Before he’s ready to fight crime as the caped crusader, Ben Affleck stars as a loving husband in the upcoming thriller, Gone Girl, based on the eponymous novel by Gillian Flynn.
Filmed here in Missouri and directed by David Fincher (Fight Club, The Social Network), the film revolves around Nick Dunne (Affleck) and the mystery of the disappearance of his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) set in the fictional Missouri town of North Carthage.
When the production scouted Cape Girardeau, Flynn described it in an interview with the Southeast Missourian as being “the exact type of location I had in mind,” and “that’s what I had in my head when I wrote the book.” The production shot throughout September and October of 2013. The first trailer debuted last week, and in it, we get our first look at Cape Girardeau’s starring role.
While intended to be a tease for the whole film, a few familiar landmarks stand out during the short trailer. The first image revealed in the trailer, in what looks to be a key scene, is of a candlelight vigil in “Tom Sawyer” park, with a multitude of residents gathering to look for the missing woman.
The scene was filmed along the grounds of Cape’s Common Pleas Courthouse, located on Lorimier Street, with Affleck speaking from the gazebo nearby. Crews reportedly painted the streetlights on the courthouse steps, the gazebo was repainted, and the pillars had wooden fitted covers so the color would match the rest of the lamps throughout the district. The crew made some modifications to the town as well, including a jewelry store’s awnings that were switched from red to brown, and some residents were asked to not mow their lawns for a few weeks, to give the appearance of abandonment. The same vigil scene is seen later in the trailer, with Affleck running away from the gazebo to a police car while being chased by reporters.
Around the one-minute mark, Affleck drives past the aptly named bar, “The Bar,” Dunne’s workplace in the film. A total makeover of the location was done in preparation for filming, as the empty building was previously a coffeehouse. A look inside now shows what anyone would believe is an actual functioning bar, as interiors were filmed inside the bar as well.
The set decorators and crew even added scratches and scuffs to walls and furniture to truly make the space feel lived-in. Located on Themis and Spanish streets, it is hoped to turn the bar functional, complete with the same furnishings as the film.
A later scene at around the 1:12 mark shows Affleck examining an abandoned house, with the Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge framed perfectly in the background corner. Also, Cape Girardeau residential neighborhoods are featured in a few scenes, including a search party scene. The trailer ends with a title and release date card over a haunting shot of a barge moving down the Mississippi River, following the mural-covered river wall down the bank.
Other locations used in the film include a private residence on the west side of town that is the on-screen home of the movie’s main characters, the former Socials Cafe, and the old federal building acting as the North Carthage Police Station.
Trying to find the Cape Girardeau locations has been so much fun; seeing that last shot in the trailer of our Riverfront Park with a barge heading upriver is thrilling,” says Stacy Lane, public relations director for Cape Girardeau. “It definitely isn’t obvious that they filmed here unless you’re really looking for it. It has been really exciting to see Cape Girardeau through David Fincher’s eyes and the community is abuzz with anticipation for the film.”
Gone Girl opens Oct. 3, 2014.
Provided by the Missouri Film Office.