Arizona is a southwestern state, America’s sixth largest and the 15th most populous. The state is best known for its desert landscape, seen in productions like the Coen brothers’ comedy Raising Arizona (1987). Its desert is rich in plants such as the cactus, and other location options include exotic lakes, small yesteryear towns, western streets, prairie and alpine settings, red rocks and cityscapes. Arizona is exceptionally hot in summer and mild in the winter. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix.
Many high-profile productions have filmed in Arizona. Tom Hanks made history by winning a second Best Actor Oscar in a row in 1994 for Forest Gump; Keanu Reeves was half of the slacker duo in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989); Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow made her debut filming moody vampire thriller Near Dark in Arizona in 1987, and the same year saw the Coen brothers build their reputation with the wild Nicolas Cage comedy Raising Arizona.
Arizona was also the setting for the 1990’s western resurgence with Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp in Tombstone (1993) and Emilio Estevez as Billy the Kid in Young Guns II (1990), harking back to a tradition of westerns being filmed in the state that features notable titles such as 3:10 to Yuma (1957), Rio Bravo (1959) and The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976).
Despite name-checking another state in its title, classic musical Oaklahoma! (1955) used Arizona as a backdrop, as did a landmark title in a quite different genre, Alfred Hitchcock’s horror masterpiece Psycho in 1960.
Redbull, Southwest Airlines, Hyundai, Home Depot and Taco Time all filmed commercials in Arizona in 2013.
Different regions of Arizona have their own film offices and processes for obtaining a permit. Some of them include:
Filming on Arizona’s roads will require authorisation from the Arizona Department of Transportation, which can be obtained on a case-by-case basis by filling in an application form.
The main film studio in Arizona is the Old Tucson Studios. Also a theme park, the site offers western sets; it has been used for movies such Gunfight at the O.K. Corral and Little House on the Prairie.
There are many post-production facilities in Arizona, including: Matt "Mookie" Thayer Killing Time Productions, Pheonix; Union Digital Inc, Scottsdale; Global Change Multi-Media, Sedona; Avant Productions, Pheonix; Advisua Multimedia, Chandler; and Pro One Video Productions, Scottsdale.
Popular filming locations in Arizona are the major metropolitan areas of Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tucson; the scenic natural beauty of lakes such as Mead, Havasu City and Powell; the staggering Grand Canyon National Park; the hills and mountains of Nogales and Flagstaff; the historic Navajo Indian Reservation, and the of Yuma and Tombstone; and the forests such as Apache, Sitgreaves and Petrified.