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Animal Kingdom back in Oceanside to shoot sixth season

Security guards keeping locals away from Pope’s skate ramp

Spencer Treat Clark of Animal Kingdom with Real Surf's Shawn Ambrose
Spencer Treat Clark of Animal Kingdom with Real Surf's Shawn Ambrose

Animal Kingdom is TV’s intense weekly drama about the crime-loving Cody family. Brothers Pope, Craig and Deran took on murder, armed robbery, explosives, and drugs all while living in Oceanside. A Warner Bros. Television crew just returned to Oceanside to shoot the sixth and final season of the weekly drama. Due to Covid, Season Five of Animal Kingdom was postponed a year and will launch on TNT July 11.

The story arc for the sixth and final season of Animal Kingdom which will air in the summer of 2022 involves flashbacks of the major characters. In his early years Pope was an aspiring pro skater. That’s why Animal Kingdom built a skate ramp on the empty lot on the corner of Pacific and Wisconsin streets. The ramp comes down after the Animal Kingdom production leaves town May 23.

Temporary Animal Kingdom skate ramp in Oceanside

Other sites to be used this week for the shooting of season six include a lifeguard tower, the beachfront home on The Strand used in previous seasons, and the former Department of Motor Vehicles building on Tremont and Wisconsin Street whose exterior is supposed to represent Deran’s bar. One source says the gym-like Junior Seau Beach Community Center immediately north of the pier is being transformed to a triage-like emergency room to deal with a major disaster-by-the-sea.

In spite of its debauched lead characters, the city of Oceanside says the six seasons Animal Kingdom committed to Oceanside has helped boost tourism and establish the city as a destination for other TV and movie productions.

“In a normal year the cast and crew of Animal Kingdom visiting Oceanside included 200 to 500 which means up to 200 Oceanside rooms were booked that week,” says Patrick Young, special events coordinator for the city of Oceanside. He says the visiting production would drop up to $50,000 a day in Oceanside. “We estimate that Animal Kingdom brought in $1.5- to $2-million into Oceanside each season.”

Animal Kingdom members of Cody family: Baz, Pope, Craig, Deren

Young says the criminal content of Animal Kingdom was not an issue. “They made Oceanside look like the most beautiful community ever.” He says since Animal Kingdom came to Oceanside in 2016, other Hollywood studios have come calling. “At least once a month we get a visit from a location scout from a major studio. We were in negotiation with Netflix for a motion picture. Then Covid hit and the project was shelved. I can tell you we will be getting another TV series. I think TV is better than a motion picture since they can be in and out in three-to-five days each time, where a motion picture could impact the city for two to three months.”

Without getting specific, Young says Oceanside could be the setting for a TV series based on Guantanamo Bay.

Roddy Browning is owner/operator of the Flying Pig restaurant which was across the street from the old DMV building (The Flying Pig is reopening July at a new location on Mission Avenue). “We had the actors bring their families in to eat even when they weren’t filming,” says Browning who adds that Oceanside has nothing to lose from Animal Kingdom’s saucy storylines. “People in Cincinnati are not going to look at it and think that’s what Oceanside is about. All that stuff is just drama. This was not a reality show.”

Animal Kingdom used the inside and outside of Real Surf in its first four seasons. Owner Shawn Ambrose says Warner Bros. Television was “very fair” in compensating local residents and business owners. “The actors actually came in and bought boards from me for their own use. Because of all the shots they used, Oceanside never looked so good…I still get people coming into the shop saying they stopped by because they are fans of the show.”

In the show, Real Surf was owned by Adrian who was played by Spencer Treat Clark. “When Adrian got busted at the airport trying to smuggle drugs in a board, they even used one of my boards.”

The Animal Kingdom cast and crew returns to Oceanside in July for another week of season six filming. Oceanside's Young says this shoot will involve locations east of I-5 since the city cannot afford to have any studio tie up parking spaces or have streets closed down during the summer months.

