Since 1983, more than 400 film-related projects have been filmed in the Wilmington, North Carolina region, often affectionately referred to as “Hollywood East.” ONE TREE HILL, a popular hour-long drama that aired weekly on The WB Television Network, is among the many productions made in this region. During its nine-season run, the weekly series was filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina’s historic river district and the nearby island beaches of Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, and Kure Beach.
ONE TREE HILL tells the story of two young men, Lucas Scott (Chad Michael Murray) and Nathan Scott (James Lafferty), who have little in common, aside for a love of hoops and the fact that they share the same father. After growing up on opposite sides of the tracks, the boys' lives collided when a twist of fate put Lucas on Nathan's high school basketball team. Years in the making, a deep and bitter conflict slowly unfolded as the two boys struggled to come to terms with a father who chose to live vicariously through one son, while ignoring the existence of the other. The half-brothers became rivals on and off the court, yet shared a mutual resentment of their father. Seasons 6-9 follow the characters into their lives as young adults.
ONE TREE HILL stars some of Hollywood’s brightest young stars: James Lafferty (Season on the Brink, “Emeril”) and Sophia Bush (Learning Curves). It also stars Bethany Joy Galeotti, Austin Nichols, Paul Johansson, Barry Corbin, Lee Norris and Robert Buckley. During seasons 1-6 actors Chad Michael Murray (Cinderella Story, House of Wax, Freaky Friday) and Hilarie Burton (MTV’s TRL; Secret Life of Bees) also starred in the show. Since ONE TREE HILL’s premiere in 2003, the Wilmington region has doubled as “Tree Hill” a small fictitious town in North Carolina. Fans of ONE TREE HILL can watch the show and see familiar sights of Wilmington, NC’s historic river district and island beaches. ONE TREE HILL is from executive producer and show creator Mark Schwahn (“The Perfect Score”), executive producers Mike Tollin, Brian Robbins, Joe Davola (“Smallville”) and Mark Perry for Tollin/Robbins Productions and the CW Television Network. Past seasons are available on DVD.
Fans of ONE TREE HILL should note that The WB series “Dawson’s Creek” also filmed in the Wilmington region from 1998-2003, appearing weekly as Capeside, Massachusetts. “Dawson’s Creek” lives on in syndication. For a “Dawson’s Creek FAQ Sheet” visit www.wilmingtonandbeaches.com/press/story-ideas-itineraries/Dawsons-Creek-FAQ-Sheet or call 1-866-266-9690. Other television series that lensed in the Wilmington region include: NBC’s one-season sci-fi series “Surface”; “Eastbound & Down” (HBO); and “Revolution” (season 1, NBC), FOX’s series “Sleepy Hollow” (seasons 1 & 2) and the CBS series “Under the Dome” also filmed in Wilmington and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach
Frequently Asked Questions about ONE TREE HILL:
1. Can I see the show being filmed?
ONE TREE HILL debuted in 2003 and was filmed at EUE/Screen Gems Studios and on location in the Wilmington, North Carolina region until the final show wrapped production in 2011. OTH sets are no longer in use or available to the public. Weekend studio tours are not available during 2016, however when they are available they often include sets from current productions. For information on weekend studio tours, visit http://studios.euescreengems.com/nc/tours/ (Please keep in mind that production schedules sometimes change and may affect tour/set availability. Prior to your visit, please call the tours hotline at 910-343-3433 to confirm tour dates/times.) Visitors can also experience Wilmington’s film history via a guided walking tour of downtown movie locations. The Hollywood Location Walk of Old Wilmington (www.hollywoodnc.com) includes some of the locations used in ONE TREE HILL and DAWSON’S CREEK and other films and TV shows, including more recent productions.
