Unlike “Carol” and “Miles Ahead,” Cincinnati will play a major role – as itself – in the “Marauders” bank heist feature filming here with Bruce Willis, Christopher Meloni, Adrian Grenier and Johnathon Schaech.
“We’re using Cincinnati for Cincinnati, because it looks awesome,” said director Steven C. Miller at a Carew Tower press conference Thursday with Meloni, Grenier, Schaech, producer Randall Emmett and co-producer Tim Sullivan.
“We’re really loving Cincinnati right now,” said Meloni, the Emmy-nominated “Law & Order: SVU” star whose film credits include “42” and “Man of Steel.”
Meloni, Grenier (“Entourage”) and Lydia Hull (“Escape Plan,” “Van Wilder: Party Liaison”) play FBI agents investigating “an elite bank heist,” Miller said. Willis, who played the bank owner, left town after shooting his scenes, Miller said.
Originally set in Chicago and its suburbs, Miller tweaked the script to showcase Cincinnati’s rich architecture and distinctive buildings, including the Dixie Terminal on Fourth Street and Over-the-Rhine’s brewery tunnels. Cate Blanchett’s “Carol” and Don Cheadle’s “Miles Ahead” movies last year used Cincinnati to replicate New York City.
“Once I got to Cincinnati, and saw how much I loved the city, and how much I loved the buildings and the architecture, it was clear to me that the movie had to take place all in downtown,” Miller said. Filming started Friday. It is scheduled to wrap Oct. 16.
“I love Cincinnati. It seems very clean, and very hip, and has a sense of energy,” says Meloni, whose FBI Agent Jonathan Montgomery has been called “suicidal.”
“I resent that! I’m an FBI agent with a dark, painful experience in his past, looking to do the right thing,” Meloni said. Grenier described his FBI Agent Michael Wells as “pretty even keel” on the surface, but he gets more complex as “the lines get blurred between good and evil.”
Hull’s FBI character “is the toughest of the guys. She makes sure these guys are in check,” Miller said.
Schaech (“That Thing You Do,” “Ray Donovan,” “Sleepy Hollow,”) plays Cincinnati Police homicide detective Brian Mims, who previously had worked with Meloni’s character.
Mims’ wife Jill will be played by actress Alyshia Ochse (“True Detective”), who’s from the Cincinnati area, Schaech said. She's a Northern Kentucky native and Notre Dame Academy graduate, the Enquirer says.
Schaech was here in July for the All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game July 12 at Great American Ball Park, part of the All-Star Game festivities. His team was managed by Johnny Bench, the Reds Hall of Fame catcher.
“The greatest moment was when I didn’t cover second base, and he yelled at me,” Schaech said. He watched the Reds play Wednesday and Thursday, and met players in the clubhouse, he said.
It’s also the second trip to Ohio this year for Meloni, who spent March in Columbus filming “I Am Wrath” with John Travolta.
Between the two films, “I was involved with a project involving the Underground Railroad. So I’ll be hitting there soon,” Meloni said. “I’m also looking forward to going to the Bengals game.”
Producer Randall Emmett thanked the Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Film Commission and Ohio’s filmmaking incentives for making the production here possible.
“We thank the city of Cincinnati, and all the people who support us,” said Emmett, who created the independent Emmett/Furla/Oasis Film company with George Furla in 1998.