Usually I just write about locations that can be found in the greater Los Angeles area, but because I'm looking forward to the upcoming film Public Enemies, I decided to make an exception. The film, starring the always great Johnny Depp, as well as Christian Bale, was shot primarily on location in the Midwest, including many places where I grew up in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Department of Tourism website, www.travelwisconsin.com has a list of many of the shooting locations as well as related tours on gangsters.
Downtown Columbus, WI - photo from flickr
The San Fernando Valley newspaper, Daily News listed several of the filming locations a few weeks back. Here is a list from the May 3, 2009 Daily News:
- Little Bohemia, a resort near Manitowish Waters, has bullet holes and artifacts from an FBI shootout with John Dillinger, George "Baby Face" Nelson and other gangsters in April 1934.
- Mirror Lake State Park in Lake Delton hosted several nights of filming, complete with late-night gunfire and squealing tires.
- Oshkosh was turned into a movie set with refaced buildings and '30s-era billboards, window displays, awnings and marquees. Crews filmed two famous Dillinger robberies here, with a downtown bank/office building standing in for the Security National Bank and Trust in Sioux Falls, S.D., and Oshkosh's Masonic Temple standing in for the American Bank and Trust Co. in Racine, Wis. The actual bank in Racine, now the Racine Museum of Art, features "The Scene of the Crime: Warrington Colescott Depicts Dillinger," May 24-Sept. 6, and the Racine Police Department lobby has a Dillinger submachine gun, mug shots and press clippings on display.
- Also in Oshkosh: A planned July 4 gallery walk will include displays of photos and artifacts from the shoot, extras dressed in costume, and an opening of the bank vault where crew filmed; and the Oshkosh Public Museum's exhibit "The Era of Public Enemies: A Wave of Crime in a Troubled Time. Oshkosh's Pioneer Field stood in for Chicago Midway Airport, where Dillinger was flown after his arrest in Arizona. Visitors can see and ride in the vintage plane used for the scene, a Ford Trimotor owned by the Experimental Aircraft Association.
- Columbus, Wis., was turned into Greencastle, Ind., where a $75,000 bank robbery took place, filmed in Columbus at West James Gallery, a former bank. Columbus' downtown, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, will host a July 25 celebration that will include a parade, old cars and extras from the movie, music and dancing from the 1930s, a look-alike-contest, treasure hunts, tours and there may even be a Johnny Depp look-alike.
- Ishnala Restaurant in Wisconsin Dells is near the site of a chase scene involving Depp.
- The interior and exterior of the state Capitol in Madison was FBI headquarters in the movie, with Christian Bale as FBI agent Melvin Purvis and Billy Crudup as J. Edgar Hoover.
- The historic Hotel Rogers in Beaver Dam, now an apartment building called The Rogers, stood for Tucson's Hotel Congress, the site of the Dillinger gang's capture after a fire broke out and authorities recognized them.
- The Lafayette County Courthouse in Darlington was a substitute for the Lake County Courthouse in Crown Point, Ind., where Dillinger was arraigned.
- Milwaukee County Historical Society building in Milwaukee, a former bank, was converted back into a bank by film crews. The society plans to restore some sets.
Oshkosh, Madison and Milwaukee will host movie premieres and parties June 30
Here is a video of showing Johnny Depp being filmed in Public Enemies: