Is Charlotte the New Hollywood?


These days, it isn’t uncommon for Charlotte residents to spot a celebrity eating out at a restaurant in Uptown or taking in some sun at a local park. With its impressive metropolitan area along with its outdoorsy appeal, Charlotte has become a prime location for TV series and movie films.

Most recently, the Showtime series Homeland has set up camera crews at several areas within Charlotte. The main family in the series, the Brodys, “live” at 3319 Knob Hill Ct. Another main character, a CIA agent named Carrie, “lives” at 510 N. Poplar St. Even the CIA Headquarters, which exists in Virginia in real life, was filmed at 2321 Concord Parkway South.

The cast of Homeland includes big names such as Claire Danes, Damian Lewis and Mandy Patinkin. The show’s third season began filming at a few locations around Uptown this past spring.

The Charlotteans who watched the 2012 blockbuster hit, The Hunger Games, probably recognized a few of their local spots in the movie that was based off of a popular science fiction novel. In fact, one of the key scenes, where the main character, Katniss, makes a fiery entrance in front of a large audience was filmed at the Charlotte Convention Center.

Major movie star Woody Harrelson had a big role in The Hunger Games. He reportedly climbed the 46-foot-rock climbing wall at Charlotte’s National Whitewater Center during his stay in the city.

Even Will Farrell has spent time acting in Charlotte. His character Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights gained worldwide recognition as a hilarious racecar driver with serious friendship issues. Several scenes in Talladega Nights were filmed at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Now that Charlotte has been selected as the filming location for an independent film starring Nick Jonas, the teenage Charlotte crowds are scanning the streets, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Jonas brother. Most of the film, called Careful What You Wish For, is being filmed along Lake Norman.

The Queen City is also the new home to the production sets of Banshee, a new Cinemax series.

The excitement of sharing sidewalks with movie stars may be short-lived, however, due to a potential change in state law that would deter future filming in North Carolina.

The influx of new filming in Charlotte was not coincidental. A few years ago, the state legislature agreed to provide substantial tax incentives for the production industry to select North Carolina for filming locations. The tax incentives are slated to expire in less than two years and many lawmakers are opposing its renewal.

The legislators who stand against the tax incentives believe they are unfair and ultimately end up costing the state more than what the production provides to the public.

Even though the fate of the future filming industry in Charlotte is unknown – what is certain is that it is currently still an irresistible choice for production executives.

Keeping this in mind, Charlotteans should make it a point to always pack a pen and paper when cruising the streets around Uptown! The chances of bumping into a celebrity and snagging an autograph are much higher these days…


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