Half-eaten bag of guacamole Tostitos chips. Kleenex box. Seven bottles. And a hardcover copy of To Obama: With Love, Joy, Anger, and Hope.
That’s what Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas found after he emptied the bottom left drawer of his office as part of the city’s effort to recruit a new show focused on the idea of organizing your life before you die.
Well, that’s in addition to the production company’s “amazing” experience in Kansas City on a previous project and financial incentive.
Scout Productions, producers of “Queer Eye” and “Parks and Recreation” Netflix, Amy Poehler, are bringing “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning” to Kansas City.
The show was adapted from a 2018 book by Swedish writer Margarita Magnusson and will be filmed in Kansas City, the Kansas City and Kansas City Film Bureau announced Wednesday morning.
Episodes will be about an hour long and will feature people who need to get their lives and homes through, until they face a critical juncture. A Swedish “death cleaner” sweeps up to make them ready to die by organizing their homes, lives, and relationships.
“We look forward to seeing our city re-emerge internationally as the new series, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, explores the beauty and intricacies of major life transformations through the eyes of Kansasans,” Lucas said in a press release.
The show will air on Peacock/NBC Universal, but does not have a release date yet. Additional copies of the book will be available at all Kansas City Public Library locations beginning July 18. The library will also host related events.
“(Kansas City) was our first choice because we had a great time on our last production,” David Collins and Michael Williams of Scout Productions said in a press release. “The support we have received from the Kansas City Film Bureau and the city and its citizens has been more than amazing and makes the perfect setting for the first season show. Not to mention the barbecue!”
“Queer Eye” and Fab Five hosts – Bobby Burke, Karamo Brown, Tan France, Anthony Borowski and Jonathan Van Ness – shared their love for Kansas City after filming, noting the city’s friendliness and authenticity.
Kansas City Film Bureau Director Steve Shannon said Scout Productions has championed Kansas City throughout the thought process. Shannon said the time, attention, and collaboration were among the highlights of the company’s time in town.
The state of Missouri does not currently offer any government incentives to the film industry. Shannon said programs at the state level can help attract larger projects. The first question I asked when recruiting to bring shows and movies to Kansas City was, “What are your incentives?” Shannon said.
Before the Kansas City program began in 2016, the city was not able to compete with other markets at all.
The Kansas City program offers a cash discount of up to 10% on eligible expenses within city limits. Businesses have to meet certain criteria to see any benefits, such as shooting at least 25% within city limits.
It’s the same process that “Queer Eye” followed when it filmed two seasons in Kansas City.
When the program first started, it offered up to $75,000. Shannon said funding for the program has fallen during the pandemic, but is now up to $100,000. She said the more dollars she had in the box, the more products she could attract to Kansas City.
Not every project that comes to town needs a catalyst, Shannon said. But to view like this?
“They need an incentive to be the best possible business decision so that they can put as much money as possible into the actual offer,” Shannon said. “This offer is the best possible scenario. Our local motivation helped us recruit this offer, helped us think about it and stay in mind.”
Filming for the show begins this summer.
As for how tidy the mayor is… it’s not quite as clean as he would like it to be, he admitted in the video presentation of the show before he cleaned his desk drawer.
“I should really drink a lot of fluids,” said Lucas, pulling out bottle after bottle.
“I think a lot of what this is about is how you make it objective,” Lucas said later in the video. “That seems to be what a lot of Swedish death cleanup is about. Do you pass something, just do nothing?”