NORTH CAROLINA HOLLYWOOD EAST
Take in the land of Nicholas Sparks movies and Katniss Everdeen’s hunting grounds.
when you talk to the ( endearingly friendly) folk in Wilmington (a.k.a. “Wilmywood”), N.C., about the area’s thriving television and movie scene, it’s hard to find a local who hasn’t been in one of the hundreds of shows and films made in this coastal city of 110,000. It seems like everyone from waitresses in the local coffee shop to college students can reel off their extra credits. (Although most anecdotes seem to end on the cutting-room floor.)
Local-entertainment talk-show host George Peroulas was an extra when The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was filmed in Charlotte, and he told me how he and the other extras would cross the street from hair and makeup through a tunnel “so no one would see our crazy costumes, which included a pair of David Bowie’s boots.” The local paper, the Star News, even has a column on Sundays listing what’s filming there at the moment, in case the blocked-off streets and trailers around town aren’t obvious enough.
And it’s not just Wilmington. The state landscape— mountains in the west, beaches in the east and battlefields, plantations and Rockwell-esque towns in between—has been the backdrop for hundreds of films and TV shows, ranging from Iron Man 3 and The Hunger Games to Homeland and Sleepy Hollow.
But the North Carolina landscapes that may be most beloved are those from Dawson’s Creek and One Tree Hill, which, for 15 years between them, provided viewers with an ongoing diet of teen melodrama and locals with celeb sightings and steady work. It has been years since the shows went off the air, but tourists from across the world (Germans and Australians are particularly fanatical, apparently) still come to town in search of locations like One Tree Hill’s River Court (gone now) and the actual Dawson’s Creek (really named Bradley Creek, accessible via the historic Airlie Gardens).
NorthCarolina’s natural vistas appear in many movies and TV shows, including The Hunger Games,
Homeland and Sleepy Hollow.