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RALEIGH, N.C. ― The title says Ebbing, Missouri, but the heart of Martin McDonagh’s Golden Globe-winning film lies in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Film travelers can discover the timeless towns where the action was staged in a new trip planner posted by Visit North Carolina.
McDonagh cast Sylva, Dillsboro, Maggie Valley and Black Mountain as the fictional title town for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” which stars Frances McDormand as a mother who badgers the local police department for failing to solve her daughter’s murder. Since opening in November, “Three Billboards” has amassed a long list of awards and nominations from critics and the film industry. On Sunday it won Golden Globes for best motion picture-drama, best actress-drama (McDormand), best supporting actor-drama (Sam Rockwell) and best screenplay (McDonagh). The Golden Globes often foreshadow the Oscars.
The trip planner from Visit North Carolina directs film fans to sites including the consignment/gift shop Sassy Frass in Sylva, which stood in for the Ebbing Police Department; Country Traditions, a Dillsboro food and beverage shop that doubled as the workplace for McDormand’s character; J. Arthur’s Restaurant in Maggie Valley; Town Pump Tavern in Black Mountain as Ebbing’s local bar; and the location of the billboards during the shoot. It also leads to Asheville, where Woody Harrelson (who played Police Chief Willoughby) spent time.
“We’re excited about the prospect of film travelers discovering some of North Carolina’s classic mountain towns as a result of the movie’s success,” said Wit Tuttell, executive director of Visit North Carolina. “We expect ‘Three Billboards’ to join ‘The Hunger Games,’ ‘Dirty Dancing’ and other films that have drawn fans to the locations and the experiences the area offers.”
Filming for “Three Billboards” took place February-June 2016 in Jackson, Buncombe and Haywood counties and created more than 350 job opportunities for talent and crew. The direct in-state spend was $12.6 million.
After making the rounds at major film festivals (it won the People’s Choice Award in Toronto and Denver), “Three Billboards” opened in limited release on Nov. 10. It has been honored by the American Film Institute as well as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which presents the Golden Globes. The film made the nominations for the Producers Guild of America (awards presentation is Jan. 20), the Screen Actors Guild (Jan. 21) and the Film Independent Spirit Awards (March 3). Nominations for the Academy Awards will be announced Jan. 23; the awards ceremony is March 4.
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