HBO series ‘True Detective’ to begin production in Fayetteville

Mahershala Ali will play Detective Wayne Hays in the third season of the HBO series “True Detective.”


Fayetteville will be the backdrop for the third season of the HBO series “True Detective.”

The news comes from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, which issued a news release Friday after weeks of speculation stemming from the Fayetteville City Council’s recent decision to spend $500,000 to lure a TV show to town.

In the release, AEDC Director Mike Preston called it “the largest and most expensive production” in Arkansas to date.

“We’re thrilled HBO chose to film the series in Arkansas,” said Arkansas 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, along with the support provided by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, made Northwest Arkansas an easy choice.”

Devin Howland, the Fayetteville’s director of economic vitality, said the unnamed series production has a total budget of $70 million and will take place over a nine-month period. The production crew for the show, Howland said, totals over 236 people with a payroll of about $38 million, and includes over 100 temporary “quality compensation” jobs for local residents.

Howland told City Council members in October a conservative expectation of the direct sales tax revenue in Fayetteville would be about $899,000 if the production were filmed here.

City Finance Director Paul Becker said the $500,000 would come from the city’s reserves in two equal installments over the next two years. Becker said the city’s available reserves would be at about $6 million by the end of this year.

Steve Clark, president of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, said the Ozark region is becoming a hotspot for entertainment programs, and noted the recent success of the Netflix crime drama series “Ozark,” starring, directed and executive produced by Jason Bateman. Less than a month after its release the series was renewed for a 10-episode second season.

“People have become totally captivated with the Ozarks and its scenery,” said Clark.

In his plea to City Council members to support the series, Clark said the city’s $500,000 commitment would be “the most significant effort ever made by an Arkansas city to support this type of employment and the creative economy.”

The third installment of the HBO crime anthology will star Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali. Ali has starred in films like “Moonlight,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Predators,” “The Place Beyond the Pines,” “Hidden Figures,” and “The Hunger Games” series. He is also known for his role as Remy Danton in the Netflix series “House of Cards.”

The series, which premiered in 2014, is created by Nic Pizzolatto, who received his MFA at the University of Arkansas.

Production is expected to begin in early 2018.

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