Growing up in Plainfield, I had always heard stories about "ol' John Dillinger" from Mooresville. My grandparents would tell me about how they remembered the Dillinger family. The stories were always fascinating, but not real to me.
When I began hearing rumors of Michael Mann and Johnny Depp collaborating to bring the story of John Dillinger to the big screen, I was intrigued. I talked about it with my family and thought the idea was fantastic.
When I moved to Chicago to pursue film at Columbia College after graduating from Plainfield in 2007, I began hearing more and more about the film. As it turned out, a majority of the filming was going to be taking place in Chicago (where Dillinger actually carried out many of his robberies). I had a foot in the door of the Chicago film industry after working on ER
and The Unborn
I was able to secure a spot as an extra in the film fairly easily; however, there were numerous tryouts for ballroom dancers and other more complicated roles. I went through the process of a ballroom dancer, dancing the foxtrot at the Congress Theatre. I made it through those auditions with two left feet and landed a spot on the dance floor during one of the larger scenes we worked on in Chicago, the Aragon Ballroom scene.
With a live band, fake booze and un-filtered cigarettes, the night was truly in the early 1930s thanks to the fantastic people in hair, makeup, art direction, set design and wardrobe. There were 14-, 15-, even 16-hour days of shooting, but I know that it will all pay off.
Michael Mann is truly a genius filmmaker and Johnny Depp knew John Dillinger inside and out. I was fortunate enough to meet Depp and was able to share my story of growing up hearing the Dillinger stories. The entire experience was one that I will never forget. The film, I know already, will be fantastic. Michael Mann, Johnny Depp and everyone else put everything they had into this project and I am excited for Hoosiers to see it on screen!