Inside Look at the "True Detective" TV Series Production in NWA


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — The Ozarks are getting the Hollywood treatment as Northwest Arkansas serves as the backdrop for a major television production. KNWA visited one of the set locations of HBO’s ‘True Detective: Season 3,’ to show how much Arkansas itself plays a role in the show.

“I said ‘Man, I would love to do that,” Oscar winning actor Mahershala Ali remembered while thinking back to watching the first season of the show. “That’s what I want to do. I would love to be on that show.”

Ali was instantly drawn to HBO’s critically acclaimed True Detective series for his first major starring role. And the production was drawn here to Northwest Arkansas, getting treated to a little Southern hospitality.

“I’m from the Bay Area,” Ali shared. “You try to shoot on the street in San Francisco, you might get a bullhorn, (laughs) ‘get the heck out of here,’ you know kind of thing. But here, the neighbors have been really gracious and kind to us.”

Show creator and writer Nic Pizzolatto, a University of Arkansas graduate, says he had Arkansas in mind when he wrote this upcoming season that’s now in production. He says it was necessary to shoot it here.

“Having lived for four years in Fayetteville, I found this area extremely evocative and powerful,” Pizzolatto offered.

The full on Hollywood production offers Starwagons set up for the stars and craft services workers feed the whole crew. However, one of the most interesting aspects of the whole operation is the fact that Arkansas is taking a leading role.

“I feel landscape is a character, definitely in what I do and I wanted that character,” Pizzolatto explained.

“It has such a presence in the story that it would have been a shame if we’d shot it any other place,” Ali shared.

While shooting at the location in Madison County, the owners of Tugboat’s Place were only too happy to share what their brush with the big studio team and its stars has been life

“They have been awesome,” Tugboat’s Place Co-owner Tina Harris explained. “They’ve been real courteous. We apparently come off as really friendly because we get lots of compliments, yeah.”

“These guys have been the greatest,” Tugboat’s Place Co-owner Justin Harris said. “[We] couldn’t ask for better, courteous, friendly [people]. Whatever they needed we took care of, whatever we needed they took care of for us. It’s just been super.”

As for more Hollywood productions coming to the region, Ali offered some advice.

“This area’s gonna’ get maybe busier than you want (laughs), in the next five or ten years,” Ali said with a laugh. “So, hold on to your homes.”

As for Ali’s favorite discovery shooting here in Northwest Arkansas, he says two things come to mind. He was struck by the kindness of the people in the region and what he was most surprised by, our region’s love of the arts. ‘True Detective: Season 3’ is expected to premier in 2019 on HBO.

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