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A True Florida Film
"I always felt Hoot had to be shot in Florida,” Wil Shriner asserts. "My main desire in telling this story was to capture the charm of old Florida, the way I remembered it growing up in Ft. Lauderdale. It was great to have so many charming and unique locations for the backdrop of our story.” 

"The important thing about Hoot is that the environment of Florida actually becomes a character in the movie,” producer Frank Marshall offers. "So, it was very important that we shoot in Florida and, certainly, that we shoot in an area that is like what is described in the book.” Adds Jimmy Buffett, "we wanted to stay true to the Carl Hiaasen vision of Florida.” 

"They understood Florida, how weird and peculiar it can be,” Hiaasen states. "But, also, how wonderful and photogenic and just spectacularly beautiful the place is. Why it's worth fighting for. This is a movie about fighting for a place that you really, really care about. It couldn't have been filmed anywhere else.”

The filmmakers secured veteran movie location manager (and native Floridian) Sam Tedesco (There's Something About Mary, Any Given Sunday, the "Miami Vice” TV series) to find the appropriate sites in which Wil Shriner and company could create the fictional town of Coconut Cove. 

Coincidentally, Tedesco, who has served in a similar capacity on over two dozen projects during the past two decades, also supervised location duties on the only other movie adapted from a Carl Hiaasen novel -- 1996's Strip Tease, which also filmed on location in his own backyard, Ft. Lauderdale, and was, according to Tedesco, the last major Hollywood production to shoot entirely in the Ft. Lauderdale area.

"Wil Shriner and I grew up in Fort Lauderdale, in the same general time frame, so we had a sort of shorthand with each other about all of Florida,” Tedesco offers about his collaboration with the director. "We found out how much we had in common growing up and the places we both knew in town. We also scouted the entire state of Florida looking for a romanticized version of what the Florida Keys might have looked like in the '40s or '50s, but clearly doesn't exist today.”

"These days, when people think of Florida, they think of South Beach,” Tedesco points out about the Sunshine State's contemporary image. "There are so many new high rises, night clubs and hip hotels going up. That's the Florida that most people think of now. Especially film people. When they come to Florida to make a movie, that's the look they're generally after.” 

"But Wil and I, having grown up there, knew that there was a Florida that's disappearing fast,” he adds. "The mom-and-pop motels, the key lime pie restaurants, the shell shops, that kind of thing. And it's just disappearing very quickly. The exciting part and the fun part about doing this movie was getting to do a post card of old Florida and make it the look of the entire movie while it's still around.” 

"People do think of Florida as South Beach and ‘Miami Vice,'” Wil Shriner echoes. "But, this movie is about the sleepy, little Florida we grew up in. The grand old Florida.  For Carl particularly, it was all about seeing the Florida that is getting developed and developed. I tried to capture all these old little pieces of Florida that I think really tell the story.”

"Right now, I think it's roughly 450 acres a day that are disappearing in Florida,” Hiaasen states. "Undeveloped acres that are disappearing to development every day. Roads, malls, condos, apartment buildings. 450 acres a day. That's astonishing! There are many reasons to fight battles, not the least of them being to try and save a place so that your own kids and grandkids can maybe experience one tenth of what you experienced growing up. We would like some of this to be around for them. The great heartache would be to show them this movie and s

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