“It would have been a disservice to the story to not shoot it in the Ozarks, in Fayetteville or in Arkansas, because it is such a character in the story.” – Mahershala Ali
From Oscar winners, to comedians, television series and feature films, Northwest Arkansas is seeing its fair share of celebrity sightings.
What’s the draw to our community?
“True Detective”, “F.R.E.D.I.”, “Max Winslow and the House of Secrets”, the upcoming “Squeaky Clean Mysteries: Hazardous Duty” and a film starring Martin Lawrence are just a few examples of television shows and movies using Northwest Arkansas as a backdrop.
Johnny Remo, CEO of SkipStone Pictures says working with local agencies like Visit Bentonville and the state film commission are great partnerships to have and that community support is key. “When I got into Bentonville and I saw the town square and everything else I was like wow this is like back to the future, this looks like a set” says Remo who first discovered NWA during the Bentonville Film Festival. He instantly knew the city would be the location for his next film, F.R.E.D.I. (streaming on Netflix now).
Sean Olson, Creative Director of Trash Panda Entertainment says the community is a big reason why he returned to shoot his most recent film. “We really liked the authenticity of shooting in real places…something we always strive to do is try to get as much local talent into the movie and on the crew if possible”.
Which is where Mark Landon Smith and the Actors Casting Agency comes in. Smith says having filming locally provides an avenue for local actors to get involved. And it’s not just local actors in the spotlight, local businesses like the Meteor Guitar Gallery are also getting in on the fun. Leslie Key, owner of the Meteor says the downtown staple is no stranger to celebrity sightings welcoming actors, musicians and more. “Geena Davis, Jewel, Cheryl Crow, Joe Bonamassa, biggest one probably that’s played on the stage would have been Joe Walsh” says Key.
More projects are on the way so keep your eyes open, you never know when you’ll see another celebrity in NWA.