After a record-breaking 2021, it’s been another strong year so far for the Wilmington film industry.
The somewhat slow start to begin 2022 has been all but forgotten, as at least nine movie and television productions have shot here so far this year, while seven more projects have hit theaters and/or the streaming services.
Let’s take a quick look at what’s shooting, what’s out and what’s coming down the pike, with a few newsy tidbits along the way, including one local production that’s currently looking for extras and actors in featured roles.
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The only two productions actively shooting in the Wilmington area right now are Fox comedy “Welcome to Flatch” and Amazon Prime drama “The Summer I Turned Pretty.”
The two shows couldn’t be more different — “Pretty” chronicles beautiful people problems while “Flatch” centers on the quirky denizens of a rural American town — but both are shooting their second seasons.
In pre-production is “The Supremes At Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat,” which is scheduled to start shooting in early October for Disney’s Searchlight Pictures. It’s based on a best-selling novel by Edward Kelsey Moore about three Black women, lifelong friends, who face major challenges together in middle age. It stars acclaimed actresses Uzo Aduba (“Lightyear”), Aunjanue Ellis (“King Richard”) and Sanaa Lathan (“Love & Basketball”).
The show has recently posted multiple casting notices on Facebook for extras, featured roles and stand-ins.
It’s been a fairly illustrious stretch for Wilmington-made projects this year, with most of them doing well either at the box office, in terms of popular or critical acclaim, or both.
“Echoes,” which shot in Wilmington in 2021, spent time in August as one of the most-watched shows on Netflix despite (or because of?) a bat-guano-crazy premise that has Michelle Monaghan playing adult twins who’ve been pretending to be each other their entire lives.
In May, “Along for the Ride,” which shot in Carolina and Kure beaches last year, briefly turned up as one of Netflix’s most-watched movies. it’s still available for streaming.
Also this summer, Wilmington-shot horror film “The Black Phone,” starring Ethan Hawke as a serial killer of children, rode stellar reviews all the way to a big box office win. So far, it’s made an estimated $150 million (and counting) on a $16 million budget. You can currently watch it on NBC’s Peacock streaming service.
In June, Amazon Prime’s “The Summer I Turned Pretty” blew up with love all across social media as it was showing the Wilmington area and its beaches in “pretty” much the best possible light.
Back in March, Fox’s “Welcome to Flatch,” the small-town mockumentary from Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids,” “Freaks and Geeks”) and Jenny Bicks (“Sex and the City”) in which Burgaw plays a rural town in Ohio, dropped its first seven episodes for streaming before doling out its last seven in more traditional, episodic fashion. The hybrid model didn’t seem to do much for the low-rated show, but it got renewed anyway, with Fox and Lionsgate likely hoping that “Flatch” eventually finds an audience a la such shows as “The Office” and “Schitt’s Creek,” both of which started slowly. You can currently stream all 14 episodes of “Flatch” on Hulu.
And let’s not forget about “Scream,” the fifth movie in the long-running series of horror whodunits, which filmed in Wilmington in 2020 and was the No.1 movie in America back in January. Currently streaming on Paramount+.
There’s a lot of made-in-Wilmington stuff coming out, but for the most part we don’t know when.
The main exception is “Welcome to Flatch,” which premieres its second season on Fox Sept. 29. Just one new episode will drop on that date, and the show will air weekly after that.
“Flach” has added some star power in the form of Emmy-winning, Golden Globe-nominated actress Jaime Pressly (NBC sitcom “My Name Is Earl”). She joins Seann William Scott (“American Pie”), who plays a Christian boy band star turned small-town preacher in “Flatch.”
One of the biggest things to film in Wilmington so far this year is the musical mini-series “George & Tammy,” which stars Oscar-nominated actor Michael Shannon and Oscar winner Jessica Chastain as country music stars George Jones and Tammy Wynette, whose short marriage was as rocky as their songs are famous.
The series was supposed to be released this year on the Spectrum Originals subscription service and stream later on Paramount+. Last month, however, film industry publication Deadline.com reported that Spectrum was “getting out of the original programming business,” albeit not immediately.
What that means for “George & Tammy” is unknown. According to the Deadline story, some shows “could still air on Spectrum (while) the rights to others may be reverted to the producers so they can find new homes for their shows.” It seems certain the show will stream on Paramount+ at some point, as the show’s stars did a launch event for Paramount+ in Nashville last June.
The music is being done by Oscar and Grammy winner T Bone Burnett, and Shannon and Chastain did their own singing for the roles.
“It was intimidating,” Shannon said during the Paramount+ launch event. “It’s really hard to sing like these people, but we did our damndest … The harmonies are just so beautiful.”
