News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

September 20, 2012

VIDEO: Mark Bennett: Terre Haute featured in ‘strange, offbeat, evocative, wonderful movie’

TERRE HAUTE — Some people hold a fond memory of Terre Haute.

Some even dream of escaping to Terre Haute to start a new life.

(That was not a typo. The sentence correctly reads “escaping to Terre Haute” and not “escaping from Terre Haute.”)

Such attitudes about this city brought to life a new movie, starring an Oscar-winning actor, and written by an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter.

And, just how significant is the connection? The film’s title is “Arthur Newman,” but it almost wasn’t.

“There was a whole campaign to actually call the movie ‘Terre Haute,’ but people thought it was too obscure,” Becky Johnston, the screenwriter and producer, said Friday by telephone from Los Angeles.

Even without a spot on theater marquees, this town reaps a benefit that economic-development and tourism advocates crave — the perception of Terre Haute as a destination. Of course, this occurs in the context of a cinematic drama. “Arthur Newman” offers no sunny travel-brochure material that will put the community on a “Best Places to Live” list.

It’s a dark comedy, filmed last fall in North Carolina and unveiled this month at the Toronto Film Festival. Yet, “Arthur Newman” also gives Terre Haute its most extensive silver-screen exposure, surpassing memorable one-liner mentions in “A Christmas Story,” “The Blues Brothers,” “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid,” “Breaking Away” and “Some Came Running.”

On the down side, Vertebra Films shot the Terre Haute scenes in Raleigh, rather than on the banks of the Wabash, using signs and decals to disguise cars and buildings in North Carolina’s capital city as those of the Terre Haute Police Department. Still, the talent involved is world-class. It stars Colin Firth (last year’s Oscar winner for Best Actor in “The King’s Speech”), Emily Blunt (a Golden Globe winner) and Anne Heche (an Emmy winner). Behind the scenes, the woman who wrote “Arthur Newman,” Johnston, has on her resumé an Academy Award nomination for Best Screenplay for 1991’s “Prince of Tides.”

Johnston is responsible for injecting Terre Haute into the plot of her latest project. Her choice to use it as a setting was “completely random.”

Well, almost.

In the film, Terre Haute represents a new existence for Wallace Avery (played by Firth). Wallace’s mild-mannered life in Florida has collapsed. His ex-wife and son despise him. He’s lost his job, unemployment checks, and his dream career as a pro golfer by living up to his nickname, “The Choker.” His girlfriend, Mina (Heche), mistreats him badly. Wallace wants to leave it all behind and decides to cash in an offer he got after fixing a man’s golf swing. The guy needed a golf pro at the country club he owns … in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Adventure ensues. Wallace fakes his own death, takes on the persona of a golf pro named Arthur Newman, and embarks on a bizarre road trip. Along the way, he meets a troubled young girl named Mike (Blunt), also on the run from a dysfunctional past. With seemingly little more in common than the need to escape the past, they join forces and head for Terre Haute. En route, Arthur and Mike break into vacant houses, play-acting as the homeowners. Eventually, the wayward souls realize the identities they abandoned actually are what binds them.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN 3 People Killed, Deputies Wounded in NC Shootout 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Raw: 16 Killed in Gaza Market Strike Raw: Plane Lands on New York Highway Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Raw: Smoke, Explosions Fill Gaza Skyline Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways
NDN Video
Famous Internet Cats Help Big Cause With Viral Video Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2" Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza Meet the Man Behind Dumb Starbucks Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity