Work on downtown Cape Girardeau building apparently tied to 'Gone Girl'

Thursday, August 29, 2013
Ace Mona, of Los Angeles, Calif., right, and Curt Childers, of Cobden, Ill., install a door at 119 Themis St., Tuesday, Aug. 27, in Cape Girardeau. Work is being done on the former location of Social's Cafe and Catering to ready it for use as a filming location for 20th Century Fox's feature film "Gone Girl." (Adam Vogler)

The renovation of a downtown building is the strongest signal yet that Cape Girardeau will be a filming location for the 20th Century Fox movie "Gone Girl."

The building at 119 Themis St., the former home of Social's Cafe and Catering, is being turned into a bar that could house the filming of several "Gone Girl" scenes.

In Gillian Flynn's thriller novel "Gone Girl," on which the film is based, Nick Dunne moves his family from New York City to the Mississippi River town of North Carthage, Mo., where he opens a bar.

The work being performed in the old Social's Cafe and Catering involves carpentry and painting.

"We're slated to be working in here for about a month," said painting foreman Chad Simpson. "The goal is to turn this place into a genuine bar."

Simpson, from Los Angeles, said renovation work in the building started Tuesday. The Southeast Missourian reported Tuesday that a local business, Custom Designs, had been approached by someone connected to the "Gone Girl" production about vinyl samples for bar stools in the old Social's Cafe and Catering location.

Simpson didn't disclose what studio sent him to Cape Girardeau, but Dawn Swiderski, an art director involved with the renovation, said she was a "hired gun" for 20th Century Fox.

"Cape Girardeau is a very nice place to work," Swiderski said. "It's got a lot of great locations."

According to Swiderski, preproduction shooting could start Sept. 11.

"That will involve shooting of exteriors," she said. "Things like vacant buildings and houses."

The film-related renovations -- plus the presence of a motion-picture industry moving truck and trailers in the parking lot of Blair Best Box -- are the latest indicators Cape Girardeau is a top candidate for being a "Gone Girl" filming location. A casting call for background extras Aug. 17 drew about 1,400 people to Rose Theatre at Southeast Missouri State University, and a second casting call at Rose Theatre on Saturday requested triplets between 2 and 3 years old. In July, city officials confirmed 20th Century Fox location scouts had been looking at houses and businesses that could be included in local filming.

Chuck Martin, executive director of the Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the latest developments were encouraging but he isn't expecting any official announcement from 20th Century Fox about Cape Girardeau being a filming location.

"I think they're probably just going to bring their crews in here and get started," Martin said. "I don't think we'll know anything for certain until we see Ben Affleck and [Affleck's wife] Jennifer Garner in town with their kids."

The film adaptation of "Gone Girl" reportedly will be directed by David Fincher, an Oscar-nominated director of films such as "The Social Network." According to imdb.com, Ben Affleck will play the role of Nick Dunne, with Rosamund Pike portraying his wife, Amy Dunne. Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry are rumored to be in supporting roles.

klewis@semissourian.com

388-3635

Pertinent address:

119 Themis St., Cape Girardeau, MO

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