Location scouting is underway for Michael Mann’s film PUBLIC ENEMIES, starring Johnny Depp as bank robber John Dillinger, and Deppheads in Wisconsin may have reason to celebrate. Local news sources in Baraboo, Wisconsin are reporting that the Baraboo National Bank is being considered as the site for one of Dillinger’s bank robberies. According to Merlin Zitzner, the bank’s CEO, the bank building’s vintage look and the nearby courthouse square attracted the filmmakers, as they retain the architecture of the 1930s. Gene Dalhoff, executive director of the Baraboo Area Chamber of Commerce, told the press that he has been contacted by Universal Pictures, and was told that Baraboo was among 20 communities in Wisconsin being scouted as potential filming locations for PUBLIC ENEMIES. The president of the U.S. Bank in downtown Eau Claire, Wisconsin also reports being contacted by Universal Pictures with regard to using the bank as a film site.
Wisconsin holds other charms in addition to its Depression-era bank architecture and warm hospitality; the state has just enacted a very generous package of incentives and tax breaks to lure filmmakers to Wisconsin. “This is now a very attractive place,” said Lt. Governor Barbara Lawton, who is in negotiations with NBC Universal to bring PUBLIC ENEMIES to Wisconsin. Under the law, a film production company qualifies for a tax credit of 25 percent of the wages paid to employees to produce a film, video, electronic game, broadcast advertisement, or television production in Wisconsin. The incentive package also includes credits for sales tax, construction, wardrobes, clothing and visual effects, which would certainly help a film’s bottom line.
PUBLIC ENEMIES is scheduled to begin shooting on March 10, 2008, but the president of the U.S. Bank in Eau Claire told reporters that the Wisconsin filming would begin in May. Wisconsin does figure prominently in the John Dillinger story, as Dillinger and his confederates used a lodge in the Wisconsin northwoods as a hideout.
The Zone thanks Emma for posting several stories on this subject; you can read more about the location search on the Zone’s News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet