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Movie night: CVPA event stars Region-made 'Public Enemies'
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Movie night: CVPA event stars Region-made 'Public Enemies'

The Center for Visual and Performing Arts will present another "hot" event this summer in its Movie and Dinner Night series.

The film "Public Enemies," which stars Johnny Depp, will be shown July 21 in the ballroom at the center. What's significant about the movie for Region movie fans is that much of the project was filmed in the area.

Chef Joe Trama is the fourth chef featured in the 2020 Region Patio Pitmasters. Video by John Luke. Interview by Eloise Valadez.

"Public Enemies," which chronicles the manhunt of Enemy #1 John Dillinger, was released in 2009.  It was filmed in 2008 in various locations around the Region, including Crown Point. It was also filmed throughout Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Many locals were chosen to be extras, walk-ons and those with bit parts for the film. Various journalists from The Times also made an appearance in a scene where newspaper reporters are interviewing Dillinger.

"This is going to be so much fun for guests to revisit a movie they might not have seen in awhile," said Philip Potempa, who will act as the emcee for the event. Potempa, an author and journalist, was featured in the newspaper reporter scene in "Public Enemies."

There will also be a few other Region folk who took part in the filming in attendance. Potempa said they'll include some "behind-the-scenes fun facts" as part of the evening.

In addition to the showing of the film there will be an exhibit featuring movie scripts, props, costumes and more.

"Before the movie, we'll also point out all the important scenes and things to look for so they don't miss any local aspect of it," he said.

After the movie screening, the guests with ties to the film will talk more about it and take questions from the audience.

In addition to Depp as Dillinger, other actors starring in the film, which was directed by Michael Mann, were Christian Bale and Marion Cotillard.

One of the Region residents featured in the film was Hammond native Dave Innes, who has done a variety of voiceover work for video and film. Innes, who will be at the movie event, had a part as a federal agent in a scene with Christian Bale.

Innes said he's looking forward to the event and talking about memories of filming the movie.

"It's going to be a good time," Innes said.

Innes recalled one of the memorable moments of his filming experience.

His scene with Christian Bale was on the Capitol steps, he said, and the actual Capitol building it was shot at was the Madison, Wisconsin Capitol. "They said Madison's Capitol was as close to the Washington D.C. Capitol as they could get," he said. It looks very similar, he added.

That day of the filming, Innes said, was an extremely hot May day.  "I was just boiling," he said.

After that extreme melt down  the next thing he remembered was waking up to director Michael Mann coming to his rescue.

"Michael Mann had a water bottle on my neck 'cause I fainted," he said.

Innes said it was great to work with such an "awesome cast." He added it was interesting working with the costuming department, too, since all the clothing had to be so authentic. In a costuming note, Potempa's hat he dons in the reporter scene is actually gossip columnist Walter Winchell's hat, which he owns.

Potempa said audience members will also hear many other tidbits and interesting notes such as the fact that the original Biograph Theatre, where Dillinger was shot in the alley, had been renovated before the movie filming and looked too modern to use for the film.

Join Tristan DeFord, Jami Rieck, and Nancy Zakutanksky on a shift working for Superior Ambulance in Merrillville.

"So the interior was actually the inside of the Paramount Theatre in Aurora," Potempa said.

The menu, presented by Trama Catering, will feature recipes from the Dillinger family. Starring on the menu will be cell block cream of broccoli soup; Dillinger's favorite fried chicken; mashed potatoes; green beans; bread and butter; and Mom Dillinger's coconut cream pie.

Seating will be set up in a speakeasy atmosphere.

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Entertainment Editor/Features Reporter

Eloise is A&E Editor and a food, entertainment and features writer for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.

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