The city election involved lots of debate over a new headquarters for the Terre Haute Police Department.
But is Raleigh, N.C., really a fitting location? The 750-mile commute for the cops would be dreadful.
Seriously, a building in downtown Raleigh posed as the THPD headquarters Wednesday during the filming of a scene in the upcoming movie “Arthur Newman, Golf Pro.” The production crew of Vertebra Newman Film Co. placed Terre Haute Police Department signs and insignias on the exterior of the Raleigh News & Observer newspaper building on McDowell Street. The largest sign identified the site as THPD “Central Precinct 427.” A squad car also bore an eerily real THPD decal.
The film stars Colin Firth as Wallace Avery, a man whose life has unraveled. He’s lost his job, his ex-wife and son despise him, and he’s blown his chance at his dream job on the professional golf tour, where he’s known as “The Choker,” according to a synopsis provided by the film company. Even his unemployment checks wind up getting lost. Wanting to escape it all, “Wallace decides to take advantage of an offer he received after helping the owner of a private club in Terre Haute correct his swing — a job as the club’s pro.”
So, he fakes his own death, takes on the identity of a golf pro, Arthur Newman, and heads out on a road trip. In this alternate universe, he meets a young girl named Mike (played by Emily Blunt), who is also running from a troubled past.
Together, they break into vacant houses and assume the absent owners’ identities. Anne Heche plays Firth’s girlfriend, who badly mistreats him.
A pair of Terre Haute police officers are played by actors Michael Beasley and Ron Prather, with a half-dozen local extras acting as fellow cops, according to Brooke Cain, a reporter for the News & Observer who covered Wednesday’s activities.
Several other North Carolina towns served as other U.S. cities depicted in the movie, including Orlando, Fla.
Readers may ask, “Why Terre Haute?” Well, no one from Vertebra Newman was available Thursday to explain the choice. Such cinematic mystery is becoming a baffling trend for Terre Haute. Comic actor Will Ferrell and a small production crew showed up unannounced at Seventh and Wabash one morning in September, filmed what appeared to be an Old Milwaukee beer commercial, dined at Cracker Barrel and left without explanation.
Now, a Southern city is pretending to be Terre Haute for a day in a movie starring an Academy Award winner (Firth), a Golden Globe winner (Blunt) and an Emmy Award winner (Heche), and the question remains, “Why Terre Haute?”
Folks in Raleigh probably wondered the same thing Wednesday as they watched the movements of the actors.
In the Terre Haute scenes, Firth sits in a park (Raleigh’s Nash Square) across the street from the police station. (Imagine that — the 2011 Oscar winner for Best Actor camped out in a local park.) Blunt walks out of the station lobby and into the park to meet Firth. Blunt’s outfit and makeup looked a bit Gothic, with “short shorts” and blackened hair, said Cain. She speculated that Blunt’s character might have been in trouble with the law. Heche did not act in that scene, but did in another shot elsewhere in Raleigh, reportedly meant to be Orlando.
News & Observer officials had been contacted by the production company earlier this fall, and a location scout visited the building, said Felicia Gressette, the newspaper’s vice president of marketing.
“They liked the look of our building, which is mid-’50s, vintage,” Gressette said.
(Obviously, mid-’50s, vintage is also Hollywood’s image of a police station in Terre Haute.)
The News & Observer agreed upon a deal for the filming, but no one at the newspaper realized it would be the setting for a police headquarters in Indiana.
“We all came to work [Wednesday] and saw a great big sign on the front of the building saying ‘Terre Haute Police Department,’” Cain said, chuckling.
The presence of the high-profile cast members caught the attention of numerous newspaper staffers and other Raleigh residents. “I mostly worked,” Gressette said, “but some spent a good deal of time star gazing.”
Terre Haute residents — real Hauteans living in the actual Indiana city — reacted much the same way when Ferrell breezed into downtown two months ago. The sign of Hollywood types isn’t quite so rare for Raleigh locals. North Carolina, especially Wilmington, has an active film industry. In fact, Firth came to neighboring Durham in 2009, the setting of his recently released movie “Main Street,” which didn’t wow theater-goers or critics.
“I hope [‘Arthur Newman, Golf Pro’] is a good movie,” Gressette said.
Me, too. In the meantime, Hauteans can pop open an Old Milwaukee, break out the golf clubs and wait to see how Will Ferrell and the Vertebra Newman Film Co. portray our humble town.
Mark Bennett can be reached at (812) 231-4377 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The city election involved lots of debate over a new headquarters for the Terre Haute Police Department.
- Local & Bistate
Purdue shooting leaves one person dead
A Purdue University engineering student opened fire inside a basement classroom Tuesday, killing a teaching assistant and prompting officials to put the campus on lockdown, police and the university said.
Dream of a lifetime
It was “a dream of a lifetime” for one Terre Haute woman.
THS grad Miller among students in adjacent building when shooting occurs
Kris Miller and his roommate were in a computer lab of Purdue’s mechanical engineering building Tuesday when they received a call that a shooting had occurred next door.