Since this is the final season and all the main characters from the Cody family in Animal Kingdom were involved with crime, one has to wonder if the main characters might be killed off in the end?

“I hope it ends like The Departed,” said Ambrose about the 2006 movie featuring an Boston gang that starred Leonardo DeCaprio, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson. “Everyone died in that movie and it was great. It wasn’t a nice, sweet Hollywood ending.”

Meanwhile, security guards are stationed 24/7 to keep locals away from Pope’s skate ramp. Longtime local skater Josh Carson says it’s too bad Animal Kingdom won’t let the standout local skaters in the picture. “This area is packed with local skate talent and they won’t let any of them in the show,” says Carson. “They all went down there to try and ride it but they were kicked out. They wanted to skate in the show as extras. They told them they didn’t even want to be paid. But they wouldn’t do it.”

Carson says this temporary skatepark with an ocean-view reminds him of the days when there was another beach-adjacent skate ramp in Oceanside. It opened in 1998 a block east of the pier. “The city made you get a photo ID card to use it. There was someone from the city to make sure everyone who skated on it was legit. You had to wear protection. Those of us who couldn’t afford the pads just tied maxi-pads on your elbows.” Carson blames non-skaters for getting that skate facility closed. “The tweekers started coming down. We’d kick them out but then they would just come back at night and take it over. The city shut it down in 2002.”

Carson is known as the mayor of the popular Alex Road Skate Park.

He helped circulate a petition to get it renamed Prince Skate Park after Michael “Prince” Johnson, a much-loved Oceanside skater who died at 25, just after the park opened in 2013. The Oceanside city council took up the matter at its April 21 meeting. The council directed the parks and recreation commission to accept applications to consider renaming local facilities after famous Oceansiders. Mayor Jim Wood as well as deceased locals Prince Johnson, former high school swimming coach Bill Wagner and skater/surfer Shane Hidalgo were all mentioned by the council as possible namesake honorees. The facilities to be considered for renaming included Alex Road Park, the new El Corazon Aquatics Center, and the skate park at Martin Luther King Park. The council will vote on permanent facility renaming this summer.

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Spencer Treat Clark of Animal Kingdom with Real Surf's Shawn Ambrose
Spencer Treat Clark of Animal Kingdom with Real Surf's Shawn Ambrose

Animal Kingdom is TV’s intense weekly drama about the crime-loving Cody family. Brothers Pope, Craig and Deran took on murder, armed robbery, explosives, and drugs all while living in Oceanside. A Warner Bros. Television crew just returned to Oceanside to shoot the sixth and final season of the weekly drama. Due to Covid, Season Five of Animal Kingdom was postponed a year and will launch on TNT July 11.

The story arc for the sixth and final season of Animal Kingdom which will air in the summer of 2022 involves flashbacks of the major characters. In his early years Pope was an aspiring pro skater. That’s why Animal Kingdom built a skate ramp on the empty lot on the corner of Pacific and Wisconsin streets. The ramp comes down after the Animal Kingdom production leaves town May 23.

Temporary Animal Kingdom skate ramp in Oceanside

Other sites to be used this week for the shooting of season six include a lifeguard tower, the beachfront home on The Strand used in previous seasons, and the former Department of Motor Vehicles building on Tremont and Wisconsin Street whose exterior is supposed to represent Deran’s bar. One source says the gym-like Junior Seau Beach Community Center immediately north of the pier is being transformed to a triage-like emergency room to deal with a major disaster-by-the-sea.

In spite of its debauched lead characters, the city of Oceanside says the six seasons Animal Kingdom committed to Oceanside has helped boost tourism and establish the city as a destination for other TV and movie productions.

“In a normal year the cast and crew of Animal Kingdom visiting Oceanside included 200 to 500 which means up to 200 Oceanside rooms were booked that week,” says Patrick Young, special events coordinator for the city of Oceanside. He says the visiting production would drop up to $50,000 a day in Oceanside. “We estimate that Animal Kingdom brought in $1.5- to $2-million into Oceanside each season.”

