Russell Edgington’s Home Has a History

July 18, 2010 by  

Mississippi has been very welcoming to the cast and crew of True Blood. Since the vampire king of Mississippi, Russell Edgington (played by Denis O’Hare) resides in Jackson, the area is now full of werewolves and vampires.

An article in clarionledger.com described the historic antebellum home of King Edgington.  It is Longwood, located in Natchez.  This beautiful home was discovered by production designer Suzuki Ingerslev when she visited Mississippi looking for the right location.

“We were drawn to the grandeur, the timeless elegance and the unusually octagonal architecture,” she said.  “As far as we could see, Longwood was the most unique antebellum home we’d ever seen.

“There’s something about the land that surrounds Longwood that made it a little foreboding, but at the same time, it was absolutely lovely.  It had to be the king’s house.”

Many stills were shot to get the flavor before building the set.  The crew all commented on Longwood’s beauty.  Seeing it lit up at night gave them a sense of magic.

Suzuki said that walking around and shopping in Natchez was as if she travelled back in history.  It gave her the perfect ideas and props for the re-creation of the king’s house.  From the photos they took they were able to produce the centuries old feeling with a true Southern flair.

In Jackson, Suzuki and art director, Cat Smith, visited the locations highlighted in Charlaine Harris‘ books, on which the True Blood series is based.  “We just wanted a feel of what it looked like everywhere.”

Getting into the history of Longwood, tour guide Harry Boschieri explained that it is a great example of mid-19th century architecture and is the largest octagonal house in the United States.

“It features a six-story octagonal rotunda and a byzantine-Moorish dome with a 24-foot fenial.”  “The 30,000 square foot structure is filled with furniture from the 1840s and 1850s.”

Construction on the home began in 1860 by a wealthy cotton planter named Dr. Haller Nutt.  The Philadelphia architect, Samuel Sloan, left his tools and fled north a year later when the Civil War began.

Only the basement level was completed for living quarters (local workers were used).  A year before the war ended, Dr. Nutt died of pneumonia, leaving his wife and children to continue living in the 10,000 square foot basement of the unfinished home.  She died in 1897.

Longwood was occupied by 3 generations of the Nutt family until 1968. Today it is maintained by The Pilgrimage Garden Club.

The Natchez Convention and Visitors Burueau seem pleased to have the True Blood crew filming in their area.  The scene where Russell and Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) rode together on horseback to the king’s house was described by Sally Durkin, media liaison for the bureau, “they really made Longwood look spectacular”.

The Natchez folks would like True Blood to come back and do more filming.  The production designer said she would love to go back and hang out “because everyone was so nice”.  Sounds like true Southern hospitality.

Source:  clarionledger.com

(Photo credit – clarionledger.com)

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  • Maurice Nutt

    I was shocked to see my Great Great Grandfather’s home, Longwood as the King’s Mansion on TrueBlood. I have to admit that Dr. Haller Nutt’s home is a perfect setting for Russell Edgington’s home — the King of the Vampires. But it is ironic because I am a Catholic priest and my ancestor’s home is the mansion of the King of Vampire’s! LOL But I am really happy that HBO used this beautiful home in Natchez, MS. Great series! — Maurice J. Nutt

  • jaxx

    I just love Denis O’Hare’s portrayal of Russell. Bring the character to life and definitely adds a lot to this show. Keep up the great job Denis.