When National Geographic’s The Right Stuff premieres in 2020, keen-eyed Tampa residents might notice downtown’s Floridan Palace Hotel as a location.
They might also spot someone they know in the background. The television series hired 65 Hillsborough County residents as extras.
Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way Productions is producing the series. In all, the production paid local extras $16,000 and spent an estimated total of $527,869 while at the Floridan over two days of shooting.
Those estimated numbers are according to Appian Way’s application for a Hillsborough County production incentive that provides 10 percent back on what is spent in the county. The incentive is only doled out after all receipts are audited by the county.
The Right Stuff is based on Tom Wolfe’s 1979 book by the same title that chronicles the United States’ first human spaceflight program. The Floridan served as a building in mid-20th century Virginia.
Other expenses listed on the production incentive application are $30,140 for 208 county hotel room nights and $5,892 on four local crew hires. Three local actors earned speaking roles but their pay was not disclosed in the application.
Initial incentive applications only break down local hotel room nights and resident wages. All Appian Way local expenditures will be public after its receipts are audited by the county.
“The other bit comes from municipal costs, like closing the roads and sidewalks, detour plans, barricades and signs,” Hillsborough County film commissioner Tyler Martinolich said. “I think it’s a safe bet that location costs were a large factor in their estimated spend.”
Catering is another big expense, he said.
The incentive application reports that a total of 171 people worked on the production in Tampa.
“Think of throwing a wedding for that many people” Martinolich said, “and having to feed them twice.”