Without fanfare, the “White Boy Rick” movie makes quick and quiet detour to the Motor City

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Residents of Detroit’s Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood were notified early this week that filming of the “White Boy Rick” movie was to make a quiet trip to Detroit — – the city where the story happened in real life – Wednesday for a single day of shooting on something called the “Untitled Detroit City” project.

That’s not to be confused with Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow’s “Untitled Detroit Project,” the movie on the 1967 Detroit riot from that shot briefly in Detroit and wrapped filming in 2016.

Also referred to in media reports as “White Boy Rick.” the “Untitled Detroit City” project is the name being used now by the McConaughey-starring movie, according to the Greater Cleveland Film Commission.

The informational letter given to residents impacted by the filming asked “that (if possible) any cars pre-dating 1985 are parked in garages and/or driveways and not on the street” to help with the look of the film. Further details on the production schedule, including whether filming was happening in Detroit were declined and  there were no clear indications that McConaughey, or other key cast members, were in Detroit

Early Wednesday afternoon, the yellow base-camp signs for cast and crew were spotted at Windmill Pointe Park in Grosse Pointe Park.  Detroit would seem to be the most logical place to shoot a movie about “White Boy Rick.” But the Motor City has seen few outside movie productions since Michigan eliminated its film incentives in the summer of 2015..

Instead filming is set to take place in Cleveland from March through August. Only a few scenes are supposed to be shot in Detroit, according to the entertainment industry news site Deadline.com.

“White Boy Rick” will be directed by Yann Demange and also stars Jennfier Jason Leigh, Bel Powley and Brian Tyree Henry of FX’s “Atlanta.”  A 15-year-old newcomer from Baltimore without acting experience, Richie Merritt, has been cast in the role of the teenage Wershe.

Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey will star in the feature film as the father of Richard Wershe Jr., the Detroit teenager who was convicted on drug charges in the late 1980s and has served nearly 30 years behind bars


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