Talk about the two worlds of this blog colliding. After seven years in New York, I got used to tripping over film crews. I never lost all curiosity, but it did become quite commonplace, particularly at Union Seminary, where the assorted Law and Order shows set up shop constantly and lots of other productions troop through.
So I get an academic job and move to a small, quiet town in the Midwest, and what happens? Oh, just a giant Michael Mann 1930s gangster movie starring-- wait for it--JOHNNY DEPP--comes to town.
Privately, I've always thought that Oshkosh looked like a movie set (though I usually pick the 1950s); I'm glad to have my opinions vindicated by some of Hollywood's finest (We really liked Collateral in this house). And, of course, as all of Northeast Wisconsin knows by now, Mann's film Public Enemies will be shooting here sometime in the next few weeks. Crews are already busy turning back the proverbial clock on Main Street. You can see the coolness they've worked elsewhere in Wisconsin (specifically, Columbus). The general mania surrounding the filming so far in Wisconsin is being documented on Dane 101 and many other blogs, including in this funny piece.
I'm not even going to pretend that I'm not excited. In addition to Johnny Depp and Christian Bale, the film stars David Wenham. Yes, that's right, geeks. Faramir is in Wisconsin. Dude. I'm darn excited, and so are my students (they're not as geeky as I am about LOTR though).
In reality, I know that I'm probably not going to be seeing any movie stars (they won't all film scenes here). It's not like I have the kind of job that I can skip out on and go watch them film all day, and if I learned one thing from living in New York, it's that making movies (from the bystanders' perspective) is mainly about people setting up lights and sound equipment and I'm not too likely to trip over them filming scenes. Still, I'm giddy about the production being here because I'm excited by the craft of movies-- knowing that someone had to decide what color green to paint on the exterior of what is usually a local coffee place so that it will show up in a few seconds of film, watching all of these little details come into place, is pretty darn neat.
One funny side effect is that the town's dissafected youths (or "yout'" if we are in West Side Story), who usually congregate around the sundial on the green and smoke cigarettes, now have nowhere to go because the sun dial is being surrounded by a false front they're building for the movie (I can see how the modern sculpture would be a tad out of place). Today we saw them wandering on Algoma Blvd., looking a bit confused about where to stand.
Our town's quaint little Main St.-which has such a Disneyworld, simulated, set-like quality already-- is now literally being painted over into a movie set.
More to come in the days ahead, methinks.