Minnesota is a convincing film double

  • Article by: COLIN COVERT
  • Star Tribune
  • March 7, 2010 - 6:19 PM

After shooting the Midwestern crime drama "The Convincer" in Minnesota for a month, Milwaukee-born director Jill Sprecher is mostly pleased that she's filming here rather than in her home state, the original locale. The production relocated here to take advantage of Minnesota's more experienced local crews, and proximity to the home offices of its Minneapolis-based production company Werc Werk Works. Locations in Hopkins, Minneapolis and Stillwater offered the right scale and architecture. But it's not a perfect double for Wisconsin.

"There's more beer in Wisconsin," she said during a break in filming Friday at the Ramada Mall of America in Bloomington. "There are a lot more road house dive bars per capita than there are here."

Greg Kinnear, top, and Alan Arkin, above, co-stars on "Little Miss Sunshine" play a devious insurance salesman and a farmer. Arkin said he recruited Kinnear to join the new film. "Luckily he remembered me." Also in the cast are Billy Crudup and Bob Balaban.

Arkin described his character as "sweet, slightly befuddled. Confused. Over the hill. Like me."

Kinnear was equally impressed by the script. "Parts are very funny and parts are very scary," he said.

"The film's about lying," Sprecher said. "It's not 'Ocean's Eleven.' It's low-tech crime, but equally intricate crime."

The film is the first time either actor has shot in the Midwest. But they haven't had much opportunity to explore it because of their long days and hectic shooting schedule. "I see my bed and I see the set," Arkin said. "That's about it. I haven't had the energy, frankly. I'm gonna come back some day and see what it's like. "

"It's a close second to Wisconsin," Sprecher said. Recognizing her faux pas, she added, "Not the right answer."

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