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 email@example.com.
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.
Feds arrest Putnam County deputy on charges of violence
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A sheriff’s deputy from a rural Indiana county has been indicted on federal civil rights charges.
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.
Vigo County Jail Log: March 10, 2014
The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, based on jail records.
Police: Meth organization dismantled in Vigo County
Five people face criminal charges after police dismantled an alleged methamphetamine organization in Vigo County, according to an Indiana State Police news release.
Food Inspections: March 10, 2014
The Vigo County Health Department inspected the following food establishments during the week of Feb. 24 - 28:
Canvasing families: Mothers confront life with diabetic children
Four Wabash Valley mothers who sat around a circular table Thursday night couldn’t hold back tears as they talked about their children’s battles with a lifelong disease and their hopes for helping other affected families.
MAX JONES: Newspapers can be fun, too; check out Readers’ Choice
Smart and savvy newspaper readers (that’s all of you, of course) know full well that their daily consumption of news and information isn’t an exclusively high-brow pursuit.
Changed wording to SJR-9 delays debate on right to hunt, fish
A much-debated ban on same-sex marriage wasn’t the only proposed constitutional amendment to get knocked off of this November’s ballot. Gone, too, is the less contentious proposal to protect Hoosiers’ right to hunt and fish.
You’re home now: A veteran’s Midwest move that almost wasn’t
To say that Michael Curry was stressed is an understatement.
A service member who has been in the U.S. Army for more than 21 years, he had just arrived in Vigo County with his family — wife, four teen-age children, mother-in-law and two dogs — when he learned the home loan he had obtained in Texas was denied.
Valley lawmakers assess legislative session’s trials, tribulations
As state legislators head into the final week of the state legislative session, five of them from the Wabash Valley met with citizens Saturday at the Vigo County Public Library in downtown Terre Haute and engaged in conversation about the “ups and downs” of the recent session.
Families often unaware of helpful groups for kids with disabilities
One Saturday morning event in Terre Haute aimed to raise awareness about the resources available to people with disabilities.
Spotting pot, gun in home nets 2 arrests.
Two adults were arrested and two children removed from a Vigo County home on Friday after drugs and a handgun with altered serial numbers were discovered in the home, authorities said.
HUMAN RIGHTS DAY: Focus on poverty, inequality
The issues of poverty and inequality will be at the forefront of the 13th annual Terre Haute Human Rights Day on March 18 at Indiana State University.
VIDEO: Tasting their way to a cure
People appeared to be in high spirits Friday inside the historic Indiana Theatre as they gathered for an evening of wine, food and conversation while supporting efforts to find a cure for breast cancer.
Same-sex marriage: 4 couples sue state over ban
Four gay couples from southern Indiana sued the state Friday, seeking to force Indiana to recognize same-sex marriages from out of state and issue licenses to same-sex couples.
Time to check smoke alarms
Three years after a house fire on South Nine Street in Terre Haute resulted in the death of three people, a Terre Haute grandmother still wonders if the outcome of that fire would have been different if smoke detectors in the home had been working.
Indiana State Board extends president’s contract
Indiana State University has signed up Dan Bradley, the school’s president, for an additional three years of service.
New animal shelter gets welcome boost
The aging Terre Haute Humane Society shelter is not a place for the faint of heart.
4 couples sue Indiana over same-sex marriage ban
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Four couples from southern Indiana are asking a federal judge to force the state to recognize same-sex marriages from other states and issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
Vigo County Jail Log: March 7, 2014
The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Thursday and Friday, based on jail records.
Bill for welfare drug testing in negotiation
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Two Indiana lawmakers trying to pass a bill requiring drug tests for some welfare recipients say they have passed voluntary drug tests.
Book signing March 7 in Crossroads Café to benefit Success By 6
The book “One Day I Could Be ... Careers in the Wabash Valley,” is on sale now and will be available at a book signing today, March 7, during a First Friday event in downtown Terre Haute.
Groups ask regulators to probe plant’s power woes
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Environmental and citizens’ groups are asking Indiana regulators to launch a formal investigation into problems and delays that have sharply limited the power output of Duke Energy’s $3.5 billion coal-gasification plant near Edwardsport.
- More Local & Bistate Headlines
- Purdue shooting leaves one person dead