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Hoosier Pride Has a Starring Role in "So Cold the River"


Just two days away from the March 25 debut of So Cold the River! Our final blog of behind-the-scenes content covers the Hoosier hospitality that impressed the cast and crew during the shooting of the movie at West Baden Springs Hotel in January and February of 2020. As you'd expect, a lot of small-town pride went into the making of this movie.

Zach Spicer, Movie Producer and Co-Owner of Pigasus Pictures

“We put out a call for extras, and everybody was terrified because we had to fill this atrium with over 500 extras in formal attire. We put a video up on Facebook and one of the comments on it, I'll never forget. It said, ‘It's really funny that you think that there are 500 people that are gonna show up in tuxes and dresses in Southern Indiana.’ And we had over 3,000 people apply, and like 55,000 people watched that video. We had to turn people away because people were so excited about being a part of something like that. That's unheard of anywhere else.”

“I tell people that I've worked with in Los Angeles and New York about what we're doing down here, and they just can't believe it. They cannot believe that any community would support a project so much that would physically shut down a business and allow these artists to come in for two weeks and film throughout the entire hotel. Nobody believes that is possible anywhere. It's an incredibly humbling and unique experience to be able to do that, and capture the beauty that is this hotel. They talk about production value all the time. And for us, the main character of this film is this hotel. That's like if we got, you know, Tom Cruise to be in one of our movies, because of how valuable this entire place is.”

More from Zach on how one of the hotel’s staff members brightened his daily routine during filming:

“There's a guy named Kenny who works here, and every single morning, he's the first person that I see. And every single day that I see him, he's singing the same song. It's the most comforting thing in the world to have somebody like Kenny that you see first thing, and makes you just feel really right at home — like you don't really have to worry about anything. That's how the whole community has been. That is the best part about making movies in Indiana, is the support from the people around the film. I teach a lot in New York and we have a lot of international students. They come to America and they go to New York or Los Angeles, and I keep telling them that that's not America. That's New York and that's Los Angeles. And that people have got to come to places like this and meet the people that are here, and just see the community and the environment to really understand what small-town America really holds and what's so precious about it.”

Andrew J. West, Actor

“The French Lick community and the locals have been fantastic. You could tell that there's a sense of excitement about bringing this novel to life — which I see it, in a lot of ways, is sort of the love letter to the area. Even though it's this sort of dark story, it does highlight the grandeur and the history of these places, and I think there's a lot of pride that people have, that are from here, in these resorts and in this area. They have been very welcoming and you could feel their excitement.”

Bethany Joy Lenz


Bethany Joy Lenz, Actress

 “There were so many people who came together just to help out, and I don't know if that was just because it was just exciting to have a movie in your town in an area where there aren't a lot of films happening. That's a novelty for a lot of people, and everybody wants to invest in something that is helping in some way. That's what I love about filmmaking: Hopefully you’re telling stories that will have impact on people in some way. You turn the TV and you leave the theater and you're thinking still, or you're just happy. I think that's a universal longing that we have as humans to help and to motivate and interact, and I think that just bonds people together. I've seen a lot of that here, and the staff at the hotel has been wonderful. Everybody just wants to help.”

So Cold The River- Movie Room

"The Movie Room" with unique décor preserved from the movie's filming

Graham Sheldon, Camera Operator, Drone Pilot and Underwater Specialist

“Working in California, we become a little desensitized to how cool it is to be making a film, and the people of French Lick and the people of the resort have been reminding us every single day that making a movie is a special and unique thing. They're letting us know with all of their work, with their hours, with their energy, and it's just been amazing to see such an outpouring of love from the whole community while we've been here. In the middle of a big 12-hour overnight shoot they're coming up to us and they're like, ‘You're making a movie, how can I help?’ The whole town has really opened their arms to the production and that's been really great to see. I do get the sense that this is something that the community will keep talking about for years and years to come.”

so cold the river movie crew

The movie crew on a night out in French Lick

Michael Koryta, Author and Movie Executive Producer

“Speaking on a personal level, I'm most excited for people here Indiana to see it. Because we don't see many films or TV shows that are actually set in Indiana. In Stranger Things, it's Hawkins, Indiana. Do you see anything from Indiana in that? Of course not. With this, people will actually know and be able to say, ‘Hey, I went there, I know that place.’ That does matter to me, because it's a really rare opportunity. I love the idea of what we're pulling off. What I had been told repeatedly was, if not impossible, certainly implausible by studios with all the resources in the world. By the time it's done, we're going to have something really, really great.”

Lara de Bruijn, Costume Designer

“I spent a day just walking around and meeting people in shops, and everybody has a 20-minute tale of something and it's been great. I've met people who have a history of working here from 25 years back. The group of people that I've been able to meet here has been unreal. Just being able to listen to their stories and hear about why they're here and what they love about this place and why people who work here love this place, and why it matters to them to be a part of this and how much excitement there is (about the movie).”

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