Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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The big Hollywood comedy Masterminds hit the big screen last weekend. It was shot in Asheville and around Western North Carolina back in 2014. I just saw it yesterday at The Grail Moviehouse, and it’s a hoot. Check it out!

As a close observer of the moviemaking process around town, here are a few tidbits about the project:

The movie was based on the true story of an armored car robbery that went down near Charlotte in 1997. David Ghantt was one of eight people arrested and convicted in connection with the robbery of $17.3 million, one of the biggest cash heists in U.S. history. Ghantt served nearly eight years in prison and was released. He served as a consultant on the movie and was on set during most of the shooting.

Owen Wilson was one of the most visible of the Masterminds movie stars off the set. He was spotted on a field trip to Skinny Dip Falls, and around town at places such as the Lexington Avenue Brewery and Imperial Life. He also attended an Asheville Tourists baseball game and took in a Beck concert.

Zach Galifianakis rented a house in Montford, and was often seen pushing a stroller with his then 1-year-old son aboard around the neighborhood. He was also spotted dining out at restaurants.kristen_wiig_letterman_asheville_2016

Kristen Wiig had a session in a sensory deprivation tank in Asheville and meditated in a downtown salt cave. She talked about her experience during an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman. She described Asheville as the “little hippie town, where people who used to follow the Grateful Dead have moved there… to die.”

Lorne Michaels was spotted in downtown Asheville at Cucina 24 having dinner with a group of about 10 people during the film shoot in Asheville. Michaels is the writer and producer who created Saturday Night Live, where several of the movie’s actors including Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon, cut their comedy teeth.

Galifianakis spoke to an small group of Asheville-area actors gathered at the New York Studio for Stage, Screen and Voiceover’s studio space in Riverside Business Park right after finishing his movie shoot. It was the only local interview that Galifianakis did. During his talk, Galifianakis talked about his comedy, his confidence and much more.

-In a recent publicity appearance for Masterminds, Wilson, Wiig and Galifianakis talked about their time in Asheville with late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel. Wiig talked again about the hippie vibe of Asheville; Galifianakis said he no longer owns a farm in North Carolina; and the three talked about a faux newspaper they produced while on set. The Actor’s Gazette featured fun little tidbits, as well as shout-outs to local extras and crew.


Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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