The third season of HBO’s “True Detective” series, created by UA graduate alum Nic Pizzolatto, will, as indicated earlier, be filmed in Northwest Arkansas beginning in early 2018.
Oscar winner Mahershala Ali will star.
The Arkansas Economic Development Commission announced the confirmation of the news.
“We’re thrilled HBO chose to film the series in Arkansas,” said Governor Asa Hutchinson. “This is a testament to the dedicated teamwork across state agencies and communities to position the state as a choice place to do business.
“The beauty of the state, the skilled and quality talent available,” said the governor, “along with the support provided by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, made Northwest Arkansas an easy choice.”
The production will provide work for local actors, extras and production crew, said Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan, whom AEDC officials credit with being incredibly helpful and accommodating during recruitment of the production.
“The cooperation, support and enthusiasm of Governor Hutchison and his team, the AEDC, the mayor and City of Fayetteville, and Christopher Crane of the Arkansas Film Commission has been extraordinary and instrumental in allowing us to bring the highly anticipated third installment of ‘True Detective’ to Arkansas,” said HBO Executive Vice President of Production Bruce Richmond.
An official synopsis reads, “The next installment of ‘True Detective’ tells the story of a macabre crime in the heart of the Ozarks, and a mystery that deepens over decades and plays out in three separate time periods.” Ali will play the lead role of Wayne Hays, an Arkansas State Police detective. Carmen Ejogo will play Amelia Reardon, a school teacher with a connection to two missing children in 1980. “True Detective” is created by Nic Pizzolatto.
“This is the largest and most expensive production we’ve ever had in the state,” said AEDC Director Mike Preston. “With an estimated year from start to finish, we know that local businesses and vendors will enjoy a boon from the production.”
Arkansas Parks and Tourism Director Kane Webb said, “As other production companies see the beauty of our state and hear of the benefits to filming in Arkansas, we can expect to land more series and films.”
The production will qualify for significant taxpayer subsidies, though the amount depends on spending in the state. Here’s how it works, according to the AEDC:
Arkansas remains a nimble and innovative partner in materially impacting productions’ bottom lines. Eligible production companies may earn a 20% rebate on all qualified production expenditures, with an additional 10% for Arkansas crew base.
Prior to beginning preproduction activities in Arkansas, register with the film office and submit an application along with an estimate of expenditures; meet the minimum spending requirement of at least $50,000 within a six-month period in connection with a postproduction project or $200,000 within a six-month period in connection with the production of one project; and apply for a production rebate certificate no later than 180 days after the last production expenses are incurred.
Qualified Spend: Includes costs incurred in Arkansas in the development, preproduction, production or postproduction of a qualified production; the first $500,000 of wages or salaries paid to each resident and nonresident that are subject to Arkansas income taxes; pension, health and welfare contributions; and stipends and living allowances. Payments for production and postproduction expenses are recommended (but not required) to be made from the checking account of an Arkansas institution. Cash payments to vendors may not exceed 40% of the total verifiable costs.
Summary: Each project submitted for funding under this program is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. An eligible production company may earn a 20% rebate on all qualified production expenditures in Arkansas. Salaries and wages paid to resident and nonresident above-the-line employees, as well as resident and nonresident below-the-line employees, will qualify for the 20% rebate and an additional 10% may be earned on the payroll of below-the-line employees who are full-time Arkansas residents for a total rebate of 30% on such wages. Below-the-line does not include directors and producers but for purposes of the additional 10%, resident actors and writers are defined as below-the-line. The incentive program is scheduled to sunset on June 30, 2019.
AEDC spokesman Brandi Hinkle
Chris Crane, director of the film office, said the applications filed to qualify for taxpayer assistance is exempt from disclosure, but the amount ultimately rebated will be released at the end of production. He said he expected somewhere between $40 million and $80 million to be spent in Arkansas. At the high end, that could mean a rebate of tax money of $16 million or more.