to put city in national spotlight
Caviezel stars as 1971 Miss Madison driver
(April 2005) It took nearly six years for the movie Madison
to go from filming to silver screen. But fans and those who participated
in making the movie say the wait will be worth it once the movie begins
showing in theaters nationwide on April 22. The independent film, made
in 1999 by Madison Miracle Productions and distributed by MGM, is loosely
based on the real-life story of driver Jim McCormick and the Miss Madison
Unlimited hydroplanes victory in the 1971 Gold Cup in Madison.
Madison Edition Cover
Its wonderful and its
about time, said actor Frank Knapp of Nashville, Tenn., who plays
real-life crew member Bobby Humphrey. No ones going to know
who Jake Lloyd is when he comes to the premiere.
Lloyd, now age 16 and a sophomore at Carmel
High School in Carmel, Ind., played 10-year-old Mike McCormick in the
movie. The story of the late Miss Madison driver Jim McCormicks
victory is told through young Mikes eyes and narrated by rock
singer John Mellencamp.
Moviegoers unfamiliar with Unlimited hydroplane racing are about to
get an education on the sport, while those who grew up with the Madison
Regatta or in other hydroplane race towns will celebrate what they know
to be an impressive display of power and beauty when the vintage hydros
thunder across the screen.
I loved it, but its hard to be unbiased when its about
your hometown, said Kelly Sutton, 30, a Hanover, Ind., native
and now a morning TV show co-host at FOX-17 in Nashville, Tenn.
Sutton saw a press screening in Nashville in early March, then interviewed
actor Jim Caviezel on her show in late March.
Caviezel, 36, of Mount Vernon, Wash., gave up his salary to play Jim
McCormick in Madison. That was before he was a household
name among movie-goers. He later landed several roles, including the
lead in The Count of Monte Cristo (2003) and Mel Gibsons
The Passion of the Christ (2004).
Its a beautiful snapshot of Madison, and they did a great
job of capturing the race action, Sutton said of Madison.
The storyline was a little exaggerated, but thats Hollywood.
The soundtrack is incredible; it really added to the overall experience.
And the fact it is a true story is the cherry on top.
Suttons parents live in Hanover, but she rarely gets home to visit
them, she said. She remembers being home in 1999 and saw a bit of the
movie being filmed. She also was a Little Miss Regatta contestant at
age 5. I remember going down to the little Regatta office to get
my wristband as a kid. It was a fun time in Madison, especially with
all the fireworks.
She previously worked in Evansville and covered the hydroplane races
Like many who worked on the film, Knapp said he was frustrated for a
long time when it appeared the movie may never come out. Several who
had participated in its making had given up after some false starts
over the years when distributors announced a release, only to have it
cancelled by corporate buyouts or bankruptcy.
Ive learned a whole lot about the Lord, and its not
my time, but His time when things work out. Its a lot better this
way, said Knapp, who in addition to acting is a country music
singer-songwriter and professional skydiver.
has been in touch with his fellow actors from Madison, and
he said most are planning to attend the premiere party being planned
in Madison. The event was recently moved to Sunday, April 17, so that
Caviezel could attend. Caviezels acting stock has dramatically
risen since his portrayal of Christ in The Passion. A recut
of the film was released in mid-March for the Easter season.
In a March 11 interview with RoundAbout, Caviezel said his schedule
is determined by his current work on Simon Brands independent
film, Unknown, and was uncertain if he could attend. But
those associated with the films production have gone to great
lengths including moving the premiere from its original
date of April 16 to make sure he is there. In fact, its
possible that all the principle actors may attend by contract obligations,
Madison city officials had been planning
a premiere on Saturday, April 16, but in late March were asked by MGM
officials to move the date to accommodate Caviezel, said Madison Area
Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Linda Lytle. She and
co-organizer Betsey Vonderheide of the mayors staff had hoped
for a surprise appearance by Mellencamp, who lives near Bloomington.
But the date switch will likely make it impossible for Mellencamp to
show up because he is on tour and scheduled to play a concert in Louisville
on April 17.
City officials have struggled to keep up with the everchanging demands
by MGM to produce and pay for the premiere party, Vonderheide said.
MGM offered only $5,000 toward the project, while the Jefferson County
Board of Tourism in March voted to provide up to $20,000. Lytle has
requested the additional $15,000 she needs from the states Commerce
Department but so far has not received any word on whether she will
Lytle told the Board of Tourism that she expects to reap a profit from
the premiere and give the proceeds to the Madison Riverfront Development
The cost of tents, tables and fencing alone amounts to $11,000, she
said. Another $10,000 or more will pay for first-class airfare to bring
in the principle actors. She must also cover the food catering expenses.
As of press time March 28, Vonderheide
said the latest plan was for 880 Gala premiere screening/reception tickets
to be offered, with about 300 going to those associated with the film.
Another 100 or so will be reserved for local and state dignitaries,
which could include Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who has been invited.
The balance would be sold for $40 each at the tourism office after April
12, she said.
Only 880 seats will be available for watching the movie simultaneously
on four screens in town. They have arranged to show the movie on both
screens at the Ohio Theatre in downtown Madison and on two screens at
Great Escapes Madison 6 Theater on the hilltop. Screening time
is tentatively set for 5 p.m., with a catered VIP party to follow in
a gated area to be set up on Main Street between Mulberry and West streets
in front of the Ohio Theatre. Fans without tickets will be able to access
Main Street but not the gated VIP area. City officials had arranged
to close two blocks of Main Street on April 16 but must now ask state
transportation officials to allow them to close it on April 17.
All the actors have been invited to attend the premiere. Besides Caviezel
and Knapp, the list includes Jake Lloyd, Mary McCormack, Bruce Dern,
Brent Briscoe and Mark Fauser.
In addition, Bonnie McCormick, the widow of the late Jim McCormick,
son Mike, and two grandchildren are planning to attend. McCormicks
daughter, Kim, is not expected to attend.
Its going to a be a great party and a great time for everyone
associated with the movie. I cant wait, said Fauser, who
plays the fictional team member Travis.
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