Old-fashioned cars lined East Wilson Street Tuesday night, ladies smeared on bright red lipstick and pinned back their hair and a few gentlemen even sported top hats and canes. Celebrating the release of the ultra-hyped movie, Public Enemies, locals who worked as extras in the movie along with their families and friends joined Arts Wisconsin and Film Wisconsin at a release party at the Hilton Monona Terrace.
State Sen. Kim Hixson, a Democrat who moved to Whitewater 13 years ago to teach advertising at the University, fit his role as a reporter perfectly and is excited to see if he can claim his 5 minutes -- or seconds -- of fame in the movie.
"The entire movie experience is just a blast," Hixson said. "I got to walk with Christian Bale through the Capitol but he wanted to stay in character so he stayed very serious and soft-spoken."
George Tzougros, President of Film Wisconsin and Executive Director of the Wisconsin Arts Board, says the movie brought in sales to restaurants, hotels, tourism and even antique stores which supplied the cast with authentic items like hair clips and tie bars.
"This film provided Wisconsin with an outlet for creativity," Tzougros said. "Creative people in the state could stay here and work instead of traveling. It really helped us prove we can support a film of this magnitude."
Tzougros and his comrades at Film Wisconsin and Arts Wisconsin hope more movie producers will follow suite in the future and choose the Dairy State as a host for filming. But, for now, they are enjoying the success Public Enemies has brought.
"People (tourists) came here to see where the Johnny Depp movie was filmed," Tzourgros said. "Now they can go online to travelwisconsin.com for a gangster tour of the movie and to track the routes taken by the real John Dillinger."
Public Enemies officially opens in theaters on Wednesday.