Lights, Camera, Action Right Here in Hopkins
Location shots filmed last winter for soon-to-be-released independent movie featuring Alan Arkin.
If you or someone you know swore last winter that they saw renowned actor Alan Arkin in Hopkins, it wasn't the result of cabin fever. He was here filming The Convincer, an independent film that will debut next month at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.
Arkin, along with actors Greg Kinnear (Flash of Genius, Little Miss Sunshine), Billy Crudup (Public Enemies, Watchmen), David Harbour (Quantum of Solace, Revolutionary Road), Lea Thompson (Back to the Future, Some Kind of Wonderful) and Bob Balaban (Gosford Park, Best in Show) spent several weeks in Hopkins throughout February and March.
The movie was also filmed in St. Paul and Hastings.
The Convincer is about an insurance agent looking for a way to jump-start his business, reunite with his estranged wife and escape the dismal Midwestern weather. The agent, played by Kinnear, believes salesmanship is all about selling a story and that all he needs is a sucker willing to buy it.
He hits pay dirt with a lonely retired farmer, played by Arkin, who is sitting on something much bigger than an insurance commission: a rare violin collecting dust in the corner of the farmhouse. His attempt to con the old man spins out of control, trapping him in a web of deceit and moral ambiguity.
Arkin (Catch-22, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter) is also the executive producer of the movie.
The Convincer is the creation of Werc Werk Works, a Minneapolis-based company that finances and produces independent films.
"People who know the area will when they see the film, recognize several of the locations we used in Hopkins," said Geoff Sass, a spokesman for the company.
Hopkins' downtown is among the locations. There are also more obscure buildings and interiors in the movie.
Lucinda Winter of the Minnesota Film and TV Board said having the film crew in Hopkins for two months was a plus for the city. The making of The Convincer resulted in about $2million spent in Minnesota.
"Money gets spent, people have work and it simply is a positive for Hopkins as well as the other location in the Twin cities where footage was shot," Winter said.
While only three years old, Werc Werk Works has already met with impressive success. The Convincer will be its fifth film. Two, Howl and Life During Wartime, are now in theaters while Darling Companion and The Turin Horse are in postproduction.
Traditionally, films shown at festivals like Sundance aim to be picked up for distribution and then released "sometime in the near future." For The Convincer, the best chance of that happening would be as early as summer of 2011.