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Plano residents flying high over Superman movie

Will new superman movie be filmed MaStreet Plano? | Phoillustratiby Steven Buyansky; phoby Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media

Will the new superman movie be filmed on Main Street in Plano? | Photo illustration by Steven Buyansky; photo by Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: July 29, 2011 12:20AM



What I wanted was a little hype — Hollywood style.

That meant a little drama. Some enthusiasm. A burst of exclamations, at the very least.

Instead, what I got from Mayor Bob Hausler was a soft chuckle and a matter-of-fact confirmation that, yes, the next big superhero movie would be shot right here in Plano.

Not that I blame the mayor for being less than ecstatic. He’d been fielding calls all morning from other media hounds about the big announcement that, come August, Warner Bros. would be rolling into Plano to film “Superman: Man of Steel.”

He’d also not yet received final confirmation from the studio. Hausler had been in all sorts of secret talks with Hollywood for a few weeks now — and hadn’t spilled the beans, except to his teenage son Tyler and a few other City Hall and Chamber of Commerce cohorts.

“I’ll be more excited when it’s official,” he told me Monday morning.

Turns out lots of locals had not heard the big news yet. Rachel, the 20-something receptionist at the Fox Valley YMCA in Plano, was less than animated about Superman flying into town, but admitted she’d only learned about it 10 minutes earlier.

“Wait till you see who’s playing the lead role,” I promised her, describing British super hunk Henry Cavill. “Your enthusiasm will ratchet up considerably.”

Plano Chamber of Commerce President Rich Healy was more elated than the mayor or Rachel. Just last week he’d gotten a call from a Warner Bros. front man about a piece of Rotary Club-owned property down by the Fox River (leased to the Boy Scouts) that might have to be cleared for a bus-crashes-in-river scene.

Other sites could include Centennial School, built in the ’50s; and of course, the city’s older downtown, which was also used when Larry the Cable Guy filmed his 2007 movie, “Witless Protection” in Plano.

No disrespect to the stand-up comic, but if anything’s gonna git-r-done when it comes to generating a little hype, it’s Warner Bros. rolling into town for a few months with its $175 million budget and cast of A-listers.

In addition to super cool Cavill, also in starring roles are Kevin Costner as Clark Kent’s stepdad; Diane Lane, as his mom; and Amy Adams as fellow media hound and love interest Lois Lane.

“Once the word starts getting around, the excitement will definitely grow,” said Healy, who’d just gotten a giddy call from a banker upon hearing the super news.

Aurora University freshman Morgan Brown, a part-time employee at Wendt True Value Hardware in Plano, also displayed some of that emotion. She’d heard the announcement Sunday night, and it was a major topic of discussion among other Plano students at AU.

“I love movies, said Brown, who regretted not making it to downtown Chicago when “Transformers” was filmed. “The fact this kind of movie is coming to Plano is amazing.”

My final attempt at finding over-the-top was with Marlene Kee, owner of Office Works, whose storefront made it into Larry the Cable Guy’s bomb. Here, at last, I hit paydirt.

“Oh my gosh, I LOVE things like this!” she gushed, adding she was barely able to sleep last night after hearing the news on television.

Kee didn’t even try to slow her speech as she rattled off a list of economic and psychological benefits to the community. And that didn’t include her own personal elation at being able to watch up close and personal such talented, and OK, darn sexy actors. (She’d seen Cavill’s photos, too.)

“Oh yes, it’s going to be a FUN summer!” she exclaimed.

It’s that kind of attitude, concluded the mayor, that helped Plano win over Hollywood.

“One of the things Warner Bros. told us,” said Hausler, “was they not only loved our great looking buildings, it was the friendliness and helpfulness of the people.”

One more thing makes his honor smile. He’s in the middle of budget talks — and who better to fly to the city’s rescue than the Man of Steel himself.

“This (movie),” the mayor said happily, “is definitely going to help.”



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