NORTH CAROLINA HOL­LY­WOOD EAST

Take in the land of Ni­cholas Sparks movies and Kat­niss Everdeen’s hunt­ing grounds.

Elle (Canada) - - Travel Special - BY SARAH LAING

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.

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