Hollywood and its filmmakers have looked to Arkansas to prove a unique and compelling backdrop for some remarkable stories. Here is a list of a few films and television shows where the setting was The Natural State, or despite the stories being set in other states, the projects were, in fact, produced in Arkansas.
“Sling Blade” (1996)
This Oscar-winning drama was written and directed by Hollywood legend Billy Bob Thornton and was primarily filmed in Benton, Arkansas. The story of “Sling Blade” centers on the life of an intellectually challenged man right after he’s been released from prison. Billy Bob Thornton pulls triple duty here, as he also acts as the film’s lead character.
Fun Fact: Billy Bob Thornton put crushed glass in his shoes to make his walking consistently awkward.
“True Detective” Season Three (2018)
True Detective’s Season three stars Mahershala Ali and Stephen Dorff, and the story takes place in Northwest Arkansas including Fayetteville, Bentonville, Lincoln, Rogers, and Springdale. The forests are the setting for the show’s mystery, and their beauty is on full display. The season’s filming is the “largest and most expensive production” they have ever had in Arkansas.
Fun Fact: Creator Nic Pizzolatto is a University of Arkansas alum and had the Fayetteville area in mind while writing the story.
“Winter’s Bone” (2010)
Eventual Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence gives one of her first memorable performances in this independent drama, which is based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell. “Winter’s Bone” was shot throughout the Ozark region of Arkansas.
Fun Fact: Jennifer Lawrence learned how to skin squirrels, chop wood, and fight for her role.
“Stranger Things” (2016-present)
Like the first TV series mentioned above, this series is not set in Arkansas. It’s quite famously set in the fictional city of Hawkins, Indiana. But parts of the third season were filmed in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The sci-fi horror series follows the supernatural misadventures of a group of teenagers in the 1980s.
Fun Fact: Little Rock’s own Hendrix Yancey played Thirteen on the show.
“Mud” was written and directed by Little Rock, Arkansas native Jeff Nichols. It’s a coming-of-age drama about that centers around two Arkansas boys encountering the titular named Mud, a fugitive in need of their help. The film stars Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey and was mostly filmed in Dumas, Arkansas.
Fun Fact: Almost half of the crew were Arkansas residents, and over four hundred locals were extras.
These are just a few of the great stories that have been filmed in Arkansas. All feature locations worth visiting. When driving through the state to visit them, Farm Bureau Insurance of Arkansas has you covered with high-quality car insurance. Use our Agent Finder to get started on a quote today.