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.”
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.
TERRE HAUTE —
Some people hold a fond memory of Terre Haute.
Troubled bridge over water
For years, the iconic, arched foot-bridge at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College had been the backdrop for pictures of newlyweds, prom-goers and Woodsies.
Pool construction bids, principals approved
After more than a year of discussion, debate and planning, work on the new Vigo Schools Aquatic Center at Voorhees Park is expected to begin today.
‘Launch’ pad for creativity
In an effort to foster entrepreneurs to begin and grow their ideas into a start-up business in Vigo County, “Launch Terre Haute” will host a co-work open house Wednesday.
Gelato at 12 Points
Coffee and gelato are now on the menu on Terre Haute’s north side.
Man pulled from Raccoon Lake
Indiana Conservation divers recovered a Veedersburg man reportedly submerged Monday afternoon at Raccoon Lake in Parke County.
Mall evacuated after bomb threat
The Meadows Shopping center was evacuated about 5 p.m. Monday after police received a report of an alleged bomb threat.
UPDATE: Faulty brakes blamed for bus crash
Police in Knoxville, Tenn., confirmed Monday that a Clay County church bus involved in a fatal crash last week had faulty brakes.
Police in Indy nab 2nd suspect in homicide case
A second man has been arrested in connection with a homicide in Greene County. The Indiana State Police confirmed that Jason Lee Caldwell, 35, was arrested Monday morning by Indianapolis police.
Police credit public tips for meth lab bust
Tips from the community helped lead to the arrest of a Terre Haute woman on charges including the manufacture and possession of methamphetamine.
Vigo County Council OKs tax abatements
Two companies received final approval from the Vigo County Council Monday for 10-year real and personal property tax abatements.
Police: Brakes on church bus involved in fatal crash were faulty
Investigators confirmed there was a problem with the brakes on a Clay County church bus involved in a fatal accident last week in Knoxville, Tenn.
Tour de force
Pedal by pedal, a group of cyclists endured the hot summer sun and braved varying Indiana terrain on a mission to support survivors of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.
Living in a dream
“Welcome to the dream home!”
These were the words that greeted guests on Sunday as they entered a white, two-story home on the east side of Terre Haute.
MIKE LUNSFORD: Lake Michigan’s ‘Wonderful World of Color’
Despite the beauty around us, Joanie and I thought of television as we sat on a gorgeous Michigan beach one evening last week.
UPDATE: One suspect in homicide in custody
Police have taken one Greene County man into custody and the search entered its second day on Sunday for the other suspect, both wanted on charges of murder and considered “armed and dangerous.”
STATE OF THE STATEHOUSE: Expiring term heightens the urgency of one lawmaker’s push for reform
State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki had plans for her return to the General Assembly next January.
The two-term Republican from Kosciusko County wanted to exert “full force” to roll back a law that prevents the children of undocumented immigrants from paying in-state tuition to attend state colleges and universities.
Wanted men 'armed and dangerous,' police say
A police search entered its second day on Sunday for two Greene County wanted for murder and who are considered “armed and dangerous.”
Small step, big memory
Terre Haute resident Rob Eberwein remembers being “blown away” as he watched astronaut Neil Armstrong become the first human to walk on the moon.
Group working to preserve ‘The Grove’
Tucked into a peaceful corner of northeastern Vigo County, the Lost Creek Community Grove has seen more than 100 years of gatherings.
12 Points Hotel doesn’t sell
No new owner stepped forward to claim the historic 12 Points Hotel on Saturday.
School board to award aquatics center bids Monday
The Vigo County School Board on Monday is expected to award bids for the new $9.8 million Vigo Schools Aquatic Center, to be built at Voorhees Park.
Terre Haute native pivotal in race to moon
This week’s 45-year anniversary of the historic launch of the Apollo 11 mission propelled America’s space program and on April 20, 1969, kept a promise that Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology alumnus Abe Silverstein had made to President John F. Kennedy in 1961 to put a man on the moon within a decade.
Buzz Aldrin: Where were you when I walked on moon?
On July 20, 1969, Buzz Aldrin was “out of town” when the world united and rejoiced in a way never seen before or since.
Celebrate 45 years since first steps on moon
Now’s the time to get moonstruck.
Terre Haute resident Jimmy Lee Housley, 80, taking motorcycle trip across western U.S.
Intent on accomplishing his goal of visiting 48 states by motorcycle, Terre Haute resident Jimmy Lee Housley Sr. set off recently to finish his quest.
Church bus in fatal crash to be tested Monday
Brake work and new tires were reportedly part of the preparations made for a Brazil youth group’s travel to a Christian conference in Tennessee this week.
Health care company to cut 150 jobs
Union Health System will cut 150 positions system-wide by the end of the year.
The system includes UAP Clinic, Union Hospital in Terre Haute and Union Clinton in Vermillion County.
‘Gifted and talented’ ahead of the times
Seventh graders today may not be assigned to write a 32-page term paper or read an 800-page book, but a selected group of talented seventh graders attending a Terre Haute junior high in the 1950s did.
Music at the river
Curt Pennington is the keyboardist for the New Age Jazz Band the group the opened the Community Band Festival at Fairbanks Park Friday evening. The music continues today, starting at noon and running until 9 p.m.
ISU provost takes president position at school in Utah
Indiana State University Provost Richard “Biff” Williams has been selected as the 18th president of Dixie State University in St. George, Utah.
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