The story is all Florida. The location is not.
The moonlight set on Florida’s movie industry five years ago, turning the Sunshine State into a quiet place for cinematic-themed business opportunities — at least ones backed with Tallahassee-approved incentives.
TV shows and movies made in the state, such as HBO’s Ballers, fled to California, Canada, Louisiana and other locales after Florida’s $242 million transferable tax credit for the industry expired in 2016. Several lobbying groups and state lawmakers, including State Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, have been pushing to bring back a film incentive program, without success. Now incentive proponents have a new cringe-worthy story to back their play: Netflix is working on a new show called Florida Man — and it’s being filmed in North Carolina.
Tallahassee lobbyist David Johnson, in a blog post on the Tampa Bay 100, pointed out the irony, that, after nearly a decade of Florida Man making the state a punch line, when it finally gets the Hollywood treatment, it’s 500 miles away in Wilmington, North Carolina. That’s where Florida Man has been filming since August, according to the What’s on Netflix blog, and it’s scheduled to continue through November. Several Wilmington news sites reported in September that the show sought extras to play divers, car drivers and bar patrons.
Florida Man stars Emmy-nominated Edgar Ramírez, star of Netflix’s Yes Day with Jennifer Garner. He also played Gianni Versace in the FX network’s American Crime Story, which details the fashion icon’s murder, in, where else, Florida. Florida Man producers include Jason Bateman.
The official Netflix description of the show is spot-on Florida Man — the meme of all things in the state nutty, it even has its own Twitter feed. “In Florida Man, when a struggling ex-cop (Ramírez) is forced to return to his home state of Florida to find a Philly mobster’s runaway girlfriend, what should be a quick gig becomes a spiraling journey into buried family secrets, and an increasingly futile attempt to do the right thing in a place where so much is wrong. The series is described as a wild odyssey into a sunny place for shady people in the spirit of Body Heat and Elmore Leonard’s Out Of Sight.”
Sounds way better than North Carolina Man.