The Player

What’s Buck Humphrey doing in movies?

People always said, if you met Hubert Humphrey once, he’d remember you forever. The same must be said of his grandson. “Adam, how are you?” shouts the gregarious guy walking into the Minnesota Film and TV Board in Minneapolis. “Haven’t seen you since we spoke at Matt’s Bar.” That was 12 years ago. At a bar.

Hubert “Buck” Humphrey is a natural politician, like the men in his family going way back. He’s been working in communications, here and in Washington, D.C.. Then, last fall, he formed Griffin Productions with local political consultant Jerry Seppala and producer Steve Brown, and announced plans to make several movies over the next five to seven years, all in Minnesota, helping revitalize the film scene.

The first one sounds promising: Thanksgiving at Denny’s, a comedy about a laid-off computer programmer who returns to his hometown to court an old flame. The town happens to be on the Iron Range. Humphrey took the film’s writer and director, Josh Blum, up to the Range. “When Josh saw the mine pits and the street fronts,” Humphrey recalls, “he said, ‘It’s a back lot ready to go.’”

Shooting is slated to begin as early as April. It’s Humphrey’s job to get the $3 million or $4 million he figures they’ll need. He’s not too worried. He’ll tap his political contacts. “People involved in politics tend to be involved in pretty much everything, including the arts,” he says. “They ask themselves, ‘Where do my values line up, my passions?’ We think people will respond to what we’re trying to do here: bringing film and work to the state.”

If Humphrey has his way, a Minnesotan will star. “Josh Hartnett would be great,” he says, and he’s not kidding. “I’ve worked with Josh on some political things, and he was very helpful, a great guy. Or you know who else I like? Steve Zahn. We grew up next to each other in New Hope. That guy is funny. I like T.R. Knight, too.” Sounds like a producer already.


1. He was the state director for Al Gore and Hillary Clinton’s campaigns in Minnesota.
2. Buck was the maiden name of his grandma. His dad’s nickname is Skip. His grandpa’s was Pinky.
3. In 2011, he came home after leading PR for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Adam Wahlberg is the founder of Think Piece Publishing in Minneapolis

Buck talks about his grandfather and moveis at