Thursday, January 27, 2022

Now rolling: ‘George & Tammy’ starts production in Wilmington, other projects wrap, state budget preserves film incentive

Screen Gems Studios in Wilmington serves as the home base for multiple productions currently filming in Wilmington. (Port City Daily photo/Williams)

WILMINGTON — “George and Tammy” is back in Wilmington after a false start earlier this year.

Originally slated to commence shooting in the spring, the title disappeared from the Wilmington Regional Film Commission website, only to return recently.

Last week the production pulled its first film permits with the City of Wilmington for “motel room scenes” on Market Street, slated to shoot in early December. Production also will set up in a downtown alleyway and capture “exterior music row” scenes later in the month.

Starring​​ Michael Shannon as George Jones and Jessica Chastain as Tammy Wynette, the miniseries will chronicle the tumultuous relationship of the ‘70s country-music power couple. The script is based on their daughter’s memoir, “The Three of Us: Growing Up with Tammy and George.”

Author Georgette Jones shared a photo of the cast and crew on her Facebook page Nov. 17:

“So happy to finally meet @jessicachastain and Michael Shannon. I am 100% sure they will do an amazing job portraying my parents in the George and Tammy streaming series. They have made every effort to be true to the real story and I’m confident they will make us very proud. A big thank you to Abe Sylvia (writer) and the legendary TBone Burnett for all their hard work on this project, too. I am thrilled my parent’s story will be out for the world to see next year. Going to have a hard time sleeping tonight because I’m too excited from this night.”

The miniseries will air exclusively for Spectrum Originals subscribers over nine months before releasing on the new streaming service ViacomCBS and Paramount Network.

“George & Tammy” is one of five projects rolling in Wilmington right now.

Boys of Summer is in pre-production but has yet to begin pulling permits within city limits. When filming begins, the project will bring major star power and a familiar face to Wilmington. Mel Gibson stars as a detective in this fantasy thriller alongside Mason Thames, the child actor of “The Black Phone,” also shot in Wilmington earlier in the year.

Continuing production in Wilmington, “Our Kind of People” is already premiering its first season on FOX. So far, seven of the 12 hour-long episodes have aired. Recently, the project pulled permits to shoot at the riverfront restaurant Pilot House, and it constructed a mausoleum-like structure in Bellevue Cemetery, visible from Princess Place Drive. The show also heavily features the renovated firehouse Station No. 2 on Castle Street and Cape Fear Country Club near Oleander Drive.

Netflix’s upcoming series “Florida Man” was granted permits in recent weeks for the International Longshoremen’s union office on South 5th Avenue, a business deck along the Riverwalk, and a luxury home on Country Club Road. Its release date has yet to be announced.

“Echoes” is the third project shooting currently in Wilmington. No release date has been announced for this Netflix series, either. Scenes could potentially showcase the YMCA on Market Street, the Verandas Bed and Breakfast Inn, the Cape Fear Country Club, Molly Pitcher’s American Grill, Jess James + Co., MedNorth Health Center, the One Tree Hill Way bridge, Cloud 9 Rooftop Bar, Graystone Inn and U Drop We Repair.

“One True Loves” wrapped the week of Nov. 13. Actor Simu Liu of Marvel’s “Shang-Chi” stars in this love-triangle film, based on a novel by popular writer Taylor Jenkins Reid. During his time in the Cape Fear, Liu stopped at UNCW to play a game with the men’s volleyball club. He also was part of a sketch on “Saturday Night Live,” which he hosted Nov. 20, and gave a nod to the Cape Fear in “Karaoke Recap.”

While in town, “One True Loves” captured shots at Winnie’s Tavern, Finkelsteins Music, Pomegranate Books, the store Music & Arts, the New Hanover County Courthouse, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, the Cotton Exchange, Indochine and the downtown Riverwalk.

Other projects to wrap in recent months included Netflix’s “Along For The Ride,” “Line Sisters,” “One Summer,” “Christmas In Harmony,” “Breakwater” and “The Summer I Turned Pretty.”

The recent success of Wilmington’s film industry is expected to continue into the new year. The newly adopted state budget relaxed criteria for projects to receive an incentive from the Film and Entertainment Grant Fund.

Feature-length films can now qualify for a grant with budgets of $1.5 million, instead of $3 million, and made-for-TV movies can reap the benefits when they spend $500,000, instead of $1 million.

TV series will only need to spend $500,000 per episode, instead of $1 million, to meet the standards of the grant.

Requirements for commercials will remain the same, with a budget of $250,000 necessary to qualify for the incentive. Grants will remain capped at $7 million for feature-length films and $250,000 for commercials, but a single season of a TV series can now receive up to $15 million, instead of the previous $12-million limit.


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Alexandria Sands Williams
Alexandria Sands Williams is a journalist covering the City of Wilmington, education and film. Before Port City Daily, she spent a year in the quaint city of Southport reporting for the award-winning State Port Pilot. Prior to that, she wrote for several Charlotte publications while studying at UNC Charlotte. When not writing, Williams is most likely in the gym, reading or spending time with her Golden Pyrenees. Reach her at alexandria@localdailymedia.com or on Twitter @alexsands_

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