For a town annually overtaken by fabulously wealthy and influential creatives, Park City sure sputtered and flailed to get going on its own path to stardom. Sundance never seemed to translate to homegrown films, and Utah Film Studios, (formerly known as Park City Film Studio) suffered through growing pains. Those desperate for a television show or movie set outside of Los Angeles or New York waited patiently for signs of life. Blood and Oil’s 10-episode run on ABC hinted at a future, even if the show centered on a character named Hap Briggs wasn’t destined for a long life. A24’s horror film Hereditary was the surprise of Sundance 2018 on its way to becoming a commercial success and a critical darling. The floodgates are opening. Maybe it’s the rugged landscape and stunning backgrounds. Maybe it’s the state’s tax incentives. Maybe those fabulously wealthy creatives just like hanging out in Park City when they’re not working. Regardless, you don’t need to leave your couch to see your favorite mountain town now that it’s hit the big time.
The primary buzz around Mosaic is the show’s innovative filming structure that allows viewers to navigate the show’s mystery through the central characters’ individual points of view. The Steven Soderbergh-helmed project boasts an all-star cast including Sharon Stone, Garrett Hedlund, James Ransone and Paul—Pee-Wee Herman—Reubens, so it’s really saying something that Park City itself stands out as perhaps the show’s most iconic character. The opening episode of Mosaic contains immediately recognizable locations around town. For example, the dive bar scene is shot at O’Shucks—peanuts, schooners and all. The scenes where nefarious dealings go down are shot in Fletcher’s basement bar. The post-ski scenes prominently feature the Orange Bubble Express and ski beach at Canyons Village. The St. Regis gets more than its fair share of appearances as temporary home to a con-man. Even the Kimball Junction UPS Store, The Spur, Main Street Pizza & Noodle and No Name Saloon have cameos. The fictional town of Summit, Utah is so clearly Park City it’s a wonder the creators didn’t just call it what it is. Mosaic authentically nails Park City’s shoulder season drabness in a way that will appeal to anyone who’s experienced the town’s moodier vibes. watchmosaic.com
More Television Made in Utah
I know we’re supposed to be talking about Park City’s starring role, but this seems like a good time to mention a couple other players in Utah’s booming television and film industry. For those of you who’ve been living under a rock, HBO aired Westworld’s second season in June, which featured striking shots of Utah’s iconic desert landscapes. Little Women star Lucas Grabeel returned to the scene of his High School Musical fame for the film’s 2018 update. Horror film Behind You—recently released in theaters—is picking up where Hereditary left off after it wrapped filming in Utah County. film.utah.gov, utahfilmstudios.com
Yellowstone, Paramount Network
Where Mosaic zigs, Yellowstone zags. Trade claustrophobic shots of luxury, mountain-contemporary interiors for expansive helicopter shots of mountain landscapes. Exchange a convoluted whodunit for a theatrical melodrama in the mold of Days of Our Lives. Yellowstone’s production utilized all 45,000 feet of Utah Film Studios’ three sound stages during the first season, and many of “Montana’s” magnificent landscapes are actually shot in Utah. Kevin Costner’s leading turn as extraordinarily-wealthy rancher John Dutton can be campy fun at times, and when it’s not, at least Yellowstone’s film-quality cinematography complements fitting western themes of land use, corruption, exploitation and power. Paramount Network—also known as the rebranded Spike TV—has already announced a second season and internet sleuths have already hinted at Costner’s likely return as leading man. The drama returns to Park City, I mean Montana, in 2019. paramountnetwork.com/shows/yellowstone
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