Missouri river town hopeful for major movie locale

The southeast Missouri town of Cape Girardeau is buzzing about the possibility of a major motion picture filming there.

Reports say 20th Century Fox has given strong indications Cape Girardeau could be the backdrop for “Gone Girl,” a movie starring Ben Affleck that’s based on a Gillian Flynn novel. The book was published in 2012 and is largely set in a fictional Missouri town on the Mississippi River.

Several homeowners in the scenic town of 40,000 residents have had their homes inspected and photographed by location scouts in recent weeks. And last week, about 1,400 people turned out for a casting call for prospective background extras.

Officials with 20th Century Fox have not confirmed the filming location, but Cape Girardeau Mayor Harry Rediger said the casting call is a good sign.

Rediger said the movie makers also looked at Hannibal and St. Louis, “but they liked our bridge, the historical nature of the city and the parts that are new.”

Cape Girardeau has had other moments in the Hollywood spotlight.

Parts of 2009 movie “Killshot” were filmed in Cape Girardeau. It was based on Elmore Leonard’s novel, which was partly set in Cape Girardeau, about a woman and her husband who are being sought by a hit man. Crews filmed scenes there in January 2006, generating an estimated $750,000 for the local economy.

“I think this will be a bigger deal than `Killshot,“’ Rediger said in July. “The filming will add considerable economic impact to our community immediately. In the long term, it continues to put us on the map for the (film) industry. I’m encouraged that this may open up some future ventures.”

Flynn’s novel has a plot centered on the marriage of writers Nick and Amy Dunne and whether Nick killed her on the couple’s five-year anniversary. The book topped The New York Times’ hardcover fiction best-seller list for eight weeks.