2. Self-guided Tour: Filming took place at various locations in the Wilmington region, including our island beaches. You'll see familiar sites along the Riverwalk (located at the foot of Market Street) overlooking the Cape Fear River where the annual Burning Boat Festival took place. Riverfront Park (Water Street, across from the Alton Lennon Federal Courthouse) is recognizable as the backdrop for outdoor basketball games. Fans are welcome to take a self-guided tour of businesses and attractions in Wilmington's Historic River District that are used as locations, including: Black Cat Shoppe (8 Market St.) was the CD store where Chris (Tyler Hilton) worked. Edge of Urge (18 Market St.) was a lingerie shop. The outdoor patio of Kabob Grill & Café (5 S. Water St.) served as an open-air produce market; Blue Post Billiards (15 S. Water St.-ages 21+) has appeared many times and is where Lucas and Brooke went on their ‘tattoo' date. The restaurant Platypus & Gnome at 9 S. Front Street doubled as a restaurant during Season 5. Reel Café was a crab shack (100 S. Front St.). Dixie Grill (116 Market St.) as a diner in Season 7; New Hanover County Public Library (Chestnut St.) posed as a health clinic. Port City Java-Downtown II (300 N. Front St.) stood in as as Tree Hill Café in the show’s final season and as Karen's Café in the pilot episode. Once the series was picked up, crews built a designated set for Karen's Café on the opposite corner of Grace Street at N. Front Street. During season 6 the set for 'Karen's Cafe' was removed and the space was transformed into the Clothes over Bros. set, then later revived as Karen’s Café (now houses Outdoor Equipped and Redix). This same building at the corner of Grace & Front streets previously appeared as a Boston radio station in "Dawson's Creek." Cape Fear Community College campus (411 N. Front Street--Health Sciences building, school library, and courtyard) recur in episodes. The front entrance of the Schwartz Center (610 N. Front St.) appeared as the exterior of Tree Hill High school; the back of the building is the gym's exterior. The Wilmington Convention Center (10 Convention Center Drive) was the venue for Brooke & Julian’s wedding reception in Season 8. Hell's Kitchen (118 Princess Street), a recurring restaurant/bar in "Dawson's Creek," became "The Swinging Donkey Bar" in an episode during OTH's 2nd season. At Third and Princess Streets is the Historic New Hanover County Courthouse (24 N. Third Street) where cast hung out during filming of a season 1 car crash at the corner of Third and Princess. Interiors were used during an election rally. At the corner of Third and Chestnut streets are Thalian Hall's front steps and Corinthian columns that frequently double as Town Hall steps. And just a few blocks South, the Graystone Inn (100 S. Third St.) has doubled as a funeral home and as a New York apartment and hotel room (season 5).
Locations outside the Historic District (but worth the drive): Just across the river, there's Battleship Park (on Eagle's Island, beside the Battleship North Carolina--site of the former River Court, outdoor basketball court). The River Court was dismantled after the series ended. Other filming locations in New Hanover County include: EUE/Screen Gems Studios (1223 N. 23rd St.) re-named a short street that runs beside the studio “One Tree Hill Way”; Laney High School (2700 N. College Rd., Tree Hill High gymnasium interiors), which is also where basketball great Michael Jordan played high school basketball; Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park (5320 Oleander Dr.) in the arcade, miniature golf and restaurant areas; The Stadium Batting Cages (5570 Oleander Dr.); Performance Import Cars (19 Covil Ave.) is the body shop where Nathan and his uncle worked. Stevenson Honda Acura (821 S. College Rd.) was the prototype used for the studio reproduction of Dan Scott's car dealership showroom at Screen Gems Studios. Greenfield Park(N. Lakeshore Dr.) was a wedding setting (season 6). Johnnie Mercer Fishing Pier at Wrightsville Beach was also a location. On Pleasure Island, Nathan Scott's beach house is located at a private residence in Carolina Beach.
3. How can I see movie/TV stars?
During filming of a movie or television production, security is very tight both on location and at the studios. The only way to see the stars in person is a chance celebrity sighting at a public place such as a restaurant, shopping mall, boutique, video store, etc. Although TV and movie stars appreciate their fans, please respect their privacy.
4. Where can I buy ONE TREE HILL memorabilia?
Licensed One Tree Hill merchandise is available at www.wbshop.com. TV/movie-related memorabilia is also available at the Black Cat Shoppe (8 Market St., Wilmington; 910-251-6663); Krazy Mike’z (1 N. Front St., Wilmington; 910-632-2806); and Poodle's Island Wear (18 S. Water Street, Wilmington; 910-763-4523).
5. How can I find out more about the show and its stars?
The WB maintains a website with information about the show: www.thewb.com/shows/one-tree-hill
6. How can I be an extra on a TV show or movie?
Several Wilmington-based casting companies casts extras for local productions. If you’re interested in being an extra or have other questions about film production in Wilmington, please check the Wilmington Film Office website Frequently Asked Questions page at www.wilmingtonfilm.com/Intro/FAQ/tabid/65/Default.aspx. Before visitors travel any distance to be an extra they are encouraged to check the website and contact casting companies directly to find out about casting needs and employment requirements.
For info about Wilmington’s historic river district and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach (where ONE TREE HILL & DAWSON’S CREEK were filmed), call 1-866-266-9690, or stop by the Wilmington and Beaches Visitor Center located at 505 Nutt Street, Unit A in Downtown, or the Riverfront Visitors Booth (April-October) at Market & Water streets. Or, visit www.gowilmingtonandbeaches.com
NOTE: Tours and businesses are individually operated. Hours of operation, fees and availability are subject to change without notice.