“George & Tammy”:Production of country music miniseries ‘George & Tammy’ ramps up in Wilmington
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Related:Movie with an all-star cast and based on a best-selling novel is set to film in Wilmington
Wrapping production on its third season earlier this year in Wilmington was “Hightown,” the gritty drama for the Starz network that filmed its first season in Massachusetts, where it’s set, but moved to the Wilmington area for the subsequent two seasons. An air date for season three has not yet been announced.
The show stars Monica Raymund as a National Marine Fisheries Service Agent in Provincetown, Massachusetts, who gets mixed up with a murder investigation as she battles addictions to alcohol and drugs. In May, film crews dressed Water Street in downtown Wilmington with rainbow-colored decorations for a pride festival scene that included a temporary mural on the side of the Chandler’s Wharf shopping center.
There’s also no air date yet for “Florida Man,” a Netflix show that shot in and around Wilmington in 2021. First of all, people in Florida were apparently upset that the show was filmed in North Carolina, which is kind of hilarious.
Billed as a thriller, the series stars Edgar Ramirez (“Yes Day”) as a former cop who returns to his home state of Florida to find a mobster’s runaway girlfriend. It sounds like things spin out of control from there. The cast also includes Clark Gregg (“The Avengers”), who was a regular at the Bespoke coffee shop downtown when the show was shooting in town, and Anthony LaPaglia (TV’s “Without a Trace”).
A Wilmington-shot movie that could get some attention — stop me if you’ve heard this, but there’s no release date yet — is “One True Loves,”which stars Grammy-winning, Tony-nominated actress Phillipa Soo of “Hamilton” as a woman whose husband (Luke Bracey of “G.I. Joe: Retaliation”) mysteriously disappears. He then mysteriously reappears once she starts dating a man played by Simu Liu, best known for his star turn in Marvel superhero film “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.”
The movie’s IMDB page lists the movie as coming out in “2022,” but it also has a release date of April 2023 in Australia and New Zealand, so it seems likely that we’ll see “One True Loves” sometime next year.
Shooting in Wilmington and Southport in late 2021 and early this year was “Boys of Summer,” a fantasy/mystery coming-of-age thriller that’s said to be in the vein of a ’90s-set “Goonies.” Again, no release date, and IMDB says “2022,” but a 2023 (summer?) release seems likely. It stars the up-and-coming young actor Mason Thames (lead of Wilmington-shot “The Black Phone”), and has some big-name actors in the cast, including Mel Gibson (who became a Southport celebrity during his time in town), Kevin James and Patrick “You’re Killin’ Me, Smalls” Renna of “The Sandlot” fame.
Also shooting in Southport and Wilmington this year was “Providence,” which filmed under the name “The Problem with Providence” but has apparently shortened its title. No release date yet (2023 seems likely), but a knockout cast and strong pedigree means good things could happen.
Directed by Potsy Ponciroli, whose Western “Old Henry” got big ups from critics, it stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt (“Inception”) as a cop in a small town where the citizens go off the deep end following a murder and the discovery of a large amount of money.
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Again, the cast is amazing and includes Lily James (“Pam & Tommy”), Tim Blake Nelson (“O Brother, Where Art Thou?”), Joey Lauren Adams (“Chasing Amy”), Uzo Aduba (“Lightyear”), Himesh Patel (“Yesterday”) and the comic Jim Gaffigan. It even has a couple of ex-porn stars in Traci Lords and Simon Rex (who was amazing in the not technically porn “Red Rocket,” which is great if you haven’t seen it).
Two smaller, Wilmington-shot movies, both without release dates, are “Breakwater,” a thriller starring Dermot Mulroney and Mena Suvari in the story of an ex-con trying to track down the estranged daughter of a fellow inmate, and “Appendage,” a horror thriller starring Hadley Robinson (HBO’s “Winning Time”) as a fashion designer whose dark thoughts manifest themselves physically as a gruesome growth on her body. Most likey, we’ll be seeing one or both of these next year.
Finally, the movie “Eric LaRue” just recently wrapped shooting in the Wilmington. The directorial debut of Michael Shannon, this movie, based on a play by Chicago writer Brett Neveu, seems like it’s got the potential to capture the national zeitgeist.
It stars Judy Greer (“Halloween Kills”) as the mother of a school shooter who has to meet with the parents of her son’s victims and also visit her son in prison. The well-regarded cast also includes Alexander Skarsgård (“Big Little Lies”), Alison Pill (“American Horror Story”) and the playwright and actor Tracy Letts (“Lady Bird”).
Contact John Staton at 910-343-2343 or John.Staton@StarNewsOnline.com.
After a record-breaking 2021, it’s been another strong year so far for the Wilmington film industry.