The show isn't filmed in the Ozarks.
Despite the series being named Ozark and the show actually taking place in the Ozarks, that is not, in fact where Ozark is actually filmed. While the show uses exterior shots of the Ozark to establish the setting, the interior shots are all filmed elsewhere, and there’s a reason for that.
The show is mostly filmed in Atlanta, Georgia. The set was constructed based on the Alhonna Resort in the Ozarks. Many of the scenes of the show are filmed near Lake Allatoona and Lake Lanier. The family home of the Byrdes is on a peninsula at Lake Lanier. Many other scenes are filmed in Eagle Rock Studios Atlanta.
The showrunners actually learned how to launder money.
Since the premise around Ozark centers around a man involved in money laundering, it was essential to the show’s creators that they knew exactly how that worked. While most people watching probably wouldn’t have known the difference if they just made it all up, it was important that it was authentic.
Caring about everything down to the details, the Ozark team talked to a real FBI agent that talked with them about her experiences with crime and money laundering. They’ve kept her around handy to ensure that the money laundering in the show is realistic and makes sense. So technically, you could be learning a thing or two from the show, but we certainly aren’t suggesting that you should!
Jason Bateman came on board the show to direct only.
Initially, Jason Bateman came onto the series to direct it. Allegedly, he was supposed to direct every episode for the show’s first season. Jason Bateman had been interested in directing a dramatic series for a while, despite the fact that he typically was not known for dramatic roles. So, once that came to fruition, Bateman wanted more.
Being an actor, hungry for a meaty dramatic role that was perhaps outside of his comfort zone, Bateman naturally became interested in the role of Marty Byrde. He would star as the show’s main protagonist, which then obviously took up more of his time, making directing more of a challenge. He would end up directing only four episodes in the first season.
The title cards are designed to foreshadow the episode.
If you have ever seen the show, you may have noticed the “O” logo on the title screen and the four symbols inside of it. You may have seen this and wondered “what’s up with those symbols and what do they mean?” Well, the symbols are actually quite significant and not just some random pictures.
The symbols within the “O” represent the individual episode. Rather than a title screen that shows the title of the episode, the symbols represent things that happen in the show, basically foreshadowing things to come. So, next time you watch be sure to pay attention and see if you can make the connections!
The show was pulled from the creator’s own life.
Okay, no, the creator Bill Dubuque was not a money launderer before he worked in the television industry — at least that we know of — but he did spend a great deal of his time in the Ozarks in his youth. He had spent his teenage years working in the Ozarks to earn some money, working as a dockhand.
The famous marina and resort had made such an impression on him that he ultimately decided to put his experiences up on the screen to share with others. He wanted to create a show that would focus around the Ozarks becoming the setting for a crime series that would instantly captivate audiences. The astonishing setting is just one element that makes the show so appealing.
Julia Garner is afraid of mice.
Julia Garner plays one of the most beloved characters on the show. Her character Ruth Langmore is a poor but smart teenager with a ton of ambition. She says what’s on her mind and doesn’t take any nonsense from anybody. While she doesn’t look very intimidating, she’s not to be messed with.
Ruth can be cold, calculating, and quite brave, but the actress is a little more on the gentle side and has fears of her own — most notably mice. One scene on the show involved a mouse, which was a panic-inducing moment for the actress. She was unable to hold the mouse and a double was actually required for the scene.
Laura Linney helped shape her character.
Since starring on the show, Laura Linney has helped shape her character over the first three seasons and continues to do so. She does this not only in the way that she portrays the character as an actress but also gives her input to the showrunners as well on which direction her character should be going.
It was actually Laura Linney’s idea for the character to become a little colder and more calculating. She didn’t want her character to be just like any other housewife, like Skyler in Breaking Bad. She wanted there to be more at stake, and at times, it’s really Laura Linney’s Wendy Byrde propelling the plot.
Laura Linney agreed to be on the show because of Bateman.
As mentioned earlier, Bateman was initially brought on only to direct. So, once Jason Bateman was offered to star on the show as well, it certainly made some notable actors interested in co-starring with him onscreen. Laura Linney only agreed to do the show because Bateman would be her co-star.
Before Ozark, Linney felt done with television. She had done enough of TV and wanted to do more films. With Bateman as the star, she became more interested in the role of Wendy and in the direction the show was taking, since Bateman is typically not the man you’d expect in a dramatic series. She saw new possibilities for the show that she hadn’t considered before.
