Keanu, crew visit Detroit
by Susan Whitall
DETROIT -- Maybe it's that heavy blanket of fall leaves over the city, but Keanu Reeves and a film crew managed to slip into the city a week ago without much notice.
The star of Matrix has been filming scenes for his latest movie, Hardball, at Tiger Stadium and at Cobo Center and Cobo Arena.
Marilyn Wheaton, cultural affairs director for the city of Detroit, said the film crew called her a month ago, wondering if Detroit had an empty major-league baseball stadium.
"I said that we had!" Wheaton said.
A scouting crew came here from Chicago, where the movie is set, to look at Tiger Stadium, and while they were here another postmodernist Detroit gem caught their eye.
"The scout crew also took photos of Cobo Arena and Cobo Hall, took them back to Chicago, and for some reason the producer loved Cobo Arena and Cobo Hall," Wheaton said. "So I heard they were using both."
Hardball is the story of a young man (Reeves) who tries to borrow money from a friend for his gambling habit. The friend makes the loan on the condition that Reeves' character coaches a Little League baseball team from Chicago's Cabrini-Green housing projects. In the scenes filmed at Tiger Stadium, Reeves takes his Cabrini-Green Little League team to see a major-league game.
The movie is based on the book Hardball: A Season in the Projects, by Daniel Coyle, and is slated for release in 2001.
Calls to the city's cultural affairs office from producers interested in Detroit have picked up lately, according to Wheaton, although she can't always help them, as she did Reeves.