"We shot where Dillinger walked"–producer Kevin Misher talks about PUBLIC ENEMIES

Having completed the filming of PUBLIC ENEMIES by its June 30th deadline, producer Kevin Misher took pains to assure Los Angeles Times reporter Patrick Goldstein (author of “The Big Picture” blog) that director Michael Mann did not sacrifice authenticity in order to finish on time. Quite the opposite: “Whenever we could we shot exactly where the events happened–if we could find where Dillinger walked, we shot where he walked,” Misher said. “We shot at the Biograph Theater on the very street where Dillinger was killed, so that scene was exactly where the real events happened. All we did was change the facades of the buildings and revert them back to period. We also shot at the Little Bohemia Lodge up in northern Wisconsin, which is the scene of a famous gunfight between the FBI and Dillinger and Baby Face Nelson.”

Misher sounded proud of PUBLIC ENEMIES and confident of its box-office appeal as well as its artistry. “If you’re looking for action, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed,” Misher promised. “We’ve got three bank robberies, two prison breaks and who knows how many shootouts.” And PUBLIC ENEMIES also has a strong romantic storyline between Johnny Depp’s John Dillinger and Marion Cotillard’s Billie Frechette. “It’s a seminal gangster saga, but it’s also a classic doomed lovers story,” explained Marc Shmuger, the chairman of Universal Studios. “They meet on the run and you know that they know that the relationship can’t last, which makes the film really heart-wrenching.” Added Shmuger, “With that combination, well, [. . .] not that many filmmakers in the world besides Michael [Mann] could do that.”

While conceding that PUBLIC ENEMIES was “a tough shoot,” Shmuger sees that as a necessary result of director Mann’s passion for his material. “When Sam Fuller said that ‘Film is a battleground–love, hate, violence, action, death–in a word, emotion,‘ he must have been thinking about Michael Mann,” Shmuger told the Times. “With every movie, he goes into battle. [. . . ] But that’s the only way Michael knows how to make movies. And we’re willing to take the bet that out of that commitment and passion will come a great movie.”

The Zone thanks Sleepy for sharing the Patrick Goldstein article. You can read it on the Zone’s News & Views forum or HERE.

PUBLIC ENEMIES comes to theaters July 1, 2009–and we’re counting the days. –Part-Time Poet