WILMINGTON –– After the beach-set “Along for the Ride” film wrapped just in time for peak tourist season, two more Netflix projects are scouting out the Cape Fear area for upcoming series.
“Florida Man” is in pre-production, according to the Wilmington Film Commission website, and EUE/Screen Gems shared Wednesday on Facebook “Echoes” has plans to shoot at its studio, located in Wilmington near the airport.
“Florida Man” stars Edgar Ramirez, the lead in the Netflix movie “Yes Day” alongside Jennifer Garner. Ramirez has also landed roles in upcoming projects by Disney and Universal.
In “Florida Man,” the two-time Golden Globe nominee plays a former cop who must travel from Philadelphia to his home state of Florida for a presumably quick gig. The job is to hunt down a mobster’s fugitive girlfriend, but it turns into a drawn-out journey into “buried family secrets” and “an increasingly futile attempt to do the right thing in a place where so much is wrong,” Deadline reported.
Netflix ordered eight hour-long episodes of the series, according to Deadline. TV writer and producer Donald Todd is behind the project. He previously created the ABC comedy “Samantha Who?” and worked on NBC’s “This Is Us” and ABC’s “Ugly Betty.”
Aggregate Films, the company that produced the streamer’s original “Ozark,” is on the project as well. Since 2018, Aggregate has had a first-look deal with Netflix, according to Deadline, giving the streamer first dibs on its creations.
According to the report, “Echoes” is a psychological thriller about identical twins who have secretly switched lives since they were young. They swap homes, husbands and one child, until one of the sisters winds up missing.
Deadline reported the production is on the search for the two lead actresses to fill the twin roles of Leni and Gina.
The limited series is by Brian Yorkey, a writer known for his dark-themed work. He is the creator of “13 Reasons Why,” a breakout show based on a young adult novel that followed the aftermath of a high school girl’s suicide. While the Netflix original was a success following its March 2017 release, continuing for four seasons, it sparked a national conversation over whether it romanticizes mental illness and self harm, and led to studies about its influence on teenage suicide rates.
Yorkey now has an overall deal with Netflix to develop several projects, similarly to the Durham-raised Duffer brothers (“Stranger Things”) and Shonda Rhimes (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal”). On “Echoes,” which received a seven-episode order, Yorkey is serving as executive producer and co-showrunner.
The announcement of the two projects comes just as “Along for the Ride” leaves North Carolina. The production started filming ahead of Memorial Day in Carolina and Kure beaches. Netflix has two more teen romances to shoot as part of its optioning of a trio of novels by Chapel Hill author Sarah Dessen. It’s unclear whether the creators will choose Wilmington again as a shooting location, as neither plot of the following two books –– “This Lullaby” and “Once and For All” –– are dependent on coastal settings.
Most productions coming to the area are the products of streaming services. Amazon’s “The Summer I Turned Pretty,” an adaptation of a Jenny Han novel, is also in the area preparing for its shoot.
The recent interest from streaming services in North Carolina is the combination of new consumer trends, positive impacts of Covid-19 on the local film industry and the expiration of House Bill 2 remnants. For the past year, viewers stayed home and socially distanced while consuming TV and creating demand for fresh content. In the first few months of the shutdowns, Netflix gained over 15 million subscribers.
Non-threatening virus numbers in North Carolina, and a hesitancy amongst filmmakers to shoot in crowded cities reliant on public transportation during the pandemic, also attracted productions to the Tar Heel State.
“Our Kind of People” is the only known major project in town that is not being produced by a streaming service. The Fox drama about Black elite in Cape Cod is filming at locations such as Carolina Country Club, the Brooklyn Arts Center and Station No. 2, a local events venue.
According to the film commission site, a production with little released information, “One Summer,” is setting up to film as well. It is currently in the phase of pre-production.
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