Tuesday, May 19, 2015

'American Crime' returns to Austin for second season

When I interviewed American Crime creator John Ridley for The Austin Chronicle prior to the show's 11-episode run on ABC, he hinted that a second season was possible and that it likely would lens in the Austin area as the first season did. Correct on both. 

(Read down for even more TV shooting in Austin....)

According to Deadline, both Felicity Huffman and Timothy Hutton will come back for season two, which will center on an entirely different crime. The first season was an ambitious telling of the impact of a double murder on the lives of the victims' and suspects' lives. Ratings weren't spectacular, but it received plenty of critical acclaim and is expected to garner award nominations for its deft handling of issues of racial and class divides in America.

"TV has overtaken film here of late," Gary Bond of the Austin Film Commission said of the welcome Austin film industry news. 'I like it. Steady work for our crew. The gift that keeps on giving."

Indeed, Robert Rodriguez's series From Dusk Till Dawn is shooting its second season around town, and HBO's The Leftovers relocated and is currently lensing its sophomore season to Austin. ABC's Shonda Rhimes pilot The Catch shot here recently and just got picked up to series. No word on if the series will shoot in Austin, but insiders say it is a distinct possibility.

The American Crime announcement also comes as the Texas Legislature hammers out just how much funding in the coming two years will go to the state's Moving Image Industry Incentive Program, which allocates bucks to attract films, television and video game production to the Lone Star State. Some of the official silliness has including attacks on actor Sean Penn's political views (he had a role in Terrence Malick's Oscar-nominated The Tree of Life, which shot in Texas five years ago) as an excuse to cut funding. Those in the know have said in recent years that current Texas incentives are more attractive to television productions than films, which often veer across the Texas border to Louisiana or New Mexico.

Ridley told me incentives were indeed a factor in bringing to the show to Texas. They'd also looked at Georgia and both Louisiana and New Mexico. A lot of that was the wide variety of locations, with Ridley praising the Hays County Courthouse in San Marcos in particular as a welcome find for the many judicial scenes. 

"There were other places where we could have done a good job, but Austin ended up being the right place," he said. "Beyond our headline cast there was a really, really deep group of actors that delivered."

Look for the series to shoot in July, when Texas temperatures soar. It's something Ridley told me he did not look forward to in a second season. "Everything else is wonderful, it’s a terrific environment, but the weather…," he said.

No comments: