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.
Westminster Village, a Terre Haute retirement community, is investing $1.8 million to construct 12 new villa homes, officials announced Wednesday.
Decades later, dry cleaners leave blemish
Fifty years ago, about 30 dry cleaners did business in the city of Terre Haute. City officials are now cleaning up the mess some left behind.
MARK BENNETT: Year of River sets example for state
Terre Haute pays more attention to the Wabash River these days.
Climate of less regulation, more chemical spills leaves ‘historical pollution,’ NCA director says
Former dry cleaning sites are an environmental problem all over the state, according to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
Camping turnout low for first half of summer
Camping revenue for the past two months has dropped in Vigo County parks, a downturn park officials say is difficult to attribute to a new park policy limiting campers’ stays to 14 days in the three county parks.
Devastating fire takes out mobile home
A Seelyville mobile home sustained heavy damage in a fire early Wednesday morning.
Lost Creek Township firefighters were called to the scene in the 2200 block of Tabortown Road south of U.S. 40 at about 2 a.m.
Man posts bond after fatal wreck
Driver injured, airlifted, cited for failure to yield
An elderly woman was injured in a crash Wednesday afternoon in Sullivan County, according to Indiana State Police.
Bobby “Slick” Leonard was the main attraction but his hometown, Terre Haute, was constantly in the background as friends, fans and family gathered in Indianapolis Tuesday night to honor the man famous for the words “Boom Baby.”
Sister-city students get a dose of ‘new culture’
One of Juri Sawada’s dreams has been to visit America.
Motion delays trial for 2012 homicide
A man who has been jailed about 20 months in connection with the homicide of his wife will not go on trial next week as scheduled.
Sheriff charged in prostitution case
Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden has spent more than 30 years in law enforcement working to protect the public from criminals, but on Tuesday he was treated as one.
Vigo Parks dishing out the sweetness
Vigo County Parks and Recreation has made a “sweet” addition to its maple syrup production at Prairie Creek Park.
Danny Rodden indicted on federal charges
Instead of overseeing the operations of the Clark County jail and police force Tuesday, Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden found himself being transported by the FBI to Indianapolis to answer federal charges.
Woman’s condition ‘fair’ after grocery store wreck
A Terre Haute woman was listed in fair condition Tuesday at Eskenazi Health in Indianapolis as the result of injuries sustained in Monday’s accident on the Baesler’s Market parking lot.
Semi driver cited for alcohol use
A commercial vehicle driver has been placed out of service after he tested positive for alcohol consumption during a Tuesday morning traffic stop in Sullivan County.
Church to give out school backpacks
United Methodist Temple will stage its first-ever Back-2-School Bash from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 9.
The church is located at 5301 S. U.S. 41.
Bus safety features
New safety features on South Vermillion School Corp. buses have led to fewer disciplinary problems and fewer incidents of motorists illegally passing stopped school buses, officials say.
Humvee driver says foot caused fatal accident
Kyle Pendergast, 22, the Terre Haute driver of a black Humvee charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing the death of a teenager, has told police he could not turn the wheel before the vehicle flipped in a field in an early Saturday morning accident.
Cleaner may have contaminated water
Groundwater and soil testing is set to begin within a week to learn whether toxic chemicals might have seeped into the wells of a small southside neighborhood and even beyond.
Housing Authority’s Warren Village nearing completion
Construction on the newest Terre Haute Housing Authority property – Warren Village – should wrap up next month, a housing authority official said Monday.
Observers predict ‘wide open’ process of picking next chief
State Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Dickson surprised observers in June when he decided to step down after a brief tenure as the state’s top judge.
Multi-vehicle accident in parking lot
A woman was hospitalized with injuries after a multiple-vehicle accident late Monday morning in the Baesler’s Market parking lot on Poplar Street
Old National acquires Michigan bank
Evansville-based Old National Bancorp and Grand Rapids-based Founders Financial Corp. said Monday they have finalized an agreement under which Old National will acquire Founders through a stock and cash merger.
Ohio man falls to death at Cataract Falls rec area
Indiana conservation officers are investigating the death of an Ohio man that occurred at about 4:10 p.m. Sunday at Cataract Falls State Recreation Area in Owen County.
Postcards from the war front
A native of France, Marie Decleir saw humanity at its worst as she experienced the death and destruction caused by World War I, which began 100 years ago today.
Watching Gordon make history
As race car drivers competed on the track on Sunday in Indianapolis, racing fans in Terre Haute gathered around television screens and watched history unfold during the “Crown Royal Presents, The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard.”
STATE OF THE STATEHOUSE: Inept amid partisan fury
Retired Congressman Lee Hamilton has warned of the perils of political ideology, calling the body where he spent 34 years “noxiously partisan.” Now, he worries the divide is downright dangerous.
Restaurant Inspections: July 28, 2014
Travel the interstate at your own risk.
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