildings all around town as filming locations, and have enlisted several residents as extras.
“We need to get this little town back on the map like it used to be and move the town forward,” said Clifton Forge town manager Chuck Unroe.
Unroe said the production has already helped the economy due to crew members shopping at local stores and restaurants.
“In this economy, with this type of year and an atmosphere where everything is shut down and struggling, it’s a blessing,” Unroe said. “It’s a boost that we needed.”
That boost extended to downtown coffee shop Caffe Museo and owner Judith Sivonda.
“In the month of January, where it’s cold and the weather is bad, there would usually be nobody coming in the door,” Sivonda said. “Now they see we’re really a hidden gem. I think a lot of people have that feeling about the town in general.”
Unroe said he understands concerns that “Dopesick,” a series about opioid addiction in Southwest Virginia, would paint Clifton Forge in a negative light. However, he insists Clifton Forge was chosen as a filming location for its charm, and that residents will be proud to see their town on the screen.
“You’ll definitely know you’re in Clifton Forge,” Unroe said. “They’ve included the town and the townspeople and really made it a community thing.”
“Dopesick” will continue filming in Clifton Forge through next week. The production has also filmed scenes in Lexington and Richmond.