1. Arts & Entertainment

Does Tampa have a mountain? According to ‘Jack Ryan’ it does.

The Amazon Prime series might have digitally created its own Tampa skyline.
A screenshot of downtown Tampa from the Amazon Prime's "Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan." The skyline buildings are accurate but not much else is. [Tampa Hillsborough Film & Digital Media Commission]
Published Nov. 8
Updated Nov. 8

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County film commissioner’s phone has been blowing up this week with calls and texts from friends who are fans of the Amazon Prime television series Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan.

Episode 2 of Season 2 took place in Tampa, they told him, and their eagle eyes figured it out the moment the skyline appeared on their screen.

“They need to look a little closer,” film commissioner Tyler Martinolich said. It was not really Tampa, he said. It was “just sort of Tampa. We don’t have a mountain."

RELATED: Need to film scenes from Brooklyn? Chicago? Canada? Tampa Bay stands in for all of them.

The series’ second season revolves around novelist Tom Clancy’s iconic CIA agent Jack Ryan embroiled in political warfare in a corrupt Venezuela on the verge of an economic meltdown. Much of the second episode of that season occurs at MacDill Air Force Base and around Tampa.

“They never came here to shoot anything,” Martinolich said.

To create the illusion that the scenes took place in authentic Tampa, the episode green-screened a wide shot of downtown.

The buildings that make up the skyline are unmistakable — the SunTrust Financial Centre with its light-up pyramid top, for instance.

Initially, Martinolich couldn’t figure from what angle the photograph was taken. It could have been snapped where Hillsborough River meets Garrison Channel, looking north. Or maybe from Bayshore Boulevard, close to Ballast Point Park.

But Martinolich, who uses photos of Tampa locations to sell productions on filming in this city, now wonders if it’s even a real photograph of Tampa.

“The SunTrust building should be to the left of the Regions Building and the One Tampa City Center,” he said.

What’s more, he said, the Tampa Convention Center should be visible but is missing. The same goes for the bridges that connect to downtown.

And other things were added.

“The Hillsborough River is three times wider than it should be,” Martinolich said, and it seems that there are port cranes to the right of downtown where developments should be.

Plus, he said, there appears to be a mountain in the distance in the far right-hand corner. That feature is darker and more solid than the surrounding clouds.

Martinolich figures “they took the profiles of a couple of buildings and populated it into a fake background."

Guy Balson, a location scout in the Tampa Bay area for three decades, said productions regularly employ that technique.

“Sometimes it can be cheaper to cheat a location than to go there,” he said.

Just last year, for instance, a Hallmark movie that took place primarily in Pinellas County had a few scenes in Chicago. Rather than flying cast and crew there, the Windy City appeared via stock footage and green-screen technology. Chicago interiors were then filmed in St. Petersburg.

“Sometimes you can do that successfully," Balson said, "and sometimes you can’t.”

Still, Martinolich said, “Regardless, any depiction of Tampa that makes viewers curious to learn more about our city is a positive.”


  1. The cast of "Siesta Key" on MTV. Courtesy of MTV
    It’s a third season for the reality series filmed at the beach community in Sarasota County.
  2. A sign outside the new Rise of the Resistance ride at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge shows the virtual queue closed on opening day, Dec. 5. Luis Santana
    Disney’s newest ‘Star Wars’-themed ride saw its virtual queue filled by 8:30 a.m. on opening day, with no other ride options available. The park’s scheduled open time was 9 a.m.
  3. Michael McDonald, right, will rejoin the Doobie Brothers for a 50th anniversary tour that'll hit the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on June 10. Clay Patrick McBride
    Seats for Lyle Lovett, Chicago with Rick Springfield and more are up for grabs.
  4. Earlier today• Arts & Entertainment
    Festivus, the made-up holiday "Seinfeld" made famous, is celebrated on Dec. 23 and features a Festivus pole. Here, a scene from the episode, "The Strike," featuring the pole. [Sony Pictures TV]
    Air your grievances. We’ll publish them, so the world can do better in 2020.
  5. Jessica and Tommy Garvin pose for a selfie outside of the Tropicana Field Wednesday evening after they were notified that their wedding ring lost at Enchant Christmas was found. Photo courtesy of Jessica and Tommy Garvin
    After thinking it was gone forever, the Garvins are thrilled to have their sentiment of love returned.
  6. From left, Vince Neil, Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars and Tommy Lee of Motley Crue arrive at the world premiere of their Netflix biopic "The Dirt" on March 18 in Los Angeles. Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
    Joan Jett and the Blackhearts will also perform at Camping World Stadium next summer.
  7. Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge new attraction, Rise of the Resistance, at Disney's Hollywood Studios on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019 in Lake Buena Vista. LUIS SANTANA  |  Times
    The stakes are high for Rise of the Resistance after Disney got mixed reviews for opening its new Star Wars land before its marquee attraction was open.
  8. Christmas cookie illustration Illustration by Lisa Merklin
    Try an internationally inspired cookie plate this holiday season.
  9. Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs during halftime at Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3. MARK HUMPHREY  |  AP
    The Super Bowl halftime headliners are heading out on an extensive world tour next year.
  10. Disney guests will traverse the corridors of a Star Destroyer and join a battle between the First Order and the Resistance — including a face-off with Kylo Ren — when Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opens Dec. 5 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World
    Glitches stopped the ride for most of the morning, but once aboard, the fans found a treat.