Actors and actresses have supported a variety of causes throughout the years, but it was surprising to see one of Hollywood’s finest make a direct plea towards Peoria, Illinois. Wednesday, Diane Keaton released a written statement that was presented at a local neighborhood association meeting urging Peorians to stop the demolition of historic sites and focus on preservation (CINewsNow).
Historic preservation isn’t the sexiest of causes for a movie star to support, but it actually makes a lot of sense. Movies have always been the best way to capture a time and place of the past and the present. Maybe it’s because of this we forget how important present day preservation is because we can always “pretend” to be from a different period, wear old clothing, or construct a set that looks like something from a picture.
Without stories of the past, movies wouldn’t have the same emotional impact as they do. Consequently, without a good setting, they wouldn’t be able to tell the story as well. Technology has allowed us to take some liberties when it comes to special effects, but you can’t replace every movie location with a green screen. Sometimes London, New York, Chicago, or Hong Kong really can’t be replaced. The same can be said about small towns all across the U.S.
A lot of books and subsequently movies, come from authors writing about their hometowns. A lot of directors and producers are inspired by their hometowns when telling the story. Not surprisingly, a lot of movies have been filmed in small to mid-sized cities. It’s those settings that add depth and dimension to those films. Sometimes it’s the grit, glamor, or otherwise ordinary that makes the character of place shine on the big screen.
Although I haven’t seen the full statement, nor was I there to attend this meeting, I’m positive Ms. Keaton’s message wasn’t a pitch for movies to be made in Peoria. A friend of hers who lives in a historic neighborhood in the city asked her to help promote the message which she strongly advocates. Regardless, it is always nice to have another voice of support in a fight to protect the buildings, spaces, and places in which we film our own individual movies.
My idea for a movie filmed in Peoria is that of a 4th Generation whiskey baron who is broke, living in a crumbling Victorian home and watching large corporations making the big money his ancestors once made while they were shaping the city. The turning point comes when the young whiskey baron gathers the locals to revitalize their neighborhood, they work together to start the distillery back up, and they use the rich local resources to make the best product around. The city realizes that it in order save itself from collapse, it too must reinvest in what made it strong. The movie ends with potential being reaped and progress taking place.
A real rags to riches, worst to first, feel good story. Diane, if you’re interested call me.