The Ann Arbor Chronicle » movies it's like being there Wed, 26 Nov 2014 18:59:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Third & Washington Fri, 08 Aug 2014 01:53:28 +0000 Mary Morgan A sheet hung between two trees, plus a cookout in progress, means it’s outdoor movie night at the house across from the YMCA.

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W. Washington & Third Wed, 11 Sep 2013 02:03:06 +0000 Mary Morgan Bruce Lee movie being projected onto what looks like a large sheet hung over a rope between two trees, in front of a house across from the Y. Fight scene elicits cheers of support – “Go, Bruce! Kick some ass!” – from people watching in the yard. [photo]

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Washington west of First Mon, 15 Jul 2013 02:13:03 +0000 Mary Morgan Sign at the 415 W. Washington parking lot: “Base Camp” and “Crew Parking” – perhaps for the filming seen near Lena’s? [photo]

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If Chelsea Were China, There’d Be More Media Fri, 03 Apr 2009 23:04:48 +0000 Dave Askins Betty Anne Waters Ann Arbor Area Filming

"Betty Anne Waters" filming in Chelsea. (Photos courtesy of Qin Li)

Filming of the movie “Betty Anne Waters” continued in the environs of Ann Arbor this week. The Chronicle was not out in Chelsea to see it for ourselves, but resident Qin Li emailed some photos and called in a report from her family’s encounter with the movie crew. She and her husband, Vinay Joneja, and son, Dave (five years old), enjoyed a pleasant day of shooting with their house as the backdrop.

In the scene, Betty – played in the movie by Hilary Swank – drives up and picks up two kids from the house. In response to our question, Qin Li said there was no crying or yelling, or high drama involved.

She said that it was striking to her how understated and low-key the actors were. When Loren Dean came in accompanied by other crew, she said, it wasn’t apparent to her who was who, and when he was pointed out as “the actor,” she still needed to appeal to an internet search. Dean plays a role in the film described in industry publications as “the resentful husband” of Hilary Swank’s title character.

But Dean himself didn’t make a resentful sort of impression on Qin Li. She said that he took the time to chat with them, and didn’t come off like a Hollwood star at all – he’d won her over as a fan from now on, she said.

Qin Li was a little surprised that there wasn’t more media attention on the set. She contrasted the complete lack of newspaper reporters or other media there with what she imagined would have happened in China, where she grew up. She imagined that even in an out-of-the-way hamlet, there would have been a gaggle of media following the Chinese equivalent of Hilary Swank on a movie production. Having just recently returned from a Chinese New Year visit to Shanghai, Qin Li reported that even the smallest villages are getting more and more developed.

So who might qualify as the Chinese Hilary Swank? Qin Li said that Ziyi Zhang (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”) or else Gong Li (“Raise the Red Lantern”) might be comparable.

Snack Report

Because we asked, Qin Li described some card tables set out for the crew laden with chips and bagels, but could not confirm any cupcakes, and certainly not any particular flavor.

Betty Anne Waters Ann Arbor Area Filming

Director of "Betty Anne Waters," Tony Goldwyn. The "G" in Goldwyn is the same "G" as in MGM, the motion picture production company.

Betty Anne Waters Ann Arbor Area Filming

"Betty Anne Waters" filming in Chelsea.

Betty Anne Waters Ann Arbor Area Filming

"Betty Anne Waters" filming in Chelsea.

Vinay Joneja and Loren Dean

Vinay Joneja and Loren Dean.

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Column: Fifth & Madison Movie Production Fri, 27 Mar 2009 14:38:49 +0000 Dave Askins traffic control cone

Pedestrian traffic control cone, movie-set style.

The movie “Betty Anne Waters” has widely been reported to tell the true story of a woman who puts herself through law school to prove the innocence of her brother, who’s been wrongly convicted of murder – hence the name of the local company formed to produce the move, Innocence Productions.

But based on the one scene The Chronicle saw filmed Thursday morning, this movie might just be about football. The evidence, which I humbly submit for our readers’ consideration, is a shot in which a young boy stands in the front yard of a house, waves towards it and says, “Mom, let’s go, we’re going to miss the kickoff!” That suggests, but does not entail, that the kid is talking about football –  technically, “kickoff” could apply to the start of any event. But then, a football comes flying from somewhere and seems to get fumbled. Whether that’s a part of the script was not clear. At any rate, there’s a football in this movie.

Ladies and gentlemen of the reading jury, I thus offer an alternate version of events: “Betty Anne Waters” could be a movie about football. We have not been able to confirm that the movie’s complete name, including the tag line, is “Betty Anne Waters – The defense rests its case.” But that would sure make it sound a little bit more like a football movie, if it were true.

sidewalk closed due to movie set

The ladder and light behind the pedestrian traffic control cone were a part of the setup for the movie scene.

We were first alerted to something out of the ordinary around Fifth & Madison streets in a email sent early Thursday morning from a reader who entertained suspicions that the shiny new semi-tractor trailers were connected to a Men-in-Black type operation.

Having stopped by the area while out and about later that morning, we returned to Chronicle Central to see that a Stopped.Watched. correspondent had confirmed the filming as well.

Folks who live in the neighborhood seemed to be taking the filming in stride. Sunny Sedgwick, a name that has a certain movie-star sound to it, is actually a puppy in the shape of a full-grown dog, who was getting walked by Martha Kinney-Sedgwick. The route past the movie location is one of a few different standard walks, she said, but when cross-examined, she allowed that the choice that morning was due in part to some curiosity about what was going on.

One nearby homeowner was waiting for a city building inspector, who appeared and did his inspection of the three-unit dwelling saying, “This is a nice old house and we want to keep it that way!”

Ward 5 councilmember Mike Anglin walked past. He had a clipboard and papers, which suggested to me he might be collecting signatures for his nomination petitions for re-election.

But he said that he was just going to meet with some neighbors who live in a house on the same block as the movie location. In the brief conversation with some of the set workers that we were having, one of them suggested that the paint job on the house might have been “set-decked” i.e., altered by the set decoration crew. Anglin (who lives just down the street) said, “No, it’s always looked like that.”

Mike Anglin Movie

Mike Anglin walks past the movie set near Madison & Fifth streets.

Anglin also put in a plug for Knight’s Restaurant, encouraging the workers to try it before leaving town.

There’s still filming to be done, at least in the surrounding area. According to the minutes of the Livingston County Board of Commissioners, there’ll be a shoot up by the Livingston County “historical courthouse and its interior doorways” in early April.

The movie includes Hilary Swank in its cast. The mission of determining what flavor of cake is Hilary Swank’s favorite was not completed Thursday morning, however. When I checked in at the nearby Jefferson Market & Cakery to see if owner Mary Rasmussen had waited on any movie stars, she said, “I don’t really know – they look just like us!”

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