Hartnett Pal Premieres Minnesota-Made Movie

It’s a good thing for Minnesota that Josh Hartnett is rarely home at his Lake of the Isles mansion. Hartnett and Rob Perez, a Hollywood scriptwriter, hit it off several years ago when they worked on the romantic comedy 40 Days and 40 Nights, which Perez wrote. Hartnett showed Perez the Twin Cities he loves—one filled with actors and set designers and producers and film crews. And when Perez mentioned his desire to hole up somewhere and write and direct a movie of his own, Hartnett offered the house.

A year later, opening Thursday, October 1, in a grand premiere at the State Theatre in downtown Minneapolis, we have nobody, an indie comedy about a young sculptor trying to find himself amid the eccentrics at art school. The star is Sam Rosen, a cousin of sportscaster Mark Rosen. The setting is the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Indeed, one of the great pleasures of watching this film is picking out the locales (is that the cabin of the Phillips beverage family, one of the film’s backers?). The music, which pulls the movie together nearly as well as the tunes in Juno, is by indie-rockers Guster, who unfortunately we can’t claim. On Thursday, I’ll run an interview with Perez and offer a critique of the film. Between this and the Coen brothers’ locally filmed A Serious Man, also opening this weekend, we’re having one of the greatest Minnesota-Hollywood moments in several years.

Speaking of making news, I woke up to find myself on the cover of the new Downtown Journal. Wasn’t sure how that photo was going to go (the photographer just said, “Pretend Tim said something funny,” which I would not have thought would result in anything good….You be the judge). The story is that Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak is taking some hard whacks at city spending in his proposed budget for the coming year and the arts is getting more than a glancing blow. I’ve always said art is infrastructure, if you consider the importance of an attractive, well-designed city in drawing workers and tourists. See what you think: Can we be an attractive “creative city,” competing with others for the best and brightest, with far less direct city involvement and support for public art? Is it politically expedient to pull away from civic arts spending, is it necessary, or is it something we should do without? What would happen if we hoped the private sector would fill the gap?

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