Generators hum, RV windows glow and cameras roll on the dusty streets of Mescal, the home of “Hot Bath An’ A Stiff Drink 2.”
The film, a period western where the good guy and the bad guy are identical twins separated as children by rough outlaws, shot its first installment in the high desert between Vail and Benson earlier this year. Jeffery Patterson, producer, executive producer and a lead actor on the film, also considered New Mexico and Texas, but chose to come to Arizona.
Patterson said he heard through word of mouth that Old Tucson Studios, which runs Mescal and the main studio off Kinney Road, provides a good experience for filmmakers. He said that’s what brought him back for the sequel.
He knows he can’t offer support service providers—like “Hot Bath’s” hair and makeup artists, who also work on A&E’s western-set crime drama series “Longmire” in New Mexico—the rate they’d get in states that offer tax incentives. So they accept less to get the jobs.
“I’ve got to offer them 20, 30, 35 whatever percent less because I’m not getting it back from the state,” he said.
He said because the state doesn’t incentivize, the locals basically subsidize.
“What I would say is more unfair is your local business and residents are picking up the slack for the state,” he said.
Patterson said his film will leave about $2.2 million in Tucson through direct spending by the time it wraps here in mid-December. Among other expenses, he’s paying for his time at Old Tucson Studios, extras, carpenters who started work on the sets weeks before principal photography, and his trailer.
In August, Patterson and his associates hosted a preview screening of the first “Hot Bath” at the Fox Theatre. They donated $4,500 in proceeds from ticket sales to help further filming in Arizona.
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