George Clooney started shooting “The Ides of March” in Northside 5 years ago today, Feb. 10, 2011, jump starting Cincinnati’s current movie renaissance nearly 25 years after “Rain Man” filming here.
Clooney directed and starred in the political thriller about dirty politics during a Pennsylvania governor’s (Clooney) campaign for president in the Ohio primary. The film was nominated for an Academy Award in 2012 for best adapted screenplay with business partner Grant Heslov and playwright Beau Willimon.
The first day of shooting was a family affair.
His parents, Nick and Nina Clooney, sister Ada Zeidler stood along Hamilton Avenue watching Clooney film his teen-age nephew Nick Zeidler in a group of street corner campaigners. Posters of Clooney as Gov. Mike Morris, based on Barack Obama’s 2008 posters, were displayed in storefronts.
The film starred Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright and Max Minghella. More than 25,000 people responded by email to appear as an extra in the film.
Clooney filmed scenes on Fountain Square, Fourth Street, Lunken Airport, Memorial Hall, The Stand, Head First Sports Cafe, Lunken Airport, the Roebling Suspension Bridge, Cintas Center, Covington’s Riverside Drive, Newport’s Comfort Suites, and Miami University in Oxford.
“Ides” was lured here by the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit program started in 2010, and the relentless efforts of Kristen Erwin Schlotman, executive director of the Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Film Commission. Clooney also filmed part of “Ides” in Michigan to get tax breaks there, too.
Thanks to the tax credits and Schlotman’s boundless energy, 10 movies were shot here in 2013-2015: Cate Blanchett’s “Carol,” Don Cheadle’s “Miles Ahead,” Jessica Biel’s “A Kind of Murder,” Nick Jonas’ “Goat,” James Franco’s “The Long Home,” "Marauders with Bruce Willis and Christopher Meloni, Mariah Carey’s “A Christmas Melody,” Nicollette Sheridan’s “A Christmas Spirit,” Mickey Rourke’s “Tiger” and “The Funhouse Massacre” with Robert Englund and Jere Burns.
And more are coming. Schlotman told WVXU-FM’s “Cincinnati Edition” listeners in December that she has “two very large films coming in just after the first of the year” and a potential TV series which would give “eight months continuous work for people.”
No announcements have been made yet on any new productions.