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Velocity (L'ville Courier-Journal): Reel Affection


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Many thanks to newbie daisy0802 (of Loo-a-vul :lol: ) for alerting us to this article!

It's from the online version of Velocity, part of the Louisville Courier-Journal. In introducing the article, they pretty much sum it up:

With 'Elizabethtown,' director Cameron Crowe has written a love letter to small-town Kentucky. In the real Elizabethtown, the feeling is mutual.

:wub:

And apparently her daughters are in one of the pictures - daisy, you'll have to let us know where!

Pictures are included...

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Reel Affection

With 'Elizabethtown,' director Cameron Crowe has written a love letter to small-town Kentucky. In the real Elizabethtown, the feeling is mutual.

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By Maisy Fernandez

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Kirsten Dunst and Orlando Bloom frolic in the Bluegrass in "Elizabethtown."

"Elizabethtown" writer and director Cameron Crowe at work on the movie's set. "The people here (in Kentucky) are a little more appreciative of community, a little more appreciative of life and love and just generous of spirit," he said.

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Orlando was Bloom-ing with smiles for fans and reporters at the Louisville premiere.

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Ralph Burton Conlee, 87, formerly of Stanton, Ky., and now of Knoxville, Tenn., shared boyhood stories about Crowe's father, James, a lifelong friend.

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Crowe took his own snapshots at the premiere at the Showcase Cinema de Lux 16.

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The film crew drew a crowd during shooting on Fourth Street at the Brown Hotel.

In the movie, a chipper flight attendant named Claire (Dunst) inspires a new attitude in shoe designer Drew (Bloom). 

As Kentuckians dodged cicada carcasses and endured the insects' ear-shattering mating calls last summer, we were said to be witnessing one of our state's periodic miracles. It only happens once every 17 years, they said. Embrace the cicadas.

But Kentucky was privy to a bigger phenomenon than cicadas in 2004, an unanticipated mating call that hadn't happened here in quite some time.

Filmed largely in Elizabethtown, Versailles and Louisville, the movie "Elizabethtown" provided the Bluegrass State an adrenaline rush that's usually reserved for things like the Kentucky Derby.

Besides having family roots here, underexposure is one of the reasons that writer/director Cameron Crowe chose Elizabethtown to be the face of his latest flick, which opens nationwide Friday.

"So many movies take place in L.A., New York, Chicago even," Crowe said when he visited Elizabethtown and Louisville last month for the national premiere of his new movie. "People were saying, `You don't have to go all the way to Kentucky (to film).' But it's a different environment. When you see the movie, you can feel it. There's something different that happens."

Show me Kentucky

"Elizabethtown" centers around an Oregon shoe designer (Orlando Bloom) who, after losing his high-falutin' job and scrumptious girlfriend, returns to Kentucky to handle his father's funeral arrangements. While he's here, he becomes immersed in his family roots, memories of his father and a calmer life outside the hustle-and-bustle business world to which he's accustomed. He also falls for a free-spirited flight attendant played by Kirsten Dunst.

Crowe said setting the movie in Kentucky, where his father grew up, "reminded me of my own family and what my dad always told me growing up — that the people here are a little more appreciative of community, a little more appreciative of life and love and just generous of spirit."

That notion wasn't lost on Bloom, who has fond memories of the time he spent filming here.

"Sometimes, you come to a town and you can't feel like you can leave without becoming a part of it," Bloom said when he returned to Kentucky for the premiere. "It was such a special time here, such a great family atmosphere....I loved Louisville, the Bluegrass (Parkway) highway and the nature."

From the country roads to quaint small towns to Kentucky kin, folks who caught the local premiere felt Crowe's film represented our state well.

The director did a bang-up job of "capturing the family," said Patrick Rich, 28, of Louisville. "You could tell people from Kentucky were involved."

And locals might be the only ones who really notice it, but "Elizabethtown" yields plenty of familiar sights: Dunst wearing a Maker's Mark T-shirt, Bloom swilling an Ale-8-One, the Brown Hotel (which is featured so often it's almost like a lead character), Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville rockers My Morning Jacket, the "Loo-a-vul, Luhvul..." sign — the list goes on.

"I feel a big sense of pride," said Krista Rogers, 22, of Elizabethtown. "I got chills when I saw people walking down a familiar street."

Fast times

Ask around, and it seems that nothing bigger has ever happened to Kentucky, especially in small towns like Elizabethtown and Versailles, where much of the movie was shot.

"People were taking off work to go downtown and see it," Rogers said.

Christy Waddle, owner of a nail salon in downtown E'town, recalled it as an exciting time in the community. "There was lots of traffic and people trying to see everybody," she said.

Wendy Guernsey and Jaime Adams were two of those onlookers. The Boston, Ky., women took a vacation day from work to watch the filming and were handsomely rewarded.

"We got to meet Orlando Bloom," said Guernsey, who wore her "I :heart: Orlando" T-shirt to the Louisville screening.

"They all made themselves very accessible — there were no barricades or anything," she said. "I was wearing this shirt and (Bloom) came right up to me and said `Cool shirt.' Of course, I responded by going `Eeeeeeee!'"

Thing is, once the movie was done and Crowe returned to screen it, the director seemed just as jazzed about being here as residents were about the film's setting.

To be fair, Crowe's charms do seem much more Kentucky than Hollywood. As his promotional bus pulled into Freeman Lake Park in Elizabethtown on Sept. 17, waiting fans were armed with cameras and video recorders to capture the famed director's return to their city.

