5 film projects to roll in Charlotte this year
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Axios) - Most times a detour is a headache, but blockades matched with actors and film crews can be an intriguing sight.
That was the case last week as the Saturday Night Live writing trio “Please Don’t Destroy” roller skated down Charlotte’s North Davidson Street, catching the community’s attention.
- The scene was a reminder that North Carolina film productions have ramped up since COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.
What’s happening: A build-up of post-quarantine content demand combined with easygoing film conditions and a reliable workforce, plus enticing tax incentives, made North Carolina a hot destination for production companies in 2021. Industry leaders are striving to keep the momentum going.
What they’re saying: “It’s a combination of factors,” Charlotte Regional Film Commissioner Beth Petty says of the upswing. “The North Carolina Film and Entertainment Grant program is consistent and predictable, and productions, they know what to expect, and they really appreciate that.
- “We have phenomenal locations. We have a talented crew base. We have excellent accessibility with the Charlotte airport.”
- Uptown Charlotte has played New York City, but backroads, farms and nearby small towns are popular film spots as well. Other sought-after shooting locations include Charlotte Motor Speedway, Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, the U.S. National Whitewater Center and colleges.
- Petty says the commission wants to bring a film studio to the area some day, but for now, much of the work is done in warehouses.
By the numbers: Film projects’ direct in-state spending struck a record last year at $416 million, according to the North Carolina Film Office. It has reached $180 million so far this year, which may not include all projects that started filming.
- The number sets the state up to surpass $300 million by the end of the year, which, while still notably higher than previous years, won’t come close to 2021′s total.
- “2022 is looking like it will once again be another great year in terms of production and the direct in-state spend that comes along with these productions,” says Guy Gaster, NC Film Office director.
- So far the industry has created 11,000 jobs in 2022.
- Production companies in town also fuel the economy by tapping into vendors and service providers, including rental cars, hotels, caters, prop makers and even port-a-potty businesses. They also gives a boost to local creatives.
Of note: Following the filming of shows like “Homeland” and movies like “The Hunger Games,” TV and movie production in North Carolina slowed considerably after a popular film incentives program expired in 2014. But production in the state has increased since lawmakers enacted a new piece of legislation in 2019 bolstering the incentives program.
Here’s what we know about five major projects that are either filming or recently wrapped in Charlotte or the greater area.
“Site” is a sci-fi thriller about a man who accidentally injures his son and takes up extra shifts at work to catch up on medical bills, Deadline reports. While inspecting an abandoned government building, he has “nightmarish visions” that seep into his daily life. His ex-girlfriend, a journalist, helps him investigate the mysterious facility.
Starring: Jake McLaughlin (Quantico), Theo Rossi (Sons of Anarchy), Miki Ishikawa (The Falcon and the Winter Soldier) and Arielle Kebbel (9-1-1)
The intrigue: Cameras started rolling in Charlotte and Shelby last month and are continuing in August. A casting group was searching for background actors of Asian descent to portray cell inmates and “gas masked” war troops.
“To Her With Love”
This made-for-TV Hallmark movie is shooting in and around Rowan and Mecklenburg counties. It scored a grant of $975,000 from the state. It features the story of a young art teacher, newly hired at her alma mater high school, whose program funding is in jeopardy due to potential school board cuts, according to the state grant announcement.
The intrigue: The film will heavily feature Salisbury High School, according to Queen City News.
“Please Don’t Destroy”
The Saturday Night Live sketch trio is working on this project with Universal Pictures. The plot is about the three men embarking on a hunt for gold to reroute their life trajectory.
Starring: Ben Marshall, John Higgins and Martin Herlihy
Of note: The movie already has a release date for theaters of August 2023, Vulture reported.
“The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster”
This feature film, wrapped earlier this summer, is about a Black teenage girl who constructs a monster to “combat injustices in her neighborhood,” according to a Deadline article. Crypt TV is behind the project. The company was founded in 2015 to create a universe of monsters and recurring characters.
Of note: Blumhouse Productions are investors in Crypt TV and shot “The Black Phone,” currently in theaters, in North Carolina in 2021.
Starring: Laya DeLeon Hayes (“The Equalizer”) and Denzel Whitaker (“Black Panther”)
The intrigue: The modern story is inspired by Frankenstein.
“The Other Zoey”
This rom-com from Gulfstream Pictures wrapped in the winter. A student is mistaken by the most popular guy on campus as his girlfriend after he gets amnesia.
Starring: Josephine Langford (“Moxie”), Drew Starkey (“Outer Banks”) and Archie Renaux (“The Greatest Beer Run Ever”)
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