Ozark is a Netflix Original Series created by Bill Dubuque and Mark Williams. Starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney, the series follows a family that uproots themselves and moves to the Ozarks where they can launder money. With Bateman both starring and directing, the show has gained acclaim since its first release in 2017, winning countless awards along the way. See what makes the show so special and some behind-the-scenes facts that not even the biggest fans know.
The Showrunners Learned The In And Outs Of Laundering Money
If you watch Ozark, you know that a lot of the show centers around the act of laundering money. While it may be simplified for viewers, the actual act of laundering money can be very complex, and the showrunners wanted to make sure they got it right.
They had an FBI agent come in and give them a rundown of how it usually works and their own experiences with it in the field. If you couldn’t tell from the show, this definitely paid off.
Laura Linney Was Adamant About The Role Her Character Would Play
Although Laura Linney was very interested in the show after reading the script, but she thought that her character Wendy needed to be more than just a wife.
She knew that there was a lot of unlocked potential behind what Wendy could be, so she took her thoughts to Jason Bateman. The two then sat down to discuss how better to develop her character into the incredible and powerful entity that Wendy is now on the show.
The Show Is Influenced By The Creator’s Life
If you were to think that Bill Dubuque was involved in money laundering at one point, you’d be wrong. However, he has a different tie to the show. He spent his teenage years working in the Ozarks as a dockhand at the marina and resort that is heavily featured in the show.
The Ozarks’ aesthetic clearly had an impact on Dubuque, to the point that it’s where he wanted to set his new hit television program.
The Title Card Explains The Show
There are quite a few twists and turns throughout the show, although the plot’s basics are right in front of the viewer’s eyes in the form of the title card. Each episode has a different selection of images that spell out “OZARK.”
Yet, the “O” images are always different and foreshadow what is going to take place in the episode. Of course, they’re so vague that it’s unlikely it ruin anything for audiences. Pretty cool!
Jason Bateman Feels Bad About Killing Off Characters
While some directors may laugh at audiences’ anger when one of their favorite characters dies, that isn’t the case for Jason Bateman.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Bateman commented, “Selfishly, you want everyone to stick around […] We had a really great group of actors. It’s terrible when these people have to go, but that’s the trade-off of doing these kinds of shows.” In this rare case, Bateman sympathizes with the viewers.
The Show Isn’t Filmed In The Ozarks
Despite the show’s name and the setting that appears to be where it says it takes place, Ozark isn’t actually filmed in the Ozarks. Aside from a few of the show’s pilot scenes, the majority of the show is shot in Atlanta, on Lake Allatoona and Lake Lanier in Georgia.
There are a couple of reasons for this. First, because of the tax incentives Georgia offers for filming, and also to hide where filming takes place.
Jason Bateman Was Supposed To Be The Only Director Of Season One
Although most people know Jason Bateman from his more comedic shows, what’s more impressive than his dramatic performance of Marty Byrde is that he is also one of the show’s directors.
While he directed four episodes in Season One and continues to direct, initially, he was supposed to direct the entire first season solo. However, when he didn’t have enough time to prepare due to scheduling conflicts, he had to bring in some extra help.
The Football The Characters Watch Isn’t American
On some occasions, the characters of the show are watching football games. However, only eagle-eyed viewers might be able to catch the kind of football they’re watching.
Since the show takes place in the United States, most people just assume that it’s the National Football League, but it isn’t. All of the games are from the Canadian Football League. It’s safe to assume that this must be the work of some of the production crew that are fans.
There Are Nods To Arrested Development
With Jason Bateman at the helm of numerous episodes and starring in the show, it’s not surprising that he added a few Easter eggs to reference Arrested Development here and there.
Some of the most notable ones include when Marty stashes loads of cash into the resort’s walls, a nod to the banana stand, and his growing knowledge of maritime law can be associated with the Queen Mary. This wouldn’t be the first of Bateman’s projects to tip its hat to Arrested Development.
Julia Garner Did Not Enjoy Her Scene With A Mouse
Although Julia Garner and her character Ruth Langmore are both awesome and fierce in their own ways, Garner does have one weakness. It turns out that she is deathly afraid of mice.
This came into play in a scene when she was required to pick up a rodent and drop it in the water. After almost having a panic attack, she decided that she needed to have a double in order to complete the scene.
