After flirting with Milwaukee, Joel and Ethan Coen will begin shooting their next film in the Twin Cities this fall.
"A Serious Man," concerning a Jewish family living in St. Louis Park, has held open casting calls for local talent and scouted locations around the area.
But the production company also explored shooting the comedy/drama in Milwaukee's suburbs, lured by Wisconsin's film subsidies, which are more generous than Minnesota's.
When the Legislature passed a measure granting $500,000 to the production, Focus Features green-lit the project within 24 hours. The film is expected to generate $6 million to $7 million for the state's economy.
"There's no question the decision to shoot here was keyed to the legislation," said Lucinda Winter, executive director of the Minnesota Film and TV Board. "It was such a relief to get them back here. There was so much good work done by so many people in the Legislature and the governor's office to get them here that my staff and I celebrated as soon as we heard the news. We're very excited because [the Coens] are at the top of their game," having won four Oscars, including best picture, for "No Country for Old Men" earlier this year.
The Coens had made it clear that they preferred to shoot in their home state. This is a Minnesota story, they said in an interview last year, born out of specific memories of their youth in St. Louis Park.
"We're like anybody," Ethan said. "Where you grew up is part of your identity. That doesn't go away, even if you've been away for a long time."
Shooting is scheduled to begin Sept. 8, immediately following the Coens' presentation of their latest film, the George Clooney spy comedy "Burn After Reading," at the Venice Film Festival.
Colin Covert • 612-673-7186