Bosma moves gay marriage ban bill to friendlier committee
Republican House of Representatives Speaker Brian Bosma sent a bill that proposes a constitutional ban on gay marriage to a more conservative-leaning legislature committee Tuesday, because it lacked support on the first committee to which it was assigned.
We enter the deep freeze again
If you had to step outside to get your newspaper this morning, you might have noticed it’s painfully cold once again.
Levy redirects school funds
If the new “protected levy” legislation goes into effect later this year, it would mean “a substantial reduction” in revenue for Vigo County School Corp. bus transportation, capital projects and bus replacement funds, according to the district’s chief financial officer.
School debt levy redirects funds across Indiana
School officials and state legislators from around the state are searching for ways to keep the school buses running — and children safe on the streets — pending the loss of millions of dollars for school transportation.
More than 50 school districts in Indiana stand to lose at least 20 percent of their revenues for transportation, new buses and other big-ticket projects under a new law that requires them to first pay off their debts.
VIDEO: Sen. Donnelly updates T-S editorial board
Passage of a long overdue U.S. farm bill could be completed by the end of this month, Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., said Tuesday.
Vigo coroner tries again for salary increase
After being denied last year, Vigo County Coroner Dr. Susan Amos is again seeking to have her county salary increased to match that of several other county office holders.
Homeless, renters, leasers
All kinds of housing issues come to the attention of the Terre Haute Human Relations Committee, including discrimination.
MIKE LUNSFORD: Something to crow about, as our neighbors return
It is in the spring, I think, that I notice crows the most. They are noisy neighbors year-round, but they come calling (I resisted saying “cawing”) in early March in earnest, and they do so before the frogs on our pond and the buds on our trees make the new season official.
MAUREEN HAYDEN: Curbing the ‘tough on crime’ mentality
Republican Sen. Brent Steele is the rock-ribbed, law-and-order chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, but he’s no ordinary conservative.
The night it rained tears
March fuels college basketball teams. Fun, glory, buzzer-beater shots and storybook endings in the NCAA Tournament await there.
POVERTY IN AMERICA: Success depends on birth location
Deb Kesler grew up poor in a single-parent family, but she knew that education was the ticket to a better life.
She and three siblings put themselves through college with grants, loans and work.
50 years after Civil Rights Act, work still to be done
This July will mark the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — a landmark piece of legislation that outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
Indian tradition welcomes colors of spring
One little corner of Deming Park got some spring colors Saturday morning when community members gathered to “play Holi,” an important tradition in India.
Students raise more than $1,100 for children’s hospital, watch school staff get heads shaved
Off with the hair!
Middle school students cheered and laughed with excitement during a school assembly Friday at Honey Creek Middle School as they watched three school administrators “go bald” to support a good cause.
Small World Learning Center hopes to save Woods preschool
A Terre Haute preschool facility on Friday night has publicly announced its offer of a merger with The Woods Day Care/Pre-School.
Hot projects on display at home show
Two-year-old Reed Clutter looked like he felt right at home as he played on a swing inside Hulman Center in downtown Terre Haute during the 2014 Home Show kick off on Friday.
VIDEO: Seuss is Loose
Ouabache Elementary School Music teacher Alison West, playing the part of Dr. Seuss' Thing 1, tosses confetti during the "Seuss is Loose" parade celebrating the end of ISTEP+ testing.
Utility seeks land for new power lines
Duke Energy is planning to install a new high-voltage power transmission line that would travel between 10 to 13 miles north to south along the Wabash River, in anticipation of the 2015 closure of its Wabash River Generation Station.
Lugar Center to offer CPR training sessions today
Staff members from Union Hospital are partnering with Clark County (Ill.) residents to offer free CPR training to interested community members.
Free cab rides offered for St. Pat’s Day
Terre Haute law firm Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, which has made a tradition of encouraging free cab rides home to those who have consumed too much to drive, has its eyes now on St. Patrick’s Day.
More couples challenge same-sex marriage ban
Three federal lawsuits were filed Friday against Indiana’s same-sex marriage ban, boosting the number of legal challenges to the ban’s constitutionality to at least five.
INDOT to discuss U.S. 40 upgrades in Brazil
Indiana Department of Transportation and Gradex Inc. personnel will discuss a pending upgrade of U.S. 40 through Brazil at an informational meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday in the council room at Brazil City Hall, 203 E. National Ave.
Chamber still taking nominations
The Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce is accepting nominations for the 2013 Business Recognition Awards.
Vigo County Jail Log: March 14, 2014
The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Thursday and Friday, based on jail records.
2 new suits target Indiana’s gay marriage ban
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Two new federal lawsuits are taking aim at Indiana’s same-sex marriage ban, boosting to four the number of legal challenges to the law filed in a week.
Verizon new title sponsor for IndyCar
Verizon will be the new title sponsor for the IndyCar Series, replacing Izod, which left at the end of the 2013 season.
Driver in critical condition after water rescue
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Fire department divers pulled a woman from an SUV that submerged in an Indianapolis waterway after it careened off a city street.
- More Local & Bistate Headlines
- Purdue shooting leaves one person dead