Animal Kingdom members of Cody family: Baz, Pope, Craig, Deren

Young says the criminal content of Animal Kingdom was not an issue. “They made Oceanside look like the most beautiful community ever.” He says since Animal Kingdom came to Oceanside in 2016, other Hollywood studios have come calling. “At least once a month we get a visit from a location scout from a major studio. We were in negotiation with Netflix for a motion picture. Then Covid hit and the project was shelved. I can tell you we will be getting another TV series. I think TV is better than a motion picture since they can be in and out in three-to-five days each time, where a motion picture could impact the city for two to three months.”

Without getting specific, Young says Oceanside could be the setting for a TV series based on Guantanamo Bay.

Roddy Browning is owner/operator of the Flying Pig restaurant which was across the street from the old DMV building (The Flying Pig is reopening July at a new location on Mission Avenue). “We had the actors bring their families in to eat even when they weren’t filming,” says Browning who adds that Oceanside has nothing to lose from Animal Kingdom’s saucy storylines. “People in Cincinnati are not going to look at it and think that’s what Oceanside is about. All that stuff is just drama. This was not a reality show.”

Animal Kingdom used the inside and outside of Real Surf in its first four seasons. Owner Shawn Ambrose says Warner Bros. Television was “very fair” in compensating local residents and business owners. “The actors actually came in and bought boards from me for their own use. Because of all the shots they used, Oceanside never looked so good…I still get people coming into the shop saying they stopped by because they are fans of the show.”

In the show, Real Surf was owned by Adrian who was played by Spencer Treat Clark. “When Adrian got busted at the airport trying to smuggle drugs in a board, they even used one of my boards.”

The Animal Kingdom cast and crew returns to Oceanside in July for another week of season six filming. Oceanside's Young says this shoot will involve locations east of I-5 since the city cannot afford to have any studio tie up parking spaces or have streets closed down during the summer months.

Since this is the final season and all the main characters from the Cody family in Animal Kingdom were involved with crime, one has to wonder if the main characters might be killed off in the end?

“I hope it ends like The Departed,” said Ambrose about the 2006 movie featuring an Boston gang that starred Leonardo DeCaprio, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson. “Everyone died in that movie and it was great. It wasn’t a nice, sweet Hollywood ending.”

Meanwhile, security guards are stationed 24/7 to keep locals away from Pope’s skate ramp. Longtime local skater Josh Carson says it’s too bad Animal Kingdom won’t let the standout local skaters in the picture. “This area is packed with local skate talent and they won’t let any of them in the show,” says Carson. “They all went down there to try and ride it but they were kicked out. They wanted to skate in the show as extras. They told them they didn’t even want to be paid. But they wouldn’t do it.”

Carson says this temporary skatepark with an ocean-view reminds him of the days when there was another beach-adjacent skate ramp in Oceanside. It opened in 1998 a block east of the pier. “The city made you get a photo ID card to use it. There was someone from the city to make sure everyone who skated on it was legit. You had to wear protection. Those of us who couldn’t afford the pads just tied maxi-pads on your elbows.” Carson blames non-skaters for getting that skate facility closed. “The tweekers started coming down. We’d kick them out but then they would just come back at night and take it over. The city shut it down in 2002.”

Carson is known as the mayor of the popular Alex Road Skate Park.

He helped circulate a petition to get it renamed Prince Skate Park after Michael “Prince” Johnson, a much-loved Oceanside skater who died at 25, just after the park opened in 2013. The Oceanside city council took up the matter at its April 21 meeting. The council directed the parks and recreation commission to accept applications to consider renaming local facilities after famous Oceansiders. Mayor Jim Wood as well as deceased locals Prince Johnson, former high school swimming coach Bill Wagner and skater/surfer Shane Hidalgo were all mentioned by the council as possible namesake honorees. The facilities to be considered for renaming included Alex Road Park, the new El Corazon Aquatics Center, and the skate park at Martin Luther King Park. The council will vote on permanent facility renaming this summer.

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