It marks one of the first films greenlit by local officials to resume production in the state in the wake of COVID-19.
Filming began on June 15 will the support of SAG AFTRA and the gothic thriller has hired a safety task coordinator in order to ensure that all social distancing guidelines and precautions will be enforced on set.
The cast and crew will receive regular COVID-19 testing, temperature screenings, and symptom monitoring. The production team has also worked with local and state government officials including Trumann Mayor Barbara Luellen, Arkansas Film Commissioner Christopher Crane, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and the members of the Arkansas Department of Health to approve day-to-day regulations in order to begin filming.
Set in a post-Civil War Arkansas circa 1886, the film follows a young black doctor who is summoned by his uncle to a remote town in the Ozarks only to discover upon his arrival that the utopian paradise is not all that it seems to be.
Produced by HCT Media and Devil Tub Productions, the film is directed by Matt Glass and Jordan Wayne Long and the screeplay was written by Long, Tara Perry and Sean Anthony Davis. Tim Blake Nelson, who recently starred in HBO’s Watchmen, and David Arquette will both star and produce the film with XTR’s Christina McLarty Arquette and Michael May also producing.
HCT Media consulted Dr. Charles Barber specifically on the COVID Rapid 19 testing. In addition to isolating and testing cast and crews, the production is enforcing social distancing and masks at all times. Other safety precautions include isolating the cast and crew together renting out an entire floor of a hotel, individually packaged food items, protective gear for makeup artists, and individual makeup kits for each actor. Crew are also wearing costumes to serve as extras to keep the least amount of people possible on set.
“I am pleased to welcome HCT Media back to Arkansas for the production of Ghosts of the Ozark,” Governor Hutchinson said. “This is one of the first films approved to resume production in Arkansas since the beginning of the COVID-19 public health emergency. I appreciate the dedicated efforts of the state and community partners who made this possible by creating a comprehensive action plan designed to prioritize the health and safety of the cast and crew. Today’s announcement demonstrates once again that Arkansas is open and ready for business.”
“As independent filmmakers, we know that we have to find a safe way back to filming in this new normal that will be here for years. This is a scary time, not only the state of the world, but financially for so many of our team who are freelancers and we want to support them as best we can. It’s the least we can do when they’ve had our backs for years. Our team is like family to us and our number one priority is keeping them safe and employed in these strange times,” said HCT Media’s Jordan Wayne Long, Matt Glass and Tara Perry.