WILMINGTON, N.C. — Late one night, in the woods on the outskirts of this low-key coastal town, a "burn" is being prepared.
To enact the burn — an elaborate, fiery TV stunt — a twentysomething actress, caked in black witch makeup that took six hours to layer on, is making cat-like movements on the hood of an SUV, rehearsing and scaring the actor inside in equal measure. Pipes are laid alongside a dirt path and soon begin to spew smoke.
And a fire truck sits at the ready, waiting for the moment when the cameras roll and the witch departs the hood just before the car goes up in flames.
Then the director, the TV veteran Ken Olin, calls out an unconventional bit...