Tiny mid-Michigan Mason transported back in time for a day

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Tiny downtown Mason, Michigan will soon appear on the silver screen the setting of a historical movie.


Scenes for a movie about Detroit’s 1967 race riots were shot in tiny downtown Mason recently.  Filmed mostly in Boston, except for these two highly anticipated scenes, the movie is called, for now, “Untitled Detroit Project.”

Historically Mason played a part in the race riots. The historic courthouse in downtown Mason was the site of the Algiers Motel murder trial in 1969.  Because of concerns about pre-trial publicity, the trial of a Detroit police officer was moved to Mason from Wayne County. Filmed where the original trial took place, the scenes were shot outside the Ingham County Courthouse and for several hours Mason was transported back in time.

Although the streets were cleared of spectators at times while the cameras were rolling, downtown businesses stayed open.  Almost the whole town turned out and dozens of people milled around the courthouse area for a first-row seat to this behind-the-scenes filming this historical recreation of Mason’s downtown

People watching the production say they are more likely to see the movie now, and, there might be a lot more tickets sold for the first-row seats to the final production.

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, the cast includes John Krasinski, formerly of “The Office,” and John Boyega of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”. The “Untitled Detroit Project” and is scheduled for release next year, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the riots.

This wasn’t the first time a movie production crew visited Mason. Scenes for “Real Steel,” starring Hugh Jackman, were shot there about five years ago.


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