The epic tour of Wisconsin that is Public Enemies finally made its debut in Madison over the weekend. While an overnight shoot running from Friday evening until Saturday morning was sequestered inside the Capitol, the production made its way outside to the Square on Monday morning. Dozens of crew members, extras, vintage autos, and as the word on the street goes, Christian Bale, are present for a shoot that centers on the East Washington Avenue steps of the Capitol building.
Hollywood got started early on Monday, as the picture car crew consisting of some 15 period vehicles rolled up East Washington around 7:30 a.m. and parked on North Pinckney Street, followed by vanloads of extras already in costume. All had come from the production's base camps, split between a pair of industrial parking lots by Breese Stevens Field on the near east side. Crew arrived downtown even earlier, preparing lighting and electrical equipment at the Pinckney Street entrance to the Capitol, moving back and forth to their trucks parked around the Square.
As has been the case at other Public Enemies shoots around Wisconsin -- including Columbus, Darlington, Oshkosh, and Manitowish Waters -- crowds gathered along the sidewalks of the Capitol Square to catch a glimpse of the action. Though Johnny Depp has been the major draw in these locations, the actor portraying gangster John Dillinger is not present for this shoot. That makes sense considering the scene, a sequence titled "Justice Steps" that takes place in Washington, D.C. and focuses on the origins and early efforts of the FBI to track down the bank-robber known as "Public Enemy Number One."
Other big name acting talent is a part of the Madison production, though. The interior shoot that started Friday night featured Billy Crudup, who is playing the young and green FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. Christian Bale, who plays FBI agent Melvin Purvis, has worked on scenes in Manitowish Waters and at Mirror Lake State Park in Sauk County, may also be present at this Madison shoot, at least as far as the discussion goes amongst spectators observing the scene on the Square.
The crowds aren't too big, though, reports Isthmus contributor Erica Pelzek. She notes that the spectators are in a jovial mood, enjoying the spectacle as police move them around and away from the primary action along Pinckney Street.