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Cruel Summer, the latest offering from actress-turned-producer Jessica Biel, is taking Freeform by storm! The Hollywood Reporter reports that the premiere of the ‘90s-set psychological thriller ranks as the network’s “most watched series debut ever.” With a fluid timeline and narrative, killer retro soundtrack and gripping central mystery, it is no surprise audiences are flocking to watch.
The engrossing story begins on June 21, 1993, the 15th birthday of self-proclaimed “nerdy” high schooler Jeanette Turner (Chiara Aurelia). As the dynamic timeline flips and flops between 1993, 1994 and 1995, we see Jeanette transform — first into the most popular girl in town after the former queen bee, Kate Wallis (Olivia Holt), goes missing and Jeanette seemingly and seamlessly takes her place, and then into the most hated woman in the world upon Kate’s return almost a year later when it is revealed that Jeanette knew of her whereabouts but told no one.
Portrayed from the points of view of both leading ladies, Cruel Summer, which airs Tuesday nights on Freeform and is available for streaming the following day via Hulu, is a dizzying ride of endless twists, turns and shifting sympathies.
Set in the fictional small town of Skylin, Texas, the production was actually lensed throughout Dallas and its environs. A few of the local spots used include The Charles E. Struwe Building at 617 W. State St. in Garland, which plays Skylin Realty, where Jeanette’s father, Greg Turner (Michael Landes), works. The Interskate Roller Rink at 1408 S. State Highway 121 in Lewisville is where Jeanette spends her 16th birthday, aka “the best birthday ever,” in episode one. Also in Lewisville is the Music City Mall at 2401 S. Stemmons Freeway, where Kate and Jeanette run into each other in the same episode. And the Turner family’s ranch-style residence can be found at 13735 Sprucewood Circle in Dallas’ Far North neighborhood.
The real star of the show, though, is the picturesque Colonial where Kate is held captive by Skylin High assistant principal Martin Harris (Blake Lee). Said to be at 324 Huntington Road, in truth the sprawling estate can be found at 6306 Deloache Ave. in Dallas’ affluent Preston Hollow area. Built in 1938, the impressive pad features four bedrooms and five baths in a sprawling 6,745 square feet.
Though the exterior of the residence, which was last listed for sale in 2019, is quite classic and traditional, the interior is largely a mix of old meets new. Behind the handsome brick-clad facade sit numerous luxe spaces, including formal living and dining rooms, the latter with wainscotting and crown molding, the former with a fireplace, and both tinged with a light blue. The updated combination kitchen/den offers beamed ceilings, cabinetry galore, a large island with bar seating and a stone fireplace.
Upstairs, the spacious owners’ suite comes with an adjoining library (which appears to have been vacuumed to within an inch of its life for the 2019 listing photos) complete with a wet bar, a tiled fireplace and wall-to-wall oak paneling and built-ins. The immense main bath boasts a steam shower, a central Jacuzzi tub, marble and travertine accents and both separate vanities and commodes.
The stunning master closet is one for the record books! Custom-built, the massive chamber is bigger than most apartments with the amenities to match including hardwood flooring, cedar woodwork, skylights, multiple ceiling fans and window seating.
The home’s real showpiece, though, is the soaring great room. Designed by architect Richard Drummond Davis, the grand two-story space is capped by vaulted ceilings that tower 30 feet above the French-Brown hardwood flooring below. The adjoining walls are cloaked in stately oak paneling, with French doors and a cast stone fireplace lining one side of the room and a walk-in bar with a Sub-Zero fridge and freezer stationed at an opposite corner. An entertainer’s dream, the handsome enclave looks more like a hotel lobby or luxe ski lodge than a room in a private home.
The pad, which sits on 0.46 acres, was listed for sale in June 2019 by Ebby Halliday Realtors for $1,950,000. The price was then cut $100,000 in September before the listing was ultimately removed the following month. If the MLS images are any indication, the residence was vacant during its time on the market, making it the perfect spot for the filming of Cruel Summer, which got underway in early November of that year.
The property has been at the forefront of the four episodes of the series that have aired so far, initially popping up in Cruel Summer’s premiere, titled “Happy Birthday, Jeanette Turner.” It is at the attractive home that Jeanette and her friends check off the first item on their summer vacation bucket list — playing hide and seek in an empty house. At the time, the pad had just been sold to assistant principal Harris by Jeanette’s realtor father, which is how the teens managed to procure entry. As we come to learn, the dwelling is also where Kate is later held captive for the better part of a year by Mr. Harris.
The actual interior of the house also appears on the show, though the mirrored basement that becomes Kate’s prison was likely just a set — and not a very happy one, at that. As Holt told Collider, “The basement set was not a really inviting, friendly set. It was actually very terrifying. I think everybody on our crew felt that. When they saw on the call sheet that we were gonna be filming in the basement that day, everybody’s energy was a little bit different.”
The home’s actual basement sounds like a much more serene spot. As the listing notes, the 1,187-square-foot space, which can be utilized as “a bedroom, game room or exercise room,” has a “walk-in wine cellar, spa bath and cedar closet,” definitely not amenities Kate had access to during her horrific ordeal.
This story first appeared on Dirt.com, which features additional photos.
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