Detroit will have a starring role in "How To Catch a Monster," the new movie to be directed by Ryan Gosling -- and not just as a filming location.
It turns out the screenplay, also written by the red-hot actor, is set in the Motor City.
The story goes that when Gosling was in town in 2011 to shoot "The Ides of March" with George Clooney, he found much creative inspiration in the city.
"Ryan was inspired by what he saw in Detroit and set the movie in Detroit," says David Lancaster, co-president of Bold Films, which is producing and financing the movie.
"How to Catch a Monster" has been approved for $1.75 million in film incentives on roughly $6 million in Michigan spending, the Michigan Film Office said Monday. It is expected to hire 104 Michigan workers. Filming is set to begin in May and run about eight weeks.
The movie is about a single mom, who becomes involved in a dark underworld, and her teen son, who stumbles onto a mysterious underwater town. The details are still under wraps, but the Michigan Film Office announcement described it as having elements of fantasy noir and suspense in a modern-day fairytale "set against the surreal dreamscape of a vanishing city."
Lancaster says there were initial questions about whether Michigan's film incentives were stable, something Hollywood has been asking ever since big cuts to the program were made under Gov. Rick Snyder's administration. Some thought was given to switching to New Orleans, but Lancaster says Gosling felt strongly about returning to Detroit and its moody, evocative locations.
"Ryan was really intent upon shooting in Detroit because that's where it's set and he felt the story was essential to Detroit," says Lancaster.
The movie will be Gosling's feature film debut as a director. The cast includes Christina Hendricks of "Mad Men," Saoirse Ronan of "The Host," Matt Smith of the BBC cult hit "Doctor Who," and Eva Mendes, who stars with Gosling in "The Place Beyond the Pines," which opens locally on April 12.
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"How to Catch a Monster" could be as edgy and provocative as 2011's critically acclaimed "Drive," which like "Monster" Marc Platt, Adam Siegel and Michel Litvak and Lancaster in producing roles. Gosling starred in it as a stunt driver who moonlights as a getaway man.
Only this time Detroit, not Los Angeles, will be in driver's seat for providing visually stunning locations. "As L.A. was to 'Drive,' Detroit will be to this movie," says Lancaster.
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