If all goes according to plan, Madison, Ind.,
will be the site of the world premiere on April 16 for the movie Madison.
MGM Studios on Feb. 25 officially announced the films limited national
release April 22 in 15 to 20 U.S. cities.
The film, shot on location in Madison in late 1999 and 2000 in other cities,
captures the true-life story of the late Jim McCor-micks victory
in the 1971 Gold Cup Unlimited hydroplane race before the hometown fans.
It stars actor Jim Caviezel (The Passion of Christ, The Count
of Monte Cristo) as McCormick. Jake Lloyd plays the young Mike McCormick,
Jims son. Seymour, Ind., native and rock star John Mellencamp provides
the narration throughout. And Madison singer Rusty Bladen has a song in
the film, his own Ride That River.
Caviezel (standing on boat) plays the late Jim McCormick in the
The premiere party being planned at Madisons Ohio Theater is still
tentative, city official say. But all efforts are under way to bring in
some of the actors and others who worked on the independent film. Caviezel
may not be able to make it for the premiere because he will be busy shooting
a film in April.
It was truly a pleasure to work with Jim Caviezel hes
an actor who is as timeless as the true story which inspired the film,
said Bindley, 42, an Indianapolis native who co-wrote the script with
his brother, Scott, 39.
Those actors expected to attend include Jake Lloyd, who lives in the Indianapolis
area; Frank Knapp, who lives in Tennessee; Mark Fauser of Marion, Ind.;
and Brent Briscoe of Los Angeles. Since the filming of Madison,
actress Mary McCormack has risen to fame as a regular on the NBC TV series
West Wing. McCormack, Bruce Dern and Paul Dooley will be invited
to attend, officials say.
Im just waiting to hear when they confirm the date of the
premiere, said Fauser, a screenwriter and actor who plays Miss Madison
race team member Travis. I believe in this movie and Im so
proud of what the Bindley brothers have done, and then to see it all the
way through. It gives all of us screenwriters hope.
Madison City Projects Administrator Betsey Vonderheide said the initial
idea for a public showing on a large screen at the foot of Broadway has
been dropped because of the exorbitant costs. The premiere will likely
be limited to 1,000 people on Saturday night, she said, although officials
are exploring the possibility of more screenings on Sunday, April 17.
The MGM press release reads: In the inspiring tradition of screen
favorites such as Rocky, Hoosier and Breaking
Away, the movie Madison is a true slice of Americana.
High-speed, heart-stopping thrills meet pride, perseverance and an all-or-nothing
shot at greatness on the banks of the Ohio River town called Madison.
Indianapolis initially had the most screens showing the film that first
weekend, officials said. In recent weeks, the number of cities to get
the film has significantly grown. Other Indiana towns now being considered
include Columbus, Marion, Terre Haute and Evansville. Elsewhere, the film
is to be shown in Louisville, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles and New York.
Other cities being considered include San Diego, Cincinnati, Dayton, St.
Louis, Mo., Fort Myers, Fla, Charlotte, N.C., and Owensboro, Ky. Other
cities are being considered as well.
It will be a lot of fun to bring the film out in the city where
it was made, said Carl Amari, a Chicago filmmaker who financed and
executive produced the 94-minute film. We plan to get all the investors
and people who helped make the film together for one big party. Theyve
done a wonderful job finishing the film, and I think people are going
to love it. Now we just need to get the word out at the grassroots level.
Even those who saw the rough cut of the film at the 2001 Sundance and
Heartland Film Festivals are in for a treat, Amari said. The film has
been polished and improved, he said, and it now has a professional score
behind it, created by the 100-piece Prague Philaharmonic Orchestra.
A soundtrack of the pop songs used in the movie is also planned, including
To generate grassroots support so the film can expand to more theaters,
MGM has tapped the marketing expertise of Motive Entertainment, the same
company that helped make Mel Gibsons The Passion of the Christ
and The Polar Express huge box office successes.
Several private screenings were held for key interest groups,
Amari said, to build a buzz for the family oriented film. These include
the newly formed American Boat Racing Association, which now operates
the Unlimited hydroplane circuit, the National Marine Manufacturing Association,
and for religious and family oriented groups.
We have a film that makes people feel good, and we want to capitalize
on that, Amari said. This is a movie that hits them in their
sweet spot, so were going for word-of-mouth support by targeting
these key groups. Its called gorilla marketing, where you get out
there and shake hands.
A private screening was held Feb. 18 in Indianapolis and another Feb.
25 in Chicago. The latter included 25 faith community leaders, Amari said.
The film will be shown in March at Willow Creek Community Church in South
Barrington, Ill., a Chicago suburb.
Tony Steinhardt of Madison was on the original race team in 1971 and provided
technical assistance on the film. He said the reaction to the film at
ABRA screenings has been phenomenal. Ive seen emotional reaction
and heard really good comments. He said the film would likely do
wonders for the city, county and state of Indiana in terms of tourism.
Several top movie industry reviewers have given the film high marks. Good,
old-fashioned entertainment in the best sense of the term, said
Entertainment Tonights Leonard Maltin. Classic,
quality filmmakings expertly realized. Superb, said the Sundance
Film Festivals Geoffrey Gilmore. Warm and absorbing, in the
tradition of Breaking Away. I highly recommend it, said
NBC movie critic Jeffrey Lyons.
The movie is being listed among the upcoming films on the Showcase Cinemas
website. The site lists the film in its schedule at its Preston Highway
and Gene Snyder Freeway cinema complex. It is expected to be shown at
Madisons Great Escape Theater on the hilltop. The film has received
a PG rating for mild language and sports peril.
Don Ward is the editor, publisher and owner of RoundAbout.
Call him at (812) 273-2259 or email him at: Don@RoundAboutMadison.com.