Linney Has Thoughts On Her Character’s Morals
At times, Wendy’s actions can be described as nothing less than questionable. However, Linney has an explanation behind her character’s actions.
When talking to NPR, Linney explained, “I think she is sort of a prism. You can shine something through her, and it goes in a million different directions, and it just depends upon, you know, where she is at the moment.” This seems like a pretty apt way to describe such a complex character who is impossible to predict.
Charlotte Was Almost Played By A Reality Star
There’s no denying that Sofia Hublitz is the perfect match for Charlotte on the show. But by no means was the character written for the actress.
In fact, Chloe Lukasiak, one of the original cast members from the reality show Dance Moms, even auditioned for the role. We can imagine how heartbroken Hublitz might have been if a reality TV personality beat her out for a role that she most likely knew would be huge for her career.
Tom Pelphrey Researched Mental Illness To Prepare For His Role
In the third season of Ozark, the character Ben Davis is introduced. He is Wendy’s brother. The twist with his character is that Ben struggles with bipolar disorder, something that actor Tom Pelphrey wanted to portray correctly.
To accomplish this, Tom Pelphrey did his due diligence and researched and studied those with bipolar disorder to convey it accurately on the screen. In many fans’ opinions, he succeeded, and his character is one of the most interesting aspects of the third season.
Marty Wears The Same Brand Shoes As All Of Bateman’s Other Characters
If you’re ever watching a Jason Bateman film or show, pay close attention to the shoes that he’s wearing. If you compare them, you’ll learn that he’s wearing the same brand in all of them, which is New Balance.
This is no different in Ozark, in which Marty frequently wears the New Balance M1400DM. Unfortunately, for viewers itching to get their hands on their pair, that won’t be possible. You can’t buy these shoes anywhere. Maybe Bateman just has the right connections!
The Showrunners Wanted Peter Mullan On The Show Before The Script Was Finished
If one thing was for sure when it came to making Ozark, it’s that the show’s creators were desperate to get actor Peter Mullan on board. Mullan is a well-known character actor, writer, and director.
Some of his notable performances include as a guard in Children of Men and the owner of Delos on Westworld. After seeing him in Top of the Lake, Bateman knew he would be perfect in the show and was on him before the script was even finished.
There’s A Marvel Presence On The Show
Interestingly, a fair amount of the characters on the show have been a part of Marvel projects on Netflix prior to Ozark. Lisa Emery, who plays Darlene Snell, and Jessica Frances Dukes, who plays Maya Miller, both starred in the hit series Jessica Jones.
Furthermore, Tom Pelphrey, who plays Ben Davis, also starred in Iron Fist. We wonder if they will add any more characters from Marvel. Clearly, Marvel helps actors move on to more work!
The Blue Cat Is A Real-Life Restaurant
A well-known location of the show, The Blue Cat is one of the first establishments the Byrde family purchases once arriving in town.
The Blue Cat is not a set, but a real restaurant that goes under the name The Little River Sports Bar and Grill on Lake Allatoona. The restaurant gave the show permission to build the picnic area, pool, and the cabins, which were used for filming purposes.
Marc Menchaca Was Pleasantly Surprised With His Character
In the beginning, Marc Menchaca was pretty clueless as to the direction that his character was going. He admitted, “[i]t wasn’t until about the third or fourth episode that I began hearing from other cast members what was coming up.”
It was only then that he realized he wasn’t receiving the scripts. So, he had a sitdown with the showrunners to discuss his character’s arc. He described his feeling after the conversation as being “incredible” since he had never played such a character.
Jason Bateman And Laura Linney Almost Weren’t Involved
Leading up to Ozark, both Jason Bateman and Laura Linney weren’t really looking to star in any more television shows. However, Bateman was convinced to do the show after being offered the opportunity to produce and direct it, which he was actually interested in.
Bateman joining the project resulted in Linney doing the same because she wanted to act alongside Bateman and watch him expand his range beyond comedy. Surely, the show wouldn’t have been a hit without them.
A Lot Of Effort Was Put Into Learning To Fly Fish And Other Small Details
Because the show pays so much attention to detail, even small things such as fly fishing had to be mastered. Producer Patrick Markey brought in two experts to train two of the actors in fly fishing and go through the dialogue to delete any fishing language that wouldn’t make sense.
Actor Marc Menchaca noted, “Believe me, if we had gotten even one tiny bit of fly fishing wrong, Patrick could have never gone home to Montana.”