All of the football games are pulled from the CFL
Occasionally, you’ll see characters watching football on television. If you are wondering what teams are playing or what games those moments are from, you might not be able to figure it out unless you are Canadian. The football scenes are all from Canadian Football League games, believe it or not.
Only true, eagle-eyed viewers have been able to spot this while watching the show — and clearly, viewers into Canadian football, as well. So, why is that? Some kind of copyright issue? Nope. The production team on the show is simply made up of Canadian football fans and the moments featured on the show are a nod to that.
Charlotte was almost played by a reality star.
The character of Charlotte was almost played by a reality TV star (or at least she was up for the role). Ultimately, she did not get the role, and instead, it went to Sofia Hublitz. Nevertheless, Chloe Lukasiak was from the reality series Dance Moms. The show first aired in 2011 on the Lifetime network, and it lasted eight seasons.
Chloe Lukasiak, daughter of Christi, was a ballet dancer from Mars, Pennsylvania, and had danced from the age of two. She appeared in the show’s first four seasons and in the latter half of season seven. During the time filming the show, and long after the show, Chloe has pursued a career in acting. Most notably she has starred in the short film “Earth Day! The Musical.”
Peter Mullan was selected before the script was even finished.
There was an interest in Peter Mullan being part of the project before the script for the show had even been completed. Peter Mullen played Mr. Snell in the show’s first two seasons. Bateman had been impressed by Mullen’s acting skills in the show Top of the Lake, and so they pursued Mullen for the role before a script was complete.
Peter Mullen is a Scottish actor and filmmaker who has been active since 1988. He has starred in such films as My Name Is Joe, Braveheart, Trainspotting, and Children of Men, among others. In addition to Ozark, he also starred in the HBO series Westworld. Next, he’ll be seen in Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series.
The Ozark team hates killing off characters.
Some showrunners seem to get their kicks from killing off your favorite characters on a television series, like those guys who made Lost and that nerdy boat captain-looking dude who came up with Game of Thrones. We’re not saying they are sociopaths — but you, know…they might be. Regardless, for the showrunners of Ozark, killing characters isn’t always fun.
The production team of Ozark allegedly tends to lament the death of their characters, but they do it out of necessity for the story. It keeps up the suspense and allows the story to move in new directions. But killing a character off also means saying goodbye to a cast member and co-worker and that is never easy.
Jason Bateman wears his favorite shoes on the set.
Jason Bateman doesn’t just wear any shoes on the set of Ozark, nor does he pick a carefully selected pair from the show’s costume designer. No, Jason Bateman tends to wear what he wants and that means wearing his favorite sneakers from New Balance. It’s not even a particularly fancy brand of shoe but Bateman loves them.
Apparently, Jason Bateman loves New Balance sneakers so much that he wears them on every set. You may not have noticed this before, but you certainly will now. Hey, if you are going to be standing outside on a set all day, you might as well be comfortable while you are doing it. He’s probably especially grateful to have them when he’s doing those running scenes.
The final season was filmed in 40 different locations
The final season is sure to be epic. From the ending of the last season, you can probably gather that we are going to see some new locations on the show and that assumption would not be wrong. The new, final season was filmed in over 40 different locations. Locations were spread across the United States, and we are anxious to see just where in the new season.
Unfortunately, the show’s fourth season will be its final season. There will be 14 episodes, which is more than any of the previous seasons, but they will be split, scheduled for release on Netflix at separate times. The first half of the season will release on January 21nd 2022, a date that fans have been waiting anxiously for.
They’ve known since season two how it’s going to end.
As shows come to an end, it’s always a concern that the ending will feel rushed. After all, the journey to the ending is often slow-building and the pacing for endings is usually cranked-up. For anyone worried that the final season of Ozark is coming too soon, know that they have been planning for it for a while now.
In fact, the showrunners have had the ending in mind as far back as season two, and even Jason Bateman knew that ending. He just didn’t know the specifics as to how the Byrde family gets there. Regarding the ending, in an interview with Indiewire, Jason Bateman had this to say:
“The specifics leading up to it, I didn’t really grind him on. But I was interested in the big question he has the opportunity to answer: Are they going to get away with it, or are they going to pay a bill? What does he want to message to the audience about the consequences of what the Byrdes have done — or lack thereof?”
