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Ozark is a Netflix crime drama series starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney as the money laundering married couple Marty and Wendy Byrde.
After a deal with the Navarro Cartel goes wrong, Marty Byrde relocates his family to the Lake of the Ozarks in Central Missouri to set up an even bigger money laundering operation to pay back his debts. While the Byrdes settle in they ruffle the feathers of several local crime groups including the Snells who produce Heroin and the Langmores known best for living in trailers and outside the law. Marty and his family become more intertwined with the local community, opening an Inn, a Club and a Casino. He ends up becoming a key player for both the FBI and the Navarro Cartel.
There are four seasons in total; the first 10 episode season was released on the 21st of July 2017. The fourth and final season was released in two parts - part one hit Netflix on the 21st of January 2022. Filming for the fourth season began on the 9th of November 2020 and finished on the 8th of October 2021.
Here are some little known facts about Ozark that even the biggest fans may not have heard before.
1. Jason Bateman Is The Director And Executive Producer Of Ozark
The Ozark lead and Arrested Development star Jason Bateman was reported in 2015 to be working alongside writer Bill Dubuque on a new series headed straight for Netflix. He teamed up with MRC, who are titans in the direct to series business with hits such as House Of Cards. Ozark was Jason Bateman’s next project after Office Christmas Party (2016, Speck and Gordon) and he was hoping to direct each of the ten episodes in Season One. Bateman said in a press interview that he was going to direct the first two and last two of the season as acting in all of them and prepping all episodes wasn’t realistic. Bateman also compared Season 1 of Ozark to a 600 page film, another good reason as to why acting and directing each episode would have been incredibly hectic scheduling wise.
Bateman was excited to take on a new role away from comedy, the genre for which he is most known.
2. Ozark Has Received 32 Primetime Emmy Nominations
Since it’s release, Ozark has been a hit with viewers and critics alike so much so that the series received a massive 32 Prime-Time Emmy Award nominations. Jason Bateman won Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series in 2019 and Julia Garner, who plays Ruth Langmore, won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series consecutively in 2019 and 2020.
Jason Bateman also received two Golden Globe Award Nominations for Best Actor in a Television Drama Series.
3. Bill Dubuque Worked At The Lakes In College
Ozark series creator, Bill Dubuque was inspired by his time working as a dock hand at the Alhonna Resort and Marina, Missouri during college in the 1980s. To prepare for Shooting Ozark, Jason Bateman and other crew members visited the Alhonna resort scouting for locations. Dubuque also owns a cabin on the Lake of the Ozarks and has done for the past 25 years. It was the Blue Cat Lodge in Season One of the show that was most heavily inspired by The Alhonna Resort.
4. The Ozark Crew Visited “Meth Mountain”
During the production’s visit to the Ozarks in 2016, the team Met with local politicians, visited restaurants and The main tourist attractions of the area. However they also went to some unscrupulous areas to draw inspiration. This included visiting a local adult club and Missouri’s “Meth Mountain”. The area Is infamous in the production of methamphetamine in America possibly due to its remote location.
5. Ozark Isn’t Actually Filmed At The Ozarks But In Georgia Instead
Most of the shooting locations in Ozark were actually filmed in Atlanta, Georgia at Lake Allatoona, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Reservoir on the Etowah River and Lake Lanier. This was because Georgia offered certain tax breaks to the production to film in their state. The Ozark crew constructed a set in Georgia based on the Alhonna Resort in the Lake of the Ozarks. Other Georgia locations used for the filming of Ozark were Savannah, Johns Creek, Norcross and Peachtree Corners.
6. Producer Chris Mundy Used Real Missouri Phrases In Ozark
In an interview with Drama Quarterly, the Ozark producer Chris Mundy kept a book of phrases heard on location and worked them into the final script. This included the “FT” meaning “F**k The Tourists” in reference to a party held to celebrate the tourist season ending.
