20th Century Fox could receive tax credit for shooting 'Gone Girl' in Missouri

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
A man believed to be director David Fincher, directs a car scene for 20th Century Fox's feature film "Gone Girl", near the Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge, Monday, Sept. 23, 2013, in Cape Girardeau. (Laura Simon)

20th Century Fox's production of the feature film "Gone Girl" in Cape Girardeau could result in a state tax credit of $2.5 million for the studio under a state program designed to increase Hollywood's activity in Missouri.

The tax credits the studio could benefit from will come through the Department of Economic Development's Film Production Tax Credit program, which has offered tax credits for film production in Missouri since 1999. According to the agency's website, state tax credits are issued to qualified film production companies for up to 35 percent of their in-state expenditures in an effort to boost film production in Missouri. The entire tax-credit program is capped at $4.5 million.

Amy Susan, communications director for the Department of Economic Development, said in an email to the Southeast Missourian that 20th Century Fox had applied for film production tax credits for the filming of "Gone Girl" in Missouri.

"Once they complete production," Susan said, "they will need to submit documentation of their expenditures. If approved by the department, the production company is eligible for up to $2.5 million" in tax credits.

Any film-production company with an expected in-state expenditure budget of at least $100,000 for films longer than 30 minutes, and at least $50,000 for films shorter than 30 minutes, is eligible to apply for the tax credits. Only in-state expenditures necessary for the production of the film can be claimed, such as equipment rental, lodging and property rentals.

A man believed to be director David Fincher, prepares for a scene for 20th Century Fox's feature film "Gone Girl", near the Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge, Monday, Sept. 23, 2013, in Cape Girardeau. (Laura Simon)

Cast and crew with "Gone Girl" -- a movie based on the 2012 book of the same name by Kansas City, Mo., native Gillian Flynn -- have been in Cape Girardeau for several weeks, and filming began last week.

Filming continued Monday with a scene at the Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge. Rosamund Pike, who portrays Amy Dunne, was filmed behind the wheel of a Ford Festiva that was being pulled across the bridge by a production truck. The filming involved multiple takes, and the crew in the bed of truck included "Gone Girl" director David Fincher.

Neil Patrick Harris, in a supporting role as Amy Dunne's ex-boyfriend, said last week he'd be coming to Missouri after the Emmy Awards to work on the movie. Sightings of Ben Affleck, who plays Amy Dunne's husband and suspected killer Nick, have been reported at a thrift store and a local gym.

Expenditures for special-events permits can also be claimed for tax-credit purposes, but 20th Century Fox is also benefiting from a local ordinance regarding the issuance of those permits.

"There's no charge for a special-event permit in Cape Girardeau," City Clerk Gayle Conrad said.

Conrad said the studio had applied, and received, a special-events permit under the name 20th Century Fox, a division of the 20th Century Fox Film Corp.

"The studio was treated like any other applicant," she said. "Whether it's a church block party, the SEMO District Fair or a film production, we're here to provide a service for the community."

However, Conrad said the studio would be responsible for certain expenditures during the course of "Gone Girl" filming.

"If there's property damage or theft of city property that can be traced to the filming, the studio will be responsible for that," she said. "They're also responsible for their own materials and utilities, like water and electricity. The studio will also be responsible for overtime work done by city employees, which includes police officers."

20th Century Fox will be billed by the city for such expenditures after the conclusion of filming, Conrad said.

Even as it takes advantage of government-sponsored filming benefits, the production of "Gone Girl" still holds the promise of a bump in revenue for local businesses. People working on the production are staying at a local hotel and spending money at other local businesses.

Laurie Everett, owner of Annie Laurie's Antiques at 536 Broadway, said members of the "Gone Girl" properties department have visited her store about 10 times.

"I believe they're looking for background items," Everett said. "They've made a lot of random purchases, which could be different props for different scenes."

Everett said she hopes the people of the "Gone Girl" crew continue to visit her store.

"The people in the prop department have been very nice," she said. "I'm pleased with the amount of items they've bought from me."



Pertinent address:

536 Broadway, Cape Girardeau, MO

Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge, Cape Girardeau, MO

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