PROVIDENCE – The stars of the new ABC show Body of Proof, being filmed entirely in the Ocean State, are most impressed with Rhode Island’s beauty and the ease of getting from one place to another. The executive producer seemed most taken with the state’s film and television tax credits.
The Statehouse rolled out its version of a red carpet Friday for the show’s lead actresses, Dana Delaney, best known for her roles in the programs China Beach and more recently Desperate Housewives, and Jeri Ryan, famous for her work in the shows Star Trek: Voyager and Shark, with a well-attended reception in the Governor’s State Room.
The show, which began filming its 13th episode on Friday, will premiere March 29 at 10 p.m., following the popular Dancing with the Stars. Although it was shot in Rhode Island, the series is set in Philadelphia.
Delaney stars in Body of Proof as Megan Hunt whose career as a neurosurgeon is cut short by an accident, but who becomes a crime-solving medical examiner. Ryan plays her boss, Kate Murphy.
Gov. Donald Carcieri was unable to attend, but left proclamations honoring the stars. House Speaker Gordon Fox and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed were on hand to welcome the visitors.
Ryan pronounced the state “spectacularly beautiful,” adding “you have given us such a tremendously warm and gracious welcome.” She said in Los Angeles, people see filming on location as a traffic-snarling annoyance, but here “people are genuinely happy to see you filming on the street.”
Talking to reporters after the 45-minute ceremony, she said she had never been to New England before and was so enchanted by the changing colors of the leaves she had to stop her car by the side of the highway to look.
She joked that she has “no sense of direction” and usually uses bodies of water as landmarks. When she lived in Chicago, she related, Lake Michigan was always to the east and in Los Angeles, the ocean was always to the west. But in Rhode Island, she mockingly complained, “there’s water everywhere.”
When it was her turn to speak, Delaney, who grew up in nearby Connecticut, reminded her co-star that, “It is called the Ocean State for a reason.”
“I feel like I’m home again, I really do,” said Delaney who added that she hadn’t been back east from the west coast for 20 years. “I feel like I walk down the street and these are my people, this is my family. I see faces and these are the people I grew up with.”
Living in the Downtown Providence area during the shooting, Delaney said, “I love it; I look out my window and I feel I am looking at an Edward Hopper painting. Waterfire – where else would you find that in this country? No place, it’s so unique. People would be lucky to shoot here.”
Executive Producer Matt Gross said, “Having produced 10 feature films and 200 hours of television all over the United States and out of the country, I can tell you that this has been my best experience to date.”
He pointed to the state’s controversial film and television tax credits as one of the reasons he brought the production here. But he added that the state and the city of Providence “supports the needs of production like no other I have ever been to. There’s much more to the city than tax credits. You can actually go to four different locations within two square blocks, the locations are varied, they are picturesque.”
Besides Providence, the show has shot scenes in both Pawtucket and Woonsocket.
Paiva Weed noted that the production has spent about $30 million in Rhode Island and created about 170 full-time jobs. She said she was originally skeptical of the film tax credits, “I was one of the folks that said how does this work, will this really work. I have come, through much education from my colleagues over the years, to become a real believer. Because we now know that it works.”