Pretty soon, a lot more people around the country are going to know that there’s a place called Manatee County and a town called Palmetto. They’ll even have a general idea of where those places are.
“Claws,” as you’ve probably heard, is a brand new TV series that’s set in Palmetto. It premieres June 11 on TNT, and it stars, among others, Niecy Nash, Carrie Preston and Dean Norris. If you’ve been watching TV at all in the past decade you’ll recognize a lot of the cast.
It’s billed as comedy-drama, and the previews look pretty cool. It’s definitely big-budget and looks a bit like a cross between “Weeds” and “Breaking Bad,” with maybe a little “Desperate Housewives” thrown in. The plot has to do with a group of women who open a nail salon in Palmetto but get in over their heads when they start laundering money for a neighboring pain clinic.
It’s reportedly the most heavily promoted new show of this season, so a lot of people will watch at least the premiere episode. It may give them a skewed idea of Manatee County life, but if nothing else they’ll have heard of us.
But it won’t be the first time. Over the decades, a lot of movies and TV shows have been filmed or set hereabouts. This is a non-exhaustive list of some of the notable ones.
▪ “Out of Time” — Superstar Denzel Washington and prominent director Carl Franklin shot this crime drama in Cortez Village in 2002.
▪ “Palmetto” — A 1998 Woody Harrelson crime drama. Hollywood seems to think that a lot of interesting crime happens around here.
▪ “Siesta Key” — A new MTV “reality” show about young adults in Sarasota County. Apparently it’s like “Jersey Shore” with more sun and prettier beaches. It premieres next month.
▪ “Great Expectations” — A 1998 updating of the classic, shot in Cortez Village and around Sarasota. Gwyneth Paltrow starred. A local man named Peter Badalamenti who had never acted before got a gig as a double in the film and went on to have featured roles in several “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies and other high-profile films.
▪ “Apple of My Eye” — Never heard of this one? You’ve probably heard of “And Then There Was Light,” a film that Burt Reynolds (among others) starred in, filmed partly at Southeastern Guide Dogs. The title was changed to “Apple of My Eye,” and it premiered earlier this year.
▪ “Albion: The Enchanted Stallion”— A 2016 film by Castille Landon (who also wrote “Apple of My Eye”) that was filmed in Manatee County.
▪ “The Great Wallendas” — Lloyd Bridges, Britt Eklan and Cathy Rigby starred in this 1993 film about Manatee County’s most famous family.
▪ “The Greatest Show on Earth” — A really great 1952 circus film, starring everyone from Emmett Kelly to Bing Crosby to Charlton Heston, was filmed in Sarasota.
▪ “Honky Tonk Freeway” — A legendary comedy flop in 1981 by John Schlesinger, the director of “Midnight Cowboy” and “Marathon Man.” A great cast with dozens of familiar actors, but no laughs.
By the way, all those films were shot around here. “Claws” was mostly filmed in New Orleans, reportedly because of incentives offered there that were not offered here.