The Oscar-winning film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri took awards season by storm earlier this year. Sweeping in the Supporting Actor and Lead Actress categories at both the Golden Globes and SAG Awards, as well as being nominated for the coveted Best Picture Award at the 90th Academy Awards.
But, Ebbing, Missouri isn’t on any map. The town of the Oscar-nominated film is every bit as fictional as the film itself.
If you want to find the small-town location where Martin McDonagh shot his award-winning film, North Carolina is the place to go - more specifically, the small town of Sylva. And when we say small town, we mean small town. Sylva has a population of about 2,600 and is less than an hour drive from Asheville, North Carolina.
But, the little southern town is taking a page out of the Concrete Jungle itself. Just like the popular Sex and the City, or Gossip Girl, or Seinfeld (you get the idea) tours made famous in New York, Sylva has put together an online trip planner to guide movie-lovers around key shooting locations in the town.
The tourism grab - aptly titled ‘Explore Authentic Locations from Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ - offers a whopping three days of sightseeing for anyone willing to make the trip. Some of the sights include Sylva’s main street, the Sassy Frass store, which served as Ebbing’s police station, and Jackson’s General Store, which housed Francis McDormand’s character’s billboard rental agency.
Three days of sightseeing for tourists was chosen because it took McDonagh three days to scout all the locations he would need to shoot Three Billboards in Sylva, North Carolina.
“Martin wanted to find that quintessential small town, somewhere a little sleepy, but a place that most people could identify with,” Guy Gaster, director of the North Carolina film office told The Guardian. “He also knew he needed a town with a main street where - slight spoiler alert - a character could believably throw something across the street and into another building.”
Tourists hoping to visit Sylva are also in the vicinity of other great gems to visit in North Carolina. The Great Smoky Mountains national park and the Nantahala national forest are both just 30 minutes away from Sylva, while the Blue Ridge Parkway is an even closer 15 minutes away.
This isn’t the first time North Carolina has been the perfect location for big blockbuster award-winning movies. Forrest Gump, Last of the Mohicans, and The Hunger Games were all filmed in the state, to name a few.