Lights, Camera, TEXAS!


Sure, the metropolis of Austin might be the mother ship of film and TV production in Texas.  However, nestled just outside Austin’s ‘burbs, three smaller cities are quickly finding themselves in the spotlight.

Production crews continue to descend upon the unassuming towns of Hutto, Taylor and Georgetown, Texas … located about 45 minutes from Austin International Airport.

To date, blockbusters like “Transformers: Age of Extinction”, indie classics “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” and the football-oriented TV series “Friday Night Lights” have all been shot in the vicinity.

Hutto's Mascot, Henrietta the Hippo

Hutto's Mascot, Henrietta the Hippo

Before Hollywood hit Hutto, the city was known for having a hippo as the school’s mascot.  ESPN once pointed out that the mascot – named Henrietta – was the only city in America with this Hippo-tastic claim to fame. Hutto, along with the aforementioned Georgetown and Taylor, are also just a hop, skip and jump away from Austin.  All three offer up small town charm with a commuter city feeling.

Now “rarely a couple months go by that we don’t hear about (location) scouts snooping around our towns,” said Matt Widmer, owner of Hutto’s Candy Corner.  “The stars don’t just come out at night around here.”

Meg Ryan has been spotted on Hutto’s East Street. Don Johnson took a shine to Taylor, Texas while shooting a movie there.  Slowly but surely, producers are finding the besides being inexpensive, these towns are “also perfect if you’re looking for authentic Lone Star state ambience,” mentioned Widmer.

Louie Mueller Barbecue in downtown Taylor, TX  – a familiar street from  Transformers: Age of Extinction

Louie Mueller Barbecue in downtown Taylor, TX  – a familiar street from Transformers: Age of Extinction

Not looking to, say, shoot a new film in the town square? Well, each city offers something for folks to do – while reliving a bit of cinematic history. For instance, in downtown Taylor you can swing by Louie Mueller Barbecue … famed for their brisket and for having multiple movies shot at their locale. If the intersection looks vaguely familiar … it should. Marky Mark ran amuck down the street in “Transformers: Age of Extinction”.  You’ll also find a nearby brewpub under construction that’s sure to bring wayward travelers eager for a frosty pint.

The iconic Texan Cafe (aka the Cowpoke Cafe)  in Hutto, TX (image courtesy of their  facebook )

The iconic Texan Cafe (aka the Cowpoke Cafe)  in Hutto, TX (image courtesy of their facebook)

Got a sweet tooth? Besides the Candy Corner in Hutto, you’ll find the Texan Café. They offer up legendary slabs of homemade pie. When the restaurant had a recurring role in the TV remake of  “From Dusk ‘Til Dawn”, it was renamed the Cowpoke Café (because of course it was).  

In Georgetown, you’ll find Southwestern University and a cavalcade of movie settings from well over twenty different films including “Varsity Blues”, “Dazed and Confused” and “Hope Floats”.  The list goes on and on.  (It helps that Oscar-winner Sandra Bullock is a nearby Austin neighbor.) Several years ago, Fortune Magazine ranked Georgetown the second best city in the nation to “live and launch” a new business.

So if you fancy yourself a film buff and you find yourself near Austin, don't miss out on these humble little towns that boast an insane amount of cinematic history. Your selfies will be a part of their legacy of pictures!

Michael Mackie's fave places in Hutto and Taylor, TX

  1. Candy Corner (103 East St, Hutto, TX 78634). Their motto: "Stressed spelled backwards is desserts."
  2. Texan Cafe (207 East St, Hutto, TX 7834). Say hello to Ferdinand.
  3. Louie Mueller Barbecue (206 W 2nd St, Taylor, TX 76574). BBQ beef, pork ribs, peach cobbler and maybe a film setting.

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