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
Co-Op to Feed group delivering to needy
Field trips to take big hit next year
The Vigo County School Corp. plans to inform school staff of “deep cuts” in student field trips for the next school year, Superintendent Dan Tanoos said Friday.
Donation drive in Valley aims to send help to Oklahoma tornado victims
Terre Haute Ministries, along with WTWO, WAWV, Q102.7 and 100.7 Mix-FM are joining forces to help those impacted by tornadoes in Moore, Okla.
Invention makes houses safer from tornadoes
A Terre Haute man has developed a building construction system that increases the strength of a home, especially from a tornado.
ISU to stage public hearing on proposed tuition increase
Indiana State University will conduct a public hearing at 2 p.m. June 4 to receive input on a proposed 1.95 percent increase in student tuition and mandatory fees for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 academic years.
Trial date set for man accused of attacking Vigo County deputy
A Terre Haute man accused of attacking a Vigo County Sheriff’s Deputy has an Aug. 12 trial date.
Technology speeds disaster alerts, response
Caitria O’Neill remembers her reaction to hearing tornado warnings on June 1, 2011. She went to the grocery store, she said, “because I live in Massachusetts, and we don’t get tornadoes.”
Health information to be provided for blood donors
People who give blood at Clinton Gardens’ blood drive Tuesday will leave knowing valuable information about their health. Donors will find out their cholesterol level, blood pressure, blood type and iron levels at no cost.
- ‘This is the best day of my life’
Sullivan man airlifted to Indy after crash
A Sullivan man was in critical condition at an Indianapolis hospital Friday after his pickup truck collided with a tanker truck in Sullivan County.
Veterans Memorial Park dedication set for Monday
Memorial Day ceremonies will include a special event this year.
Ill. House approves guns plan opposed by governor
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Gun owners in the only state still banning concealed weapons would win that right under a plan approved by the Illinois House on Friday, but the governor and other powerful Democrats oppose the plan because it would wipe out local gun ordinances — including Chicago's ban on assault weapons.
Vigo County Jail Log: May 24, 2013
The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Thursday and Friday, based on jail records.
Vigo County Jail Log: May 23, 2013
The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Wednesday and Thursday, based on jail records.
Relic from another age: Massive find
A mastodon that lived in the Wabash Valley thousands of years ago is making big news today.
Game Over: Financial tightening causes VCSC to drop St. Patrick’s from athletic schedule
St. Patrick’s School athletic teams will not have an opportunity to compete against their Vigo County School Corp. middle school counterparts next year.
Katelyn Newell finally at home
After nearly five months, 8-year-old Katelyn Newell finally returned home Thursday evening — with a new heart.
Indiana State U. Police officer honored with Artz Award
Thursday was a special day for Indiana State University Police Officer Christopher Heleine in multiple ways.
City Council considering three for consultant
Three different tax professionals vied Thursday for a chance to become a “financial consultant” to the Terre Haute City Council.
Clay County sheriff warns of bank card scam
The Clay County Sheriff’s Department has received information regarding a scam targeting residents, according to a news release from the sheriff’s department.
State Police seek help with Sullivan County homicide
Indiana State Police detectives from the Putnamville Post are seeking help from the public with the nearly six-month investigation into the death of 85-year-old Lowell R. Badger, a rural Sullivan County farmer.
Man who attacked Vigo deputy arrested
A Terre Haute man accused of attacking a Vigo County sheriff’s deputy earlier this week is facing felony charges in the Vigo County jail.
INDOT to bid final 641 phase
The final construction phase of the 641 bypass is scheduled to let for bids on Dec. 11, according to the Indiana Department of Transportation.
District office moves north
The Southwest District office of the Purdue Extension service has been moved north from Vincennes to Terre Haute.
Day is done…
The sun sets Thursday evening as seen from south of Terre Haute.
Morning update: I-5 bridge collapse caused by truck hitting span
The Washington State Patrol chief says the Interstate 5 bridge collapse into the Skagit (SKA'-jiht) River at Mount Vernon was caused by an oversize truck.
UPDATE: I-70 lanes in Putnam County now open
The west-bound lanes of Interstate 70 re-opened Thursday evening after being temporarily closed due to a crash near the Greencastle/Cloverdale exit.
22-hospital St. Vincent Health cutting jobs
INDIANAPOLIS — One of Indiana’s largest health systems says it’s cutting an undisclosed number of jobs by June 30 because of increasing economic and competitive pressure on the health care industry.
Update: Cleanup from overturned truck in Greene County continues
Fuel spillage from the dump truck hauling gravel that overturned this morning in Greene County at Indiana 54 and County Road 725 East near Ridgeport continues to restrict traffic to one lane.
17-pound bone found during Vigo flood cleanup
TERRE HAUTE — Crews cleaning up from Wabash River flooding in Vigo County came across a 17-pound bone that they believe might have come from an ancient mastodon.
- More Local & Bistate Headlines
- Co-Op to Feed group delivering to needy