But they weren't the only ones documenting the visit. From his vantage point inside the bus, Crowe shot photos of the crowd with his digital camera. As he stepped off the bus and into the throng of fans and the media, he snapped more pictures of the scene — something he continued to do at various "Elizabethtown" events throughout the day. He even interrupted an interview on the red carpet in Louisville to snap pictures of fans. < :O: >

"One of the things Kirsten Dunst does in the movie is save a moment with an imaginary camera," he said, smiling. "But I actually have a camera."

In films like "Say Anything...," "Jerry Maguire" and "Almost Famous," Crowe has shown a knack for developing interesting characters dealing with everyday issues. And that's something he hopes comes across in "Elizabethtown."

"I just have this theory about this movie being about the right thing," he said. "People pick up on the fact that you're not firing guns or fighting aliens. It's a movie from the heart, about people."

Almost famous

So even if Kentucky only gets its big-screen shine once every two decades or so, local residents hope it will make just as big an impact with the nation as the cicadas' visits do with locals. After all, as the movie's tagline says, it's a heck of a place to find yourself.

"It's exciting that people will hear about our town," said Lora Lamb, 26, of Elizabethtown, noting that many residents hope to see a boost in tourism as a result.

Meanwhile, the city's mayor, David Willmoth Jr., who was on hand for the screenings, believes it provides a slice of life that viewers from anywhere can relate to.

"It's Americana," he said. "Elizabethtown could be most any city in Kentucky or the nation."

Crowe's Best

Cameron Crowe has become an acclaimed director of his generation for three reasons: great characters, great dialogue and great music.

Whether it's Lloyd Dobler giving up his heart in return for a pen or Jerry Maguire trying so desperately to show Rod Tidwell the money, Crowe's films are filled with scenes that resonate not because of great images but because of their emotional power. Throw in some Peter Gabriel, Paul Westerberg or My Morning Jacket and you have movies that go straight to the jaded heart of the Generation X-er.

Here is a rundown of his filmography:

"Fast Times at Ridgemont High" (1982) — Crowe contributed the screenplay, based on his book of the same name about real high school students. Although it was released in an era of teen sex romps — and did include a classic topless scene — this was a deeper film than "Porky's" and its ilk.

"The Wild Life" (1984) — Crowe also wrote this unofficial sequel to "Fast Times." It starred Chris Penn instead of Sean Penn and wasn't quite as funny.

"Say Anything..." (1989) — Crowe's directorial debut has all the touches that have become his hallmarks: the sensitive male lead, the breakup-makeup story line and the pop song as dramatic device. John Cusack holding up the boombox to serenade his teen love now stands as an iconic image in film.

"Singles" (1992) — A series of dating stories set against the backdrop of grunge-era Seattle, this movie so perfectly captured the excitement and anxiety of being 20-something and on your own. The soundtrack serves as a nice introduction to early '90s alternative rock.

"Jerry Maguire" (1996) — A chick-flick wrapped in a sports movie, this is Crowe's most successful film to date. It showed him the money, grossing more than $150 million domestically, and had Oscar voters at hello, earning five nominations (including best picture and best screenplay nods and a supporting actor win for Cuba Gooding Jr.).

"Almost Famous" (2000) — Crowe's first real foray into autobiographical territory, this movie is based on his experiences as a teen-age writer for Rolling Stone. The band is fictional, but themes of music as a catalyst for hope and the frailties of the people surrounding it are so very real.

"Vanilla Sky" (2001) — Crowe's only experience directing someone else's story — in this case a remake of a Spanish psychological thriller — is considered a disappointment. It's apparent that Crowe works best from his own stories, hence the return to more autobiographical material with "Elizabethtown."

— Jim Lenahan

Simply Red

Matt Stone Jaime Adams of Boston, Ky., donned a red cap in emulation of Kirsten Dunst's character in "Elizabethtown." Yes, Prince sang about a raspberry beret. But it's Kirsten Dunst's red beret in "Elizabethtown" that seems to have captured the hearts of some Kentucky women.

During "Elizabethtown" premiere events in Elizabethtown and Louisville last month, at least three ladies proudly donned red berets similar to the one Dunst wears in promotional photos for the movie. Maybe it was to capture the attention of writer/director Cameron Crowe or actor Orlando Bloom, who were in town. Or perhaps these women will be among the first to adopt a new fashion trend.

Hey, stranger things have happened as the result of a movie character's wardrobe choices. Have you seen all those "Vote for Pedro" shirts floating around out there?*

— Maisy Fernandez

*Subtle reference to Napoleon Dynamite.

Thanks again, daisy, for the 'tip'. :hug:

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All the articles from the Kentucky premiere remind me of the ROTK premiere in Wellington. There is as much of a "bringing the film home" feel as there was then, with the open arm welcome from all sides. You know what I mean? :)

Lovely article Daisy, thanks for this and to Jan for bringing it over, pics and all. :hug: Daisy, please point out your daughter to us.

"They all made themselves very accessible — there were no barricades or anything," she said. "I was wearing this shirt and (Bloom) came right up to me and said `Cool shirt.' Of course, I responded by going `Eeeeeeee!'"

And who could blame ya, sweetie. :lol:

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest daisy0802

Sorry it took me so long to reply, I just found this post. My daughters are in the picture with Cameron Crowe. One of them is holding the LARGE pink sign. The other daughter is to her left with a black shirt on, she has a camera in her hand. She got some great pictues of Orlando! Orlando signed my daughters poster in the heart. She was in heaven! He is so sweet! We also got to meet him during the filming last summer. He is so gracious and kind to his fans! Thanks for posting the article.

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