Where is ‘Ozark’ filmed?

Netflix’s sleeper hit of the year is an unlikely combination of Breaking Bad meets Deliverance, boosted by the talents of Jason Bateman, television’s most likeable man, and Laura Linney, its most convincingly tragic. It follows the descent into the underworld of Marty Byrde (Bateman), a financial consultant turned money launderer who has to up sticks from Chicago in something of a hurry. He and wife Wendy (Linney) resettle their nuclear family in Missouri, at the Lake of the Ozarks, a manmade reservoir known as the Redneck Riviera after its popularity with watersporting holidaymakers of all classes.

The Ozarks’ last major screen role was in Winter’s Bone (2010), the Jennifer Lawrence drama that focused on the area’s other claims to fame: drugs and rural poverty. Both feature in Ozark, but this time the area was chosen because series creator Bill Dubuque worked at one of the lake’s tourist spots when he was in high school. As it turns out, however, what we see isn’t really the Ozarks at all.

The show sets the scene with some of the area’s best-known landmarks, including the Byrde family’s first sight of the lake at Lover’s Leap, a viewpoint on the west side, and Bagnell Dam, the barrier built in 1929 to create the lake. The majority of the filming, though, takes place hundreds of miles away in Georgia, around the lakes of Allatoona and Lanier. According to Bateman, who also produces and directs, the region offered ‘some really great colour and grit to the aesthetic that’s perfect for the rural flavour that we want’. (The state’s generous tax breaks probably helped too.)

Lake Lanier

The Byrdes’ lakeside family home, a pastoral idyll complete with its own pier to the front and deep pine woods to the rear, is in the cutely named Flowery Branch, at the edge of Van Pugh North Park on a peninsula jutting into the south edge of Lake Lanier. Just next door is the home of Sam Dermody, Wendy’s real-estate boss, while another key character, local minister Mason Young, is in Buford, a short drive south-west.

Over at Allatoona is the Blue Cat Lodge, the diner and gas station that Marty takes over early in Season one as a front for his shady dealings. On a south-eastern bend of the lake, it was formerly the Little River Grill, and at the end of filming reopened as JD’s on the Lake. It’s across the road from the Little River Marina Center, where we see members of the criminally inclined Langmore family working on boats.

This gothic crime thriller from Netflix dips deep into the murky underworld of the Missouri lakes

The inside of the Blue Cat, closely modelled on the Ozark venue where Bill Dubuque worked, was recreated alongside other interiors at Eagle Rock Studios in Norcross, a town between Allatoona and Lanier. This is also where you can find the abandoned building used as the front of the Lickety Splitz strip club, another of Marty’s investments. It’s close to Jones Bridge Park, where we see Russ Langmore fishing with the undercover FBI agent who’s on Marty’s tail.

While much of the filming is concentrated on the lakes, the production spreads its net across the many small towns in between. Season one saw filming at classic barbecue diner Williamson Bros in Marietta, at a motel in Conyers and in Lawrenceville for Dermody’s real-estate office. In season two, Mount Pisgah Methodist Church in Johns Creek was used for a funeral scene. On a larger scale, the home of Mexican ganglord Del was in fact Chateau Elan in Braselton, south-east of Lake Lanier, a manicured green-field country-club resort.

Chateau Elan in Braselton

While the show is a great advert for Georgia’s wide-open spaces, the Lake of the Ozarks locals clearly aren’t worried about being snubbed, if a new bar near Bagnell Dam is anything to go by. Called Marty Byrde’s, it shamelessly invites customers with the motto ‘Come help us launder some money!’

If you are going to Alatoona and Lake Lanier, here is where to stay:

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