Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Why Columbus and When

Unless you have been living in cave for the last few months you know that Universal Studios will be filming a major motion picture in Columbus Wisconsin and not just some small pieces, a major portion of this action-thriller.

Public Enemies is based on a book written by Bryan Burroughs called . . . .Public Enemies which chronicles John Dillinger (Johnny Depp), Baby Face Nelson(Stephen Grahm), Pretty Boy Floyd(Channing Tatum), the Barker family, Machine Gun Kelly, Bonnie and Clyde, J Edgar Hooever, and Melvin Purvis(Christian Bale).

The Beaver Dam Daily Citizen describes it as "the FBI's transformation when confronted with crime sprees by Dillinger, Charles Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd and Lester "Baby Face Nelson" Gillis."

Also starring and coming to Columbus is Oscar Award winning actress (or are they all called actors now) Marion Cotillard who will play Dillinger's girlfriend, Billie Frechette, who was raised on the Menominee Indian Reservation in Northern Wisconsin (of which I am a member of).

Why Columbus for a Hollywood Blockbuster? Because of the high quality historic buildings. "Columbus has done a great job of maintaining the look of the town for the period without being remodeled in the wrong way."

Work as already started in the downtown area with awnings being taken down soon to be replaced. Awnings in the 1930's were hung more loosely, as they were taking down the "new" awnings they were discovering some very nice old awnings underneath.

One building getting a lot of attention has been the old bank which will be used as . . .you guessed it . . a bank. Many other locations have been getting attention (photos) including taking down stop lights in the center of town along with clearing snow and so forth.

Highways 16/60 and 73 going through Columbus will be closed from March 10th to March 20th.

There have been several casting calls. The latest one is in Oshkosh. Extras Casting Director Joan Philo said the casting call will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Traeger, 3000 W. 20th Ave.

Philo said she is looking for men at or under 6-feet 1-inch in height and women no taller than 5-feet 8-inches and no larger than a size 12 dress. She also asked people to get into the spirit of the film, a 1930s period piece, by dressing up for the casting call.

"We're hoping people will dress up for us so we can get an idea of what they'd look like in a 1930s period piece," Philo said.

Philo requested men show up wearing a dark-to-medium color suit, an overcoat and dress shoes, and have uncut hair. She asks that women wear a dark-to-medium color dress or skirt and sweater outfit, an overcoat and medium-heel pumps. Women should also curl their hair the night before and show up with it brushed out, she said.

Anyone showing up for the casting call should bring a recent color photo and a pen to fill out a registration card, Philo said.

This photo was taken by Craig Sauer for the Portage Daily Register and shows film reps scouring the town for location with Mayor Nancy Osterhaus in the blue coat.

Universal Studios expects to spend $20 million in the State with more then half of that going into the communities (of which Columbus is a major player). Plus there will be rewards AFTER filming is finished and the movie is out as film buffs will visit the town.

This film will be the first major production to come to Wisconsin after new tax incentives for the film industry took effect on Jan. 1. By producing in Wisconsin, the company could earn approximately $3.9 million in tax credits.

Other locations for the film are the North Side of Chicago, Crowne Point Indiana (Jail scene) , Madison (Capitol - unconfirmed) and Manitowish Waters.

I'll continue to take photos and my daughter-in-law lives a block away from the shoot and the parking lot next to her house has been getting cleaned up (winter junk) for trailers and so forth.

I'll have more news as it comes out.

If ANY of you hear news feel free to post it in the comments!!

Giovanni Ribisi

Channing Tatum

Marion Cotillard

Christian Bale


  1. Grinder, which parking lot is being cleared? The one behind the bank?

  2. It's the one behind JodeeO's

  3. It's frustrating not knowing the full cast of the Dillinger Gang or who is playing Hoover. if you find this info on location, let us know. Carry on sleuthing.

  4. great casting , bale & depp !