Bullock’s movie shout-out leaves community buzzing
BY LAURA PAVIN For Sun-Times Media | @LauraPavinNews October 2, 2013 12:00PM
This publicity photo released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Sandra Bullock (left) as Dr. Ryan Stone and George Clooney as Matt Kowalsky in Gravity." | AP Photo/Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures
Updated: November 4, 2013 7:20AM
The Hollywood hoopla started with just three words from Oscar winner Sandra Bullock.
“Lake Zurich, Illinois,” Bullock tells George Clooney’s character when asked where home is in the upcoming sci-fi film, “Gravity.”
Lake Zurich’s silver screen shout-out in the film’s trailer has created quite a buzz in the community.
“I got around, I don’t know, 30, 40, 50 emails about it from people after that,” Village President Tom Poynton said when asked about the Clooney-Bullock exchange.
The movie, which opens Friday nationwide, has medical engineer Dr. Ryan Stone (Bullock) and astronaut Matt Kowalski (Clooney) frantically attempting to survive an accident that leaves them stranded in space.
“Sandra Bullock’s character, Dr. Stone, is an expert in medical X-ray research and development. As (writers Alfonso and Jonas Cuarón) did research on areas of the U.S. that are hotbeds for that field... Lake Zurich came up a good bit. So, they used that as the name of her hometown,” explained Benjamin Handfelt of Allied Integrated Marketing, when asked about Dr. Stone’s Lake Zurich origins.
A film critic who saw an early screening confirmed that Lake Zurich’s reference wasn’t left on the cutting room floor.
But the only way to know if Lake Zurich garners more attention in “Gravity” is to see the movie.
Regardless, teachers and students at Lake Zurich High School are having fun talking about it.
Junior Meghan Kelly said it seems everyone at the high school has had “Gravity” on their minds since the trailer was released. She first saw it when teacher Peter Ternes played it for his U.S. History class.
Kelly called her town’s role in the movie odd.
“Everyone thinks it’s weird,” Kelly said.
Some Lake Zurich students suspect director Alfonso Cuarón just threw a dart at a map to make his decision.
Dale Perrin, executive director of the Lake Zurich Area Chamber of Commerce, said his friends began buzzing about the trailer’s mention of Lake Zurich before he heard about it.
“I was with a group of friends a couple of weeks ago, when one of them asked what I did to get us in the movie,” he said. “I didn’t know what they were talking about.”
Since finding out, Perrin’s been working with a web developer to make sure the chamber’s website looks even better, should more people the town’s name when the movie comes out.
Perrin is unsure how the mention can impact Lake Zurich’s image, but thinks it could be a good thing.
“I’ve been trying to get in contact with Warner Bros., because I was thinking — or hoping — that they would have experience or knowledge about the stats that result when they do something like this,” he said. “What happens? They’ve been doing things like this for years, so I figured they would know.”
Poynton said he posted an open invitation on his Facebook page for Bullock and Clooney to attend the village’s Rock the Block party earlier this month.
They didn’t attend, though.
“I guess Sandra Bullock doesn’t read my Facebook page,” he joked.