7. An FBI Agent Was In The Ozark Writer’s Room
In order to show a realistic portrayal of a money-laundering operation, the Ozark crew reached out to law-enforcement officials as consultants. Chris Mundy, an Executive Producer on Ozark told Drama Quarterly that the team had Bought an FBI agent who works predominantly on financial crimes into the writers room. They also discussed the plot with a hedge fund manager who was brought in to answer questions about how to move large sums of money around.
8. There Is A Marty Byrde Restaurant At The Lake Of The Ozarks
It was reported in a Springfield News leader article that while the Netflix series Ozark has brought much notoriety to the resort it hasn’t increased business in 2017. In order to capitalise on the show's success a new restaurant named “Marty Byrdes” opened at the lake resort in 2018. It is owned by Brent Boyle, a restaurateur in the Ozarks for over 20 years and he has cleverly based some of the menu items on the show as-well. These include “Ruth’s Smoked Wings” inspired by Julia Garner’s character Ruth Langmore and “Darlene’s Killer Lemonade” after Darlene Snell played by Lisa Emery. Their menu also includes other brilliantly named favourites including the “Tropic Like It’s Hot” and “Bearded Lady” burgers.
You can find Marty Byrde’s the restaurant at 1286 Bagnell Dam, Lake Ozark, Missouri, 65049.
9. Sophia Hublitz Appeared On Masterchef Junior
Before starting her acting career, Sophia Hublitz appeared on an episode of Masterchef Junior in 2013. During her appearance she was upset after making a mistake and was comforted and assisted by Gordon Ramsay. Charlotte Byrde isn’t her only acting role; Sophia starred as Danielle Hoffman in two episodes of Louie, Louis C.K’s series and as “Young Sylvia” in Horace and Pete, a web series also created by the comedian in 2016.
10. What Do The Symbols In The Ozark Opening Credits Mean?
The mysterious drawings on the Ozark opening credits are actually hand drawn by the graphic designer Fred Davis. According to an interview in Decider, Davis first created the white “O” On the black background for the start of each episode. The circle is then quartered and four symbols appear in each quarter describing the main plot points of each episode. Each of the hand drawn symbols are also representing the remaining letters in Ozark - so despite the foreshadowing drawings, each has to clearly spell out the name of the show. For example, in episode one of season one the Z is represented by a man on his knees with his arms outstretched and the R is represented by a gun.
11. The Lake Of The Ozarks Is Actually Man Made
The Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri Was created after the pursuit of a hydroelectric power plant on the Osage River in 1912. The first effort to do this by Ralph Street was abandoned but later the Bagnell Dam was built and the lake was formed in 1931. During construction, the lake was referred to as the Osage Reservoir or Lake Osage. Small Rural towns near the Dam construction site were flooded and residents were forced to move out of the valleys which were filled with water from the lake.
It was later officially named by the Missouri general assembly as Lake Benton after Senator Thomas Hart Benton yet the local population referred to it as the Lake of the Ozarks due to its location.
12. Ozark May Mean “Of Arkansas”
The word “Ozarks“ is believed to be a toponym derived from the Anglicised pronunciation of “aux arcs”, the French abbreviation of “Aux Arcansas” meaning “of/at/to the Arkansas”. The Ozarks or The Ozark Mountains are a highland region of Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.
13. A Fan Theory Links Ozark With The Wizard Of Oz
One fan theory discussed online is that the series Ozark is quite similar to the classic film The Wizard Of Oz (1939, Fleming) in many ways. Firstly and most tenuously the family moves to a new location that sounds quite like the word “Oz”. The introduction of the Kansas City Mafia reminds viewers of Dorothy’s original location in Kansas. The black crows are reminiscent of the Scarecrow. The Snell’s grow poppies which were used to make Dorothy fall asleep by the Wicked Witch.
14. Ozark Has A Lorenzo Connection
Amusingly, actor Laura Linney starred in the 1992 film Lorenzo’s Oil (George Miller) alongside Susan Sarandon and Nick Nolte. Later her Ozark co-star Jason Bateman starred in Simon Pegg and Nick Frosts’ film Paul (Mottola) in 2011, as a character named “Lorenzo Zoil”.
