Drivers try out for 'Gone Girl'

Sunday, September 8, 2013
Two motorists leave the starting line on cue in what appeared to be vehicle casting for a movie Friday, Sept. 6, 2013 in a parking lot of the Osage Centre in Cape Girardeau. (Fred Lynch)

While no official word has been provided by 20th Century Fox as to whether Cape Girardeau will be a filming location for the feature film "Gone Girl," there was another casting call -- of a different sort -- Friday at the Osage Centre.

About 20 people brought their cars, trucks and jeeps to a parking lot near to the Osage Centre to audition for the film. The participants were put through a "driving school" by production staff that instructed teams of three drivers while they drove in specific formations in the parking lot and on North Kingshighway, Mount Auburn Road and Hopper Road.

The driving school, which began at 8:30 a.m., wasn't a stressful time for the driving teams, but they paid close attention to instructors throughout their exercises. The drivers were told what was expected before they got into their vehicles, and they stayed in communication with instructors through walkie-talkie radios during their driving formations. During one formation, a vehicle continued to drive in a straight line while the vehicle behind it turned into a parking space and stopped. The third car waited for the vehicle to park, and it continued in a straight line until the drivers were told to stop.

Craig Thomas of Cape Girardeau drove a beige Chevrolet S-10 Blazer at the driving school.

"It actually belongs to a friend," Thomas said. "When [the production staff] called me yesterday, they told me they weren't looking for any white, red or black vehicles. So I had to borrow this one before I came out here."

Thomas said he believes the reason he was contacted was because of his involvement in the Aug. 17 call for background extras at Rose Theatre at Southeast Missouri State University.

"On the information card that I filled out," he said, "I put down that I had prior experience as a stagehand. I guess that was enough for them to give me a call."

The casting call at the Rose Theatre was an all-day event that saw about 1,400 people fill information cards and wait to be photographed by a casting director from the Hamilton Casting Co. of New York City. A second casting call for triplets between 2 and 3 years old occurred at the Rose Theatre on Aug. 24.

Thomas said participating in the driving school wasn't a guarantee he would drive the vehicle during "Gone Girl" filming sequences.

"They'll pick what they want as far as vehicles go," he said. "They may want to use nothing but trucks or they may want to use just cars. But we were told that if we weren't chosen for driving, maybe we could be used as extras in other scenes."

At the end of the driving school about noon, Thomas said the experience was "kind of fun."

"I was happy to come out," he said. "It will be great if they call me back."

The auditions of vehicles and their drivers -- plus the presence of motion-picture industry trailers in the parking lot of Blair Best Box and the renovation of the old Social's Cafe on Themis Street -- are the latest indicators Cape Girardeau is a top candidate for a "Gone Girl" filming location. In July, city officials confirmed 20th Century Fox location scouts had looked at houses and businesses that could be included in filming.

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, Ben Affleck will play the role of Nick Dunne, with Rosamund Pike portraying his wife, Amy Dunne. The website lists Cape Girardeau as a filming location.

Entertainment Weekly reported last week that Tyler Perry will play Tanner Bolt, a defense attorney who represents Nick Dunne after his wife's disappearance. Neil Patrick Harris is in talks to play Desi Collins, Amy Dunne's former flame, Entertainment Weekly's website reported.


Pertinent address:

1625 N. Kingshighway, Cape Girardeau, MO

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