Ozark Has Received 32 Primetime Emmy Nominations
Ozark has had much success with audiences and critics alike. Ozark has a critic score of 86% on Rotten Tomatoes, making it certified fresh. And with audiences, it is even higher at 90% as of 2022. On top of this, the show has received numerous accolades for all its achievement in television.
Ozark has received a total of 32 Primetime Emmy Award nominations throughout the course of the show, except for the final season of which the nominees have yet to be determined. Out of the nominations, it has won three awards. In 2019, Jason Bateman received the award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series. In 2019 and in 2020, Julia Garner earned the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.
The Ozark Crew Visited “Meth Mountain”
For research purposes, the Ozark filming crew visited “Meth Mountain.” This happened back in 2016, when the crew ventured to the Ozarks to speak with local politicians, visit numerous restaurants and main attractions in the area, so that everyone would understand the area a bit better and could draw inspiration from it.
Meth Mountain was one of the more or less unscrupulous areas of Missouri that the crew visited, also including a local strip club. This area is notorious for its methamphetamine production. Its remote location puts it, particularly on the radar versus other meth empires. No meth was purchased as far as we know.
The Show Uses Real-Life Missouri Phrases
To ground Ozark in reality and make it as authentic as possible, Chris Mundy used real phrases straight out of Missouri. One such phrase was “FT” which translates to “F*** the Tourists.” The phrase refers to an annual party that is held, celebrating the end of the tourist season.
Producer Chris Mundy had told Drama Quarterly about a book of Missouri phrases that he possessed. He created the book himself, of course, and wrote everything down as he heard it on location. He then tries to work as many of these phrases into the script as possible. It really helps to transport us into another world.
There Is A Marty Byrde Restaurant At The Lake Of The Ozarks
There is now a Marty Byrde restaurant at the Lake of the Ozarks. In an effort to capitalize on the success of the show, a restaurant called Marty Byrde’s opened in the area in 2018. It is owned by Brent Boyle, who has been in the restaurant business for 20 years. The name of the restaurant and some of the menu items are based on the show.
The items offered by the establishment include “Ruth’s Smoked Wings” named after the character of Ruth Langmore, “Wendy's Philly Steak Sandwich” and “Darlene’s Killer Lemonade.” Before 2018, resort business in the Ozark was kind of static. Not really increasing, but the show has certainly made an impact, even if it does portray it in a negative light.
Sophia Hublitz Appeared On Masterchef Junior
Sophia Hublitz, who plays Charlotte Byrde on Ozark, made an appearance on TV much earlier in life. She appeared on the show Masterchef Junior in 2013. In the episode, she had made a mistake during the cooking process which had made her upset. She was then comforted by Gordon Ramsay, who apparently has a soft spot for the kiddos.
After her appearance on that show, she started acting. She had starred in two episodes of Louie as a character named Danielle Hoffman and played Young Silvia in a web series called Horace and Pete. Of course, most people will recognize her on the street as Charlotte, in part because she plays the character so well.
The Lake Of The Ozarks Is Actually Man Made
The Lake of the Ozarks is not a naturally formed lake. Like many lakes out there, it was made by humans, basically making it a big natural swimming pool. It was created in the pursuit of a hydroelectric power plant on the Osage River back in 1912. However, this never came to be.
Ralph Street eventually abandoned the project and the Bagnell Dam was built instead. By 1931, the lake was formed. During its construction, it was known as Lake Osage, or sometimes, the Osage Reservoir. Towns near the construction site were forced to pack up and leave due to flooding. Eventually, the lake was officially named Lake Benton but the locals would call it the Lake of the Ozarks.
Ozark Means “Of Arkansas”?
Nobody knows exactly where the name Ozarks came from but there are some theories as to where it comes from. Some believe it’s an anglicized pronunciation of the abbreviation “aux arcs” – “Aux Arcansas.” This means “Of Kansas” in French, making this story the most likely version.
If you are not familiar with the area, the Ozark Mountains can be found in the highland region of Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Their elevation is 2,561 ft with the highest point being in the Boston Mountains. The Ozarks cover approximately 47,000 square miles, making it one of the most extensive highland regions in the country.
The Wizard Of Oz Fan Theory
One fan theory about the show posits that the show is actually an homage to the Wizard of Oz. There are numerous explanations as to the “why” of it all but we’ll break it down briefly. The first reason is in the name, as Oz is present in the name Ozarks. But really, that’s not a good enough argument, so let’s go on.
