TV miniseries ‘Diary of a Lunatic’ begins filming in Buffalo
A new TV miniseries with Buffalo roots is now filming in the city.
“Diary of a Lunatic,” a follow-up to the Buffalo-made movie “Diary of a Lunatic … Trew’s Calling,” started principal photography on June 24. The production will shoot six 30-minute episodes here until Aug. 2 at such locations as NDstudios, Buffalo Seminary, Bidwell Apartments and Duende at Silo City.
It is once again written and directed by Greg Robbins, a Hollywood filmmaker who now makes Amherst his home. Among those returning to Buffalo are producer Kimber Eastwood (daughter of Academy Award-winner Clint Eastwood) and actors Kevin Sizemore (“Fear the Walking Dead” and “Resurrection”) and Orchard Park native Tracey B. Wilson (“Guiding Light,” “All My Children”).
Joining them are Eddie Mekka (Carmine on “Laverne & Shirley”), Muse Watson (”NCIS,” “The Avengers”), Yancy Butler (”Witchblade,” “As the World Turns”), Cynthia Rothrock (“Cool Cat Kids Superhero”) and Melody Nardone, a name familiar to Buffalonians from her time as a DJ on Mix 96.
“It’s a fantasy, but it’s also a great story about overcoming adversity,” said Nardone, who is excited that her daughter, Amber Vanderbush, plays a younger version of herself in the series.
The original feature film, made in Buffalo in 2015, is about a woman named Trew (played by Wilson) who receives a visit from the Almighty (Sizemore) and is asked to write down everything he says. The film also starred veteran actress Lee Meriwether and Brooke Elliott (“Drop Dead Diva”).
The new miniseries, slated for release on high-profile streaming services, is part of a franchise Robbins created with writer and producer Maha Guemei that also includes the original film (which acts as a prequel to the story) and the 2018 miniseries “Dreamfactory.” The projects are intertwined with the same characters, while adding new ones, Robbins said. In this new fantasy/comedy series, everyone has an alter ego in a parallel universe but when the boundaries start to disappear, the alter egos escape and attach to the wrong people. As expected, chaos ensues.
The idea to film here again was a no-brainer for Robbins,
who moved with his family to the Buffalo area nine years ago after coming here temporarily for work. “Everyone was really kind to us and we found a home here,” he said. “And we’ve built quite a film community here. I’m working with the same director of photography, the same crew, same hair and makeup people. We are a great big film family.”
When he is finished with this original batch of six episodes for the new series, Robbins said it’s not the end of the “Diary of a Lunatic” franchise. He has much more story to tell and would like to do that in the episodic format. “Week after week you can tell a rich story that you can’t do with a feature film,” Robbins said. And telling a good story is why he’s a filmmaker.
“We do this to tell good stories. I like to enhance lives even if it is just for half an hour a week. We can do it if we try – and these characters do it. I also like to have people feel good about themselves and that’s the most important aspect of what we do.”
Matthew Nardone gives instructions during Friday’s filming of “Diary of a Lunatic” at Buffalo Seminary.
Discussing the “Diary of a Lunatic” script are, from left, local actor Melody Nardone, Kimberly Eastwood, one of the producers, and actor Tracey B. Wilson.