HBO mini-series John Adams starring Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney was filmed on locations throughout Virginia. Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman were the executive producers, with Emmy®-winner Tom Hooper at the helm directing. The seven part mini-series screenplay written by Kirk Ellis was adapted from the Pulitzer prize winning book authored by David MacCullogh. This is an epic show which chronicles the life of John Adams and his commitment to personal liberty.
Stunt work on John Adams was an experience. The show’s budget was somewhere in the 100 million dollar range. Though the final cut doesn’t showcase the weeks worth of stunt work performed, it definitely took place. We had a battle at sea, massacre scenes and a huge storm that threatened to rip apart the ship at sea. The big ship scenes were actually filmed on land in State Farm, Virginia and green screen surrounded the ship. Water cannons, rain makers and high speed fans were used to create the storm.
Freezing temperatures, cold water and 100 mph wind doesn’t make for a pleasant filming experience for the average person but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Production moved into a studio location to film the ship’s interior scene in which Lt. Baron has his leg amputated. A gimble was built and a set placed atop of it. Imagine a mechanical bull except instead of a bull, it’s a room. We get jostled and bounced around as Paul Giamatti, Myself and the Surgeon hold down Lt. Baron as his leg is sawed off.