While most of the Region was still sound asleep in warm beds, some 75 area residents gathered under a bright moon in 20 degree temperatures early Monday in hopes of doing a little star gazing.
Movie star gazing, that is.
Actor Johnny Depp is playing John Dillinger in the biopic “Public Enemies” filming this week in the outlaw’s old haunts in downtown Crown Point.
By 5 a.m., a group of nearly 50 people gathered behind an orange snow fence across Main Street from the old sheriff’s house and Hall of Justice just south of the courthouse square hoping to catch a glimpse of Depp. By 9 a.m., the crowd had grown to a few hundred.
Nicole Vega, 15, of Crown Point and her sister Megan, 22, came downtown around 4 a.m.
“It’s the most fascinating thing in Crown Point since Dillinger broke out of jail and (Rudolph) Valentino got married at the courthouse,” Nicole Vega said. “I just hope I get to see Johnny Depp. Even if I don’t, this is still the most exciting thing to happen on my spring break.”
While word in and around the set was that filming would be taking place solely indoors, those who braved the chilly early morning temps weren’t about to budge. The onlookers saw a lot of trucks and trailers, crews bustling about in and out of the old sheriff’s house and the Hall of Justice, some Crown Point police officers and guards from a private security firm.
But no Depp.
A group of 10 people gathered behind the Hall of Justice building at 5 a.m. after seeing trailers they thought could possibly be housing Depp or other stars from the movie move into the parking lot at The Super Bowl bowling alley.
Katy Krekel, 20, traveled Sunday from Louisville, Ky. with her 13-year-old sister, Anna, to watch some of the filming. The sisters arrived in Crown Point at 7 p.m. and slept in their car.
“It’s Johnny Depp,” Katy said. “I’ve been a fan since I was 5.”
The pair traveled to Wisconsin last week to watch some of the filming there and got to see Depp filming a chase scene.
“We saw him drive by in an old car, and then they were pulling the car on like a big flat-bed and they were filming that,” she said.
Anissa Gray of Crown Point brought her 11-year-old daughter, Marissa Kozlowkski, downtown around 5:30 a.m.
“I have an 8-month-old, so I figured if I didn’t get her up for this, the baby would get me up anyway,” Gray said. “I’ve been in Chicago and New York when they were filming movies, and I wanted her to see what it is like.”
A group of three Merrillville High School students got to the square around 4:30 a.m. The thespians said they were excited about seeing the movie making process.
Unlike their Crown Point school counterparts, the Merrillville students were not on spring break. They had to report to class at 7:45 a.m.
“We’re just waiting for the cameras to swoop in that are worth more than, like, all the money I can ever make,” said Alyssa Shirk, 16, of Hobart
Her friend, Patricia Millard, 15, said she admires Depp’s acting chops.
“He’s a wonderful actor and enhances every film he’s in,” she said.
Some fans were less interested in the acting or the film making process, like the girls with signs adorned with glitter paint pressed against the snow fence reading, “Johnny, hug me please! You’re beautiful!” and “I love Johnny.”
Still, Crown Point police said there were no problems overnight into Monday morning. Several joked that they were thankful for the overtime pay they were getting working in and around the set, paid for by the movie production company.
“It’s good for the city,” Crown Point Police Cpl. Larry Gonzalez said. “We had people starting to line up around 12:30, but they’ve all been fine.”
Gonzalez said he got to take a tour of Dillinger’s old jail cell in the sheriff’s house.
“They’ve got it all remodeled and really looking nice,” he said. “The time and effort they took in cleaning it up is going to benefit the city for years to come.
“We should be thankful for this project.”
Source: The Times Online