Preparations for the upcoming Public Enemies shoots at the Wisconsin Capitol were already underway on Wednesday evening as a police officer placed orange cones to block off parking spaces on the East Washington and Wisconsin Avenue driveways to the building. The production kicks off on Friday, May 2 with shoots in the North Hearing Room and other locations inside the Capitol. After breaking for the weekend, the cameras are set to return on Monday, May 5 for shoots outside of the building along the sidewalks and steps facing State Street, Wisconsin Avenue, and East Washington Avenue.
The Universal Pictures production Public Enemies is the first production to take advantage of the new film incentives program in Wisconsin, and has been shooting since March 17 in various locations around the state, including Columbus, Darlington, Oshkosh, and Manitowish Waters. Directed by UW alum Michael Mann, it's a big budget historical epic about the criminal exploits of John Dillinger and his gang in 1933 and '34 and the efforts of the nascent FBI to bring them down, and stars Johnny Depp as the infamous gangster and Christian Bale as the federal agent Melvin Purvis.
Large crowds of onlookers have gathered at each location hoping to catch a glimpse of the production in action, a phenomenon that's likely to continue in Madison.
Details about the shoots at the Capitol were detailed in a permit application issued by the state Department of Administration on Wednesday, including various rules and conditions about public access, the use of prop firearms, and special effects to simulate smoking. It specified that the interior shoots would be on May 2, but did not definitively indicate the date of the shoot outside the Capitol, which was originally planned for later next week. The final date is now confirmed, though, and these exterior shoots will be conducted on Monday, May 5.
The City of Madison Street Use Staff Team approved a street use permit application on Wednesday authorizing the closing of multiple blocks of parking spaces around the Capitol Square over the weekend and rerouting Metro bus routes to the outer loop on Monday. As noted in a memo issued by the city Parks Division: "There was a change in the date originally requested on the application. They will be doing the interior shots at the Capitol on Friday night, May 2. The exterior shots will be done on Monday, May 5."
Beginning Friday morning, the parking meters on the 100 blocks of East Washington Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. will be closed and reserved as parking spaces for Universal Pictures vehicles. Then on Monday, the Capitol Square blocks of North and South Pinckney Street, East and West Mifflin Street, and North and South Carroll Street will have their parking meters closed for the shooting slated outside of the Capitol. Additionally, Metro buses will be running on the outer loop all day Monday, and the production has requested the services of off-duty police officers, ostensibly to assist with crowd control.
The Public Enemies production is currently organizing numerous shoots around southern Wisconsin following more than a week of work at the Little Bohemia Lodge in Manitowish Waters. Locations outside of Madison slated for shoots include Columbus, Beaver Dam, Mirror Lake State Park in Sauk County, and Milwaukee.