Laura Linney also played a character named Charlotte in the long running Kelsey Grammar sitcom Frasier. Her daughter in Ozark is also named Charlotte.
15. Chloe Lukasiak Auditioned For Charlotte Byrde
Before the role of Marty and Wendy’s daughter Charlotte Byrde went to Sophia Hublitz, the Dance Moms’ star Chloe Kukasiak auditioned for the part.
16. There’s Always Money In The Banana Stand!
Jason Bateman plays the lead Michael Bluth in the cult comedy Arrested Development. Michael was at the helm of trying to fix the family’s finances in the comedy and one of the storylines see’s Michael realise that there was money hidden in the walls of the Frozen Banana stand they owned on the beach. In Ozark, Jason Bateman has another run in with money hidden in walls - this time his character Marty stuffs the walls of the Blue Cat Lodge.
17. Ozark Is Written By The Creator Of “The Judge”
Bill Dubuque, is the writer of Ozark but he also has an impressive back catalogue of scripts. He is best known for writing the screenplay for The Judge starring Robert Downey Jr and Robert Duvall and directed by David Dobkin in 2014. He also wrote A Family Man (Williams) and The Accountant (O’Connor) in 2016.
18. What Else Has Julia Garner Been In?
One of Ozark's standout stars is Julia Garner who plays the memorable Ruth Langmore. She originally started acting lessons at the age of 15 to overcome her shyness Then at 17 she debuted as Sarah in Martha Marcy May Marlene (Sean Durkin). Since then she has appeared in many film and TV roles including as Kimberly in The Americans between 2015 and 2018, Claudia in The Get Down, Charlie’s Roommate in Girls in 2016, Terra in Dirty John in 2018, Maddy in Modern Love.
She is also the lead in the February 2022 drama “Inventing Anna”, a collaboration between Netflix and Shondaland that depicts the story of the “fake heiress” Anna Delvey.
19. Why Is Ozark So Blue?
The Ozark production team gave the series it’s signature blue/green hue for a few significant reasons. Firstly it corresponds well with the dark subject matter, the criminal activity of the Ozarks and the Byrde’s money laundering go under the radar so the blue coloured filter visually shows how shady their dealings are. It is a visual representation of what is going on beneath the shadows of society.
Ozark Cinematographer Ben Kutchins has described in interview which films had influenced his decision to grade Ozark blue. He stated that he was heavily influenced by Steven Soderbergh’s “Traffic” in 2000, Alan J. Pakula’s “Klute” from 1971 and David Michod’s “Animal Kingdom” from 2012.
20. Ozark Was Originally Dismissed As A Poor Attempt At Breaking Bad
Ozark was originally dismissed by film and TV critics as a poor attempt at remaking Breaking Bad. One reviewer in Rolling Stone called it, “TV’s Greatest Hits played by a proficient covers band”. An article in The Independent labelled it another show with the concept of “Dad does crime”.
21. Peter Mullan Was “Aggressively Pursued” To Appear In Ozark
According to Jason Bateman, the Ozark crew were determined to get Peter Mullan on board for the first season of Ozark after watching him star in the series Top of The Lake as Matt Mitcham. Bateman claims in an interview with The Herald that he and the crew “aggressively pursued” Mullan to accept the role of Jacob Snell before the script had even been finished.
Mullan is well known for appearing in My Name Is Joe (1998, Loach) as well as Trainspotting (1996, Boyle), and Braveheart (1995, Gibson).
22. Jason Bateman Wears His Favourite Trainers In Each Of His Roles
One of the most amusing bits of trivia about Jason Bateman is that he always wears his favourite brand of trainers on set no matter what role he is playing. Marty Byrde can be seen wearing “New Balance” trainers, specifically the M1400DM style in “Dark Military”. The shoe is apparently made exclusively for J. Crew in the USA.
23. Julia Garner Needed An Acting Double In One Fearful Scene
Ozark's Julia Garner enlisted the help of an acting double during a scene in which she had to pick a mouse up and drop it into some water. She said in an interview with W magazine that she was on the verge of a panic attack so they got a hand double to fill-in.
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