'Redneck Wedding' hits Ocala

A film crew member adjusts a video camera on a Victory motorcycle as actor and comedian Tom Arnold talks about his hog hunting experience in Crystal River on Thursday night. Arnold was filming an episode of “My Big Fat Redneck Wedding” in Ocala on Friday at the Hooters restaurant on State Road 200.

Ocala Star-Banner
Published: Friday, August 1, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, August 2, 2008 at 1:53 a.m.

OCALA — Friday’s lunch crowd at the Hooters restaurant on State Road 200 got a chance to see comedian and actor Tom Arnold tape a portion of the reality show “My Big Fat Redneck Wedding” that he hosts on the Country Music Television network.

The show, which opens its second season later this month, will soon feature an Ocala couple, who are set to get married today. Arnold planned some special surprises for the couple, but those details won’t be revealed to them until the ceremony.

Arnold, previously married to comedian Roseanne Barr, filmed several scenes at the restaurant, including one with two Hooters Girls. The scene involve him asking for help in selecting flowers for the couple’s wedding.

The girls selected for the shot were Brittany Woolford of Orlando and Niki Longtin of Lakeland. Longtin described Arnold as a great guy. Woolford said she felt privileged to work with him. The two shared a laugh remembering a part of their scene where Arnold feeds Woolford a piece of cake.

“It tasted really much better since it came from him,” she said.

Lewis Bogach, executive producer for CMT, said the crew has been in the area for several weeks setting up the episode with Arnold serving as the wedding director. He said production should wrap on Sunday.

Arnold took a few minutes between takes to chat with patrons and staff, pose for photographs and sign autographs. He said he enjoyed the hospitality of the local community as he spent time on Thursday and Friday finalizing details for the wedding.

“I think this is my first trip to Ocala,” Arnold said, making sure he had the pronunciation correct. “I grew up in a small town in Iowa and it (Ocala) is even more quaint.“

Bryan Jarman, the local Hooters manager, said he was notified about a week ago that the site would be used for filming.

“I think it’s awesome for the store and the town, especially with the tough economic times we’ve been having,” he said. “This is the most excitement we’ve had here in a while.”

Customer Claire Prevatt and several members of her family showed up looking for lunch, but didn’t expect anything unusual. The party of four had a table right where Arnold was shooting. They were shocked when he suddenly appeared at the table to feed Prevatt a piece of cake.

“I was surprised when he came over,” she said. “I’m a big fan of his and I watch the show. And just think — we almost went to McDonald’s for lunch.”

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