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'Sleepy Hollow' showcases productions moving to NC

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TWC News: 'Sleepy Hollow' showcases productions moving to NC
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WILMINGTON -- One of biggest stars of the new show Sleepy Hollow stopped by News 14 Carolina's coastal newsroom Thursday and shared his thoughts on filming in the Tar Heel State.

As the film industry in Wilmington is celebrating a banner past year, officials in California are declaring a state of emergency as more and more productions are leaving the state behind.

Orlando Jones spoke highly of the Port City when he sat down for an interview. “It’s so beautiful; I don’t know how you couldn’t love it," Jones said of Wilmington. "I think we were all sort of like … huh, we can do this!”

Jones is one of the stars of the upcoming Fox television series Sleepy Hollow , which is filming in Wilmington. It is a show he said will combine comedy with drama and suspense as the Revolutionary War-period character Ichabod Crane is resurrected in a modern day Sleepy Hollow.

"I play Detective Irving, and I’m from Manhattan. I’m not from Sleepy Hollow ," Jones described of his character. "Then I meet this guy who says he’s 250 years old and his wife is a witch and that the war of good and evil, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse has returned and I’m like … ‘OK, all of you all are crazy!’”

While having shows like Sleepy Hollow film here is great news for North Carolina, it is spelling trouble for California, as it is losing productions to states with more enticing film incentives.

"A lot of times when we go to California to meet with clients, they tell us that, even though their corporate headquarters are there and that's where a lot of decisions are made, they're not actually producing projects there," said Johnny Griffin of the Wilmington Film Commission.

The mayor of Los Angeles even declared a state of emergency Monday over "runaway production." California has seen a 9 percent drop in filming over the past 10 years, resulting in a loss of 90,000 jobs.

Griffin said he believes that demonstrates just how important incentives are to continuing the success of this area’s film industry.

"The business is ripe for picking," he said. "They are looking for places to go to make these projects outside of California. So, that's why we're trying to be very aggressive in letting them know what we have to offer here."

Jones said he simply appreciates areas like Wilmington for their simplicity and welcoming environments.

"In Wilmington people will come up and say hi and talk to you," he said. "I think there’s a lot less interest in the silliness of celebrity here, which I really like.”

And those are the qualities he said may just keep him coming back to Hollywood East.

"I don’t know if you’re going to get me out of Wilmington," he said with a smile.

Jones told News 14 Carolina that Sleepy Hollow will be filming in Wilmington as least through the end of the year and possibly longer if the show is renewed. Sleepy Hollow premieres on Sept. 16 on Fox.

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