In addition to that, there’s the presence of the Kansas City Mafia, and the black crows which harken back to the scarecrow. And then there are the poppies – the flowers that made Dorothy fall asleep in the Wizard of Oz. But these are just some of the connections being made.
Arrested Development Connections
Ozark shares a few connections with Jason Bateman’s other successful television show “Arrested Development,” albeit, some of these may not be an intentional homage, but their similarities exist nonetheless. So what are they exactly? Here are some we could not help but notice.
One of the most obvious connections is where Marty Byrde stuffs his cash: in the walls of the resort. This is much like how his character in “Arrested Development” hides cash in the Banana Stand operated by his son. Additionally, Marty has made references to maritime law, a subject that his character Michael Bluth also knew much about.
Why the Show Has a Blue Filter
If you have ever seen the show, one of the things that is most prominent about the aesthetic of it is how blue it is. The blue and green filter in the show has some significance according to the production team. The most obvious reason of course is that the material itself is dark so it goes with the tone of the show.
Moreover, it is intended to convey what is done in the shadows in Ozark's deep criminal underworld – the laundering, murder and shady dealings. The look of the show is also heavily influenced by films like Traffic, and Animal Kingdom, according to Cinematographer Ben Kutchins. So, no, it's not just because everybody on the show is sad – or colorblind.
Art imitates life: A Real-Life Criminal Once Hid in the Ozarks
Although it is not certain whether the production team was aware of this, there was a real-life criminal that too hid out in the Ozarks much like Marty Byrde. The man in question, Eddie Maher, was a security driver who had stolen $1.6 million from a truck he himself drove and fled to the United States.
He hid in the United States for almost two decades. He started out in Chicago, just like the Byrdes, and then moved to Ozark, Missouri. It was there that his son’s wife had turned him into the authorities. The entire time, this man was living under the name Stephen King. To be clear, it was not the actual writer. He’s a good boy – mostly.
The show Makes Real-life Ozark Resort Owners Nervous
Sometimes people have difficulty discerning fiction from reality and that can lead to people having negative and often misguided perceptions about certain things based on what they see or read. Ozark is one such place that is undoubtedly affected by it to some degree, but the people that work there hope not too much.
Shirley Gross-Russel owns the resort where Ozark takes place and she’s one such person who is optimistic that people can tell the fiction from reality and will continue visiting the Ozarks. So, please don’t go there looking for hidden cash or anything illegal for that matter. Nevertheless, if anything is keeping people away, it would more likely be COVID as the bigger culprit.
Ozark also shares a connection with one particular name: Lorenzo. For one, Laura Linney starred in the 1992 film Lorenzo’s Oil by George Miller, alongside Nick Nolte and Susan Sarandon. Meanwhile, Jason Bateman played a character named Lorenzo Zoil with Simon Pegg in the film Paul.
Of course, there are many other connections to be made with their past work but often times they are just coincidental. For example, Laura Linney guest starred on the sitcom Frasier, also starring Kelsey Grammar, and in that show played Charlotte – the same name as her daughter on Ozark.
Covid Stopped Production of Ozark
Much like everything else in life, Covid restrictions put a hold on the production of Ozark. Due to the uncertainty of the illness, a lack of vaccines and numerous deaths related to the virus, delaying production on the final season was necessary and also mandated due to the lockdown. However, restrictions would eventually be lifted.
For those who followed certain guidelines, business and filming productions could resume, even if they weren’t essential workers - and the Ozark crew jumped at the opportunity. Jason Bateman told IndieWire, “We’re going to start November 9…Everything is moving well toward that, and we’re very confident in the guidelines and protocols we’re going to be following. We’ve got tons of consultants, [and] we’re learning a lot from other productions.”
Part 2 is Coming Soon
It was hard when we all saw that the first part of season four (aired early in January) left us all on a pretty big cliffhanger. What will happen to Ruth? What was up with that car crash? Will the Byrdes make it out of this alive? There are so many questions we are waiting to get answered.
The season was split in an effort to get more episodes out of Netflix and give their story a proper conclusion. Originally they had planned for 10, but realized during the writing process they needed more time. Christ Mundy had this to say to TVLine: “Fourteen was something that, if divided up, would [allow] each part to feel substantial and distinct. And it felt like a good number where we could [finish out] the story but not overstay our welcome.” Part 2 is coming April 29, 2022.