Notes From My Knapsack 9-8-16
Granville in the Movies
We're still in the "middle" of filming for a real, live, Hollywood feature here in the village and environs.
Hat tips all around to director Steven C. Miller's choice to bring Bruce Willis and Hayden Christiensen to Granville, along with his crew and all the local spending they'll do here. The Granville Chamber of Commerce and Explore Licking County (our convention and visitors' bureau) have to be over the moon with excitement.
Granville has long had a sort of cinematic image in people's imaginations after they experience the actuality of our town. I've had occasion to reference our fair city as "Brigadoon," a sort of impossibly sweet place that can't really exist and only occasionally does in this world.
Many others besides myself have found themselves thinking in the last couple of weeks about Waterford, Vermont, the default filming location for the cast and crew of "State and Main." David Mamet should make more comedies, in my opinion, because this one is a hoot, and if you've not seen it, you need to find it and watch it soon – not that I'm making any comparisons between Alec Baldwin and Bruce Willis at all! (You'll get it when you watch it.) If director Miller would get Bruce to say "Go Blue Aces" just once in "First Kill" though . . .
Having just finished getting a child through the Granville educational gauntlet, I've heard enough "Hunger Games" comparisons to the high school experience to last me a lifetime. And I've heard many parents of young women make comments about how they feel like "Clueless," "Mean Girls," and even "Heathers" have come to life around them (maybe even especially "Heathers").
"Guarding Tess" is a movie I was told repeatedly when we first came back to the area that Granville had been considered for, or even used in filming; I've never seen any indication that this is so, but it's like the old story that Walt Disney almost built Disney World at Buckeye Lake – his people went all over the US checking locations, so you can't say for sure it never happened. "Tess" is a sweet little implausible tale that was where I realized "Moonstruck" was not a fluke, and that Nicholas Cage could act when he wanted to put in the effort ("Leaving Las Vegas" was the next year, which fortunately does not remind me of Granville in any way, shape, or form, blessedly).
But perhaps my favorite cinematic connection for our village is where "Sgt. John Sweet of Granville, Ohio" unexpectedly starred in the British World War II "A Canterbury Tale." Made by the famous team of Powell and Pressburger, known as "The Archers" production and direction partnership, they found John Sweet on Eisenhower's staff in the south of England, and needed a convincing American soldier for one of the three leads in their magical 1944 movie.
Filmed in and around Canterbury, England as the work was silently going on all around them for the Normandy landings, Sweet's character is presented as being from the American West, but I think you can hear the Granville boy in his lines and reactions all through this charming and, to me at least, beloved story.
Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and pastor in Licking County; he's appeared in the movie "Hoosiers" but he and his wife are in a crowd scene, so… Tell him about your brushes with cinematic glory at email@example.com or follow @Knapsack on Twitter.