Written and directed by Laurel Parmet, ‘The Starling Girl’ is a drama movie that follows a 17-year-old girl named Jem Starling who might have been raised in a fundamentalist Christian community but still feels lost in the world, trying to find her place. Since her younger siblings look up to her, she aspires to maintain a religious persona and become an inspirational figure to them. Despite finding happiness in her church’s dance troupe, she is constantly at war with her sexuality and worried that her actions might be sinful.
When Owen, Jem’s charming youth pastor, returns to her church, she gets attracted to him instantly. Giving in to the temptation, both indulge in a passionate and dangerous relationship that threatens to shake the foundation of the entire church community. Starring Eliza Scanlen, Lewis Pullman, Jimmi Simpson, Wrenn Schmidt, and Austin Abrams, the drama movie unfolds in rural Kentucky with the well-knitted community of the church at the heart of the narrative. The darker undertone adds to the dramatic yet sinful feel of the movie, making you curious about the actual filming sites of ‘The Starling Girl.’ In that case, we have got you covered!
The Starling Girl Filming Locations
‘The Starling Girl’ was filmed in Kentucky, specifically in Jefferson County. As per reports, principal photography for the religious movie commenced in mid-May 2022 and wrapped up in a month or so, in June of the same year. Earlier, the plan was to shoot the movie in Oklahoma and then, even in New Zealand, but due to several reasons, the production shifted to Kentucky. Now, without much ado, allow us to fill you in on all the details about the same!
Jefferson County, Kentucky
All the pivotal sequences for ‘The Starling Girl’ were lensed in Kentucky’s Jefferson County, where the story is set. In particular, the city and county seat, Louisville, and the surrounding areas served as the primary production locations for the drama movie. The exteriors of Arleen’s Bar were shot around High Horse Bar at 1032 Story Avenue in Louisville. Moreover, the interior scenes were recorded on location in Air Devils Inn at 2802 Taylorsville Road in the same city.
The cast and crew also traveled across the county, especially to rural areas just outside Louisville, to tape various important scenes against suitable backdrops. In January 2023, director Laurel Parmet and producer Kara Durrett had an in-depth conversation about the movie’s production process with Filmmaker Magazine. Parmet shared quite a lot about choosing Kentucky over Oklahoma, saying, “Yeah, there are a lot of fundamentalist communities in Kentucky, so it didn’t feel like a stretch to move the story from Oklahoma. I felt like (setting the film in Kentucky) would still be truthful to the story.”
“…Of course, we made changes to the script to make it “Kentucky-specific.” It wasn’t just like a plug-and-play situation. We made adjustments to the script and production design and even to the music. I wanted the story to feel as authentic as possible, so we didn’t want to shoot Kentucky for another state. It was like, ‘If we’re going to shoot the film in Kentucky, it should be set in Kentucky,'” the director added.
Read More: Is The Starling Girl Based on a True Story?