What are the odds of two premium cable dramas partially set in Pahrump airing on the same night?
An hour after “Ray Donovan” (9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13, Showtime) spent some time inside the community’s very real Sheri’s Ranch, the 10-episode “Get Shorty” (10 p.m. Sunday, EPIX) began operating out of its very fake Silver Dust Casino.
A very loose interpretation of the 1995 movie and the Elmore Leonard novel on which it was based, “Get Shorty” follows Miles Daly (Chris O’Dowd), an enforcer for a fictional Pahrump crime boss named Amara (Lidia Porto).
When his partner (Sean Bridgers) kills a screenwriter who owed Amara $25,000, Miles takes the man’s blood-soaked script and tries to break into the movie business, where he connects with a straight-to-DVD producer (Ray Romano).
Pahrump is a long way from Miami, which Chili Palmer called home in both the book and the movie. Series creator Davey Holmes, a writer on Showtime’s “Shameless,” has said he was inspired to set the drama in Pahrump after Lamar Odom nearly died in a brothel there in 2015.
Odom, though, was found unconscious at the Love Ranch, 20-something miles away in Crystal.
Miles Daly also is a long way from Chili Palmer, but he’s not that far from a Chili’s. There’s an outpost of the chain restaurant in Holmes’ version of Pahrump. It’s right across the parking lot from a movie theater.
Though the show takes place partly in Pahrump, it was actually shot in Albuquerque, a show spokeswoman said Monday.
‘Ray Donovan’ at Sheri’s
For “Ray Donovan,” Lou Fusaro served as executive producer. Fusaro praised the way that the Sheri’s sign stands out in the desert and says the cast spent a day filming there.
“Sheri’s Ranch was happy to have us. It was a little product placement for them,” Fusaro says. “We loved the way it looked.”
The only scenes during the trip that weren’t shot on location were the ones that take place in a bedroom inside Sheri’s. The production team had to build a set for that because none of the real rooms were big enough to accommodate filming.
The other bit of fakery involves the show’s many driving scenes. It’s too difficult to shoot them with the actors in a moving car, so they’re done in front of green screens. One of Radulovic’s jobs was to oversee filming of the scenery on the route from Jean to Pahrump and, ultimately, Las Vegas, that would be inserted later.
It’s the show’s second trip to Southern Nevada in the past two seasons. The crew spent nine days in Primm last year filming parts of three episodes while Ray’s dad, Mickey (Jon Voight), hid out and ultimately stole $4 million from Buffalo Bill’s.
Production on the series is moving to New York next season, so Sunday’s episode may be the last to feature Southern Nevada. But if it is the end, “Ray Donovan” goes out with a bang by continuing to showcase locations rarely seen on TV or movies.
“Well, we pride ourselves on doing that,” Fusaro boasts. “We try to do something other people aren’t doing.”
This story was compiled from reports by Christopher Lawrence, a reporter for the Las Vegas Review-Journal with a contribution from Pahrump Valley Times staff.