Fat Parrot to be featured in upcoming television show

by Alan Hodge

(From left) Bartender Tonya Fossett and owner Paula Pierce stand in the Fat Parrot where the series “Homeland“ recently filmed. (Alan Hodge/MIM photo)

A new TV series filmed in the Mountain Island area has turned cameras and heads to Fat Parrot pub.
According to owner Paula Pierce, a location scout for the Showtime series ‘Homeland’ dropped in the Fat Parrot one day and liked the atmosphere.
“The first location scout took some photos inside,” Pierce said. “The next day, five more came in with cameras and started shooting.”
From that point, things moved swiftly, and a full film crew with their equipment showed up at the 5416 Mount Holly-Huntersville Road bar’s door.
“They filled the parking lot with trucks and set up big lights,” Pierce said. “The set people, writers, director and actors were inside working. They started at 5 a.m. and were done by 3 p.m.”
The storyline for the episode featuring the Fat Parrot revolves around a returning prisoner of war from the Iraq war and the suspicion he might be involved with an al-Qaeda terrorism plot on American soil. Lead actress for the show, set to air Oct. 2 at 10 p.m. on Showtime, is Claire Danes. Damian Lewis plays the leading man.
“The stars and everyone with the film crew were wonderful,” Pierce said.
The Fat Parrot scene also includes a getaway shot. For that segment, police cars were parked in front of the bar. The cop cars, plus the large number of people and equipment in the lot and building, turned heads and piqued curiosity in passersby.
“My phone got 35 calls from people who wondered what was going on,” Pierce said. “A few thought we were being raided.”
The chances of a raid at the Fat Parrot building might have been a possibility in days past with other owners and under different names, but not likely with Pierce in charge. She bought the place in 2007 and set about making some changes for the better.
“This side of town needed a neighborhood bar,” Pierce said. “I wanted a pub like the one in the TV show ‘Cheers’ where everybody is like family. We have an interesting mix of customers. Some are new to the area and others have lived here a while. It’s a mixing pot of people.”
Pierce is especially proud the Fat Parrot is “female friendly”.
“I wanted the Fat Parrot to be a place where a woman would feel comfortable coming in alone,” she said. “We have a zero tolerance policy for fighting and anyone who does is banned.”
Pierce also says that Fat Parrot staff will drive anyone home who has had a few too many adult beverages.
“We want everyone to be safe,” she said.
As far as the name, Pierce said she went to Key West and saw some bars there that served as an inspiration.
“I wanted something funny and friendly so I thought a fat parrot was good.”
As for the upcoming Homeland show, Pierce has big plans for that evening at the Fat Parrot.
“We are going to have a Homeland party the night it airs and everyone can watch the show here,” she said. “It will be great.”

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