PUBLIC ENEMIES to shoot in Richland Center, Wisconsin–and maybe Aurora, Illinois

Good news for residents of Richland Center, Wisconsin–the M & I Bank in their town has been chosen as a location for a bank robbery in Michael Mann’s 1930s gangster film PUBLIC ENEMIES, starring Johnny Depp as John Dillinger. M & I Bank was built in the 1920s and still features its original trim, ornate chandeliers, glass windows, and marble floors. “In speaking with the producer, he was just amazed that the old bank atmosphere was still here,” said M & I’s Carol Burke. It will be one of four banks to be robbed on camera, the Richland Observer reports. The other three have yet to be determined. Here’s a video of the bank shot by the NBC affiliate in Madison, Wisconsin:

In other location news, director Michael Mann and several associates spent a few hours at the historic Paramount Theater in downtown Aurora, Illinois, scouting it as a possible location for the pivotal scene in which John Dillinger is shot by FBI agent Melvin Purvis. Readers of Bryan Burrough’s PUBLIC ENEMIES know that Dillinger was gunned down outside Chicago’s Biograph Theater on the evening of July 22, 1934 . . . but the Biograph has had a facelift or two since then, and it no longer looks the way it did in Dillinger’s day. However, Aurora’s Paramount retains its period detail, as you can see from the photo at left, so it may substitute for the Biograph when cameras roll. Although the movie theater’s executive director, Diana Martinez, downplayed the possibility, stressing that the PUBLIC ENEMIES crew is checking out many vintage theaters, she did concede that Michael Mann liked their site. “It’s a maybe,” Martinez said. “They came and checked it out. He [Michael Mann] liked it a lot and spent a lot of time here. [. . .] Who knows what could happen?”

Aurora’s mayor Tom Weisner would be delighted to welcome the filmmakers to town, and told reporter Matt Hanley that he is glad to see the painstakingly preserved Paramount theater, which opened its doors in 1931, appreciated by Hollywood. “This would be really cool,” the mayor said. “My only concern would be keeping my wife 400 feet from Johnny Depp.”

The Zone thanks Emma for the location news, photos, and video–you can read more about the search for PUBLIC ENEMIES locations on the Zone’s News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet