Is Oklahoma the next Hollywood? How the state’s film industry has thrived despite COVID-19
EDMOND — On a spring day inside Wantland Stadium, football players are running through drills while coaches bark instructions and critiques.
Instead of the University of Central Oklahoma’s bronze and blue, through, the players are decked out in green and gold, to match the vintage Green Bay banners flapping in the frisky Oklahoma wind.
And the player on the sidelines washing out of training is none other than “Shazam!” star Zachary Levi, who is portraying a hall of fame quarterback in the Oklahoma-made movie “American Underdog: The Kurt Warner Story.”
“So this is Green Bay Packers training camp, and most of this will be visual effects,” producer Kevin Downes said in a March interview on the set of the biopic, which recently wrapped filming in the Oklahoma City metro area. “For me, it’s been a long five months, but here we go. We’re at the finish line.”
Even as COVID-19 has been keeping many movie theaters closed, Oklahoma’s film and television industry continues to show promising growth even amid the lingering pandemic, which has slowed or stopped production in other parts of the country. As the state marks the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma Film Rebate Program, show business is burgeoning in the Sooner State.
By: Brandy McDonnell