This is from the set of Betty Ann Water’s house, a private residence on Fifth St. in Ann Arbor. It’s 3 blocks from my house, so I walked past it on my way home from work each afternoon. Apparently they did some filming outside, but whenever I was there, they were doing filming inside the house. Nonetheless there were 30 crew in the yard and street. Occasionally they’d bring out a prop (e.g. a broken chair: “Did Hillary throw the chair?” “Did someone sit in it and break it?”) or let in a dog (“Are they Hillary’s dogs?” answer: Yes. They travel with her).
The base camp was 2 blocks from our house, in back of a church. The trailers were parked there and the various equipment trucks. My boys usually ride their bikes in that parking lot, though, so I let them take a pass through. One day we saw Hillary with her dogs in the playground area.
For this picture, I was on my way home and they had Hillary’s Suburban (a tan behemouth) running and backed up in front of the house – no white shuttle van for her. She walked out, got in the passenger seat (she has a driver). I was across the street, talking with my haircutter. She was holding her adorable, weeks-old husky puppy. Hillary pointed to the dog and broke into that Oscar-winning smile. She really did look lovely. Then they drove away.
Interestingly, the next day all signs of occupation were gone. It was as if the 3 semis, the 4 prop tents, the countless lights, cameras, shades, filters and people who’d been there round the clock had been vacuumed up. The only remnant from filming were 2 large tree branches laying by the curb for pickup. One had green silk maple leaves wrapped on its dead limb; the other had orange and yellow silk maple leaves. No doubt they were used outside a window to make the seasons change.
The man whose home it they used was just moving back in (temporarily – he said they’d be back in a few weeks). He said he thought it was a scam when a guy knocked on his door saying he was a location scout for a Hollywood movie starring Hillary Swank. The guy asked to take photos of the interior. The owner said no way. The scout returned a few weeks later and asked again. The owner still wouldn’t let him take pictures, but he gave the scout a tour.
Apparently 2 things made the house appealing: It has a lot of original and unaltered woodwork (i.e. the old arts and crafts baseboards that are, like 8 inches high) and a few walls had been knocked out at some point, making rooms flow together and easily accommodating of cameras.
I love the image of the two dead branches covered in silk leaves… One hopes it’s not the case, but it seems like it might prove to be a good metaphor for Michigan’s experience with the film industry.
Thanks, Alicia. This is great.