The ‘Small Town Wisconsin’ director has roots in Whitefish Bay

WHITEFISH BAY, WI – You’ll be able to catch glimpses of Milwaukee and Whitefish Bay on the big screen when the movie “Small Town Wisconsin” premieres in theaters in June.

The film, originally released at film festivals in 2020, comes out of a festival held in May for its theatrical premiere, with cast and crew in attendance, at the Oriental Theater in Milwaukee on June 3.

A limited theatrical release and national digital release will follow on June 10, director Niels Mueller told Patch.

Mueller graduated with the class from Whitefish Bay High School in 1979. For “Small Town Wisconsin,” he said he assembled a cast that had the history of Wisconsin or small-town American life. “in their blood and their bones”. Kristen Johnston, a cast member who Mueller described as “one of our great comedians,” is also from Whitefish Bay.

“I have to say the movie is kind of a postcard, a love letter to Wisconsin and Milwaukee,” Mueller said.

The film, Mueller shot across Milwaukee, Whitefish Bay, Palmyra, East Troy and Mukwonago, depicts “perpetual teenager“Wayne Stobierski traveling from a northern Wisconsin town to Milwaukee after losing a custody battle, according to his description from the Milwaukee Film Festival.

“It’s the story of a dad, who is a loving dad, but he’s kind of a party animal,” Mueller said. “He’s drinking too much, and he finds out he’s going to lose joint custody of his son, and his son is going to move with his mom and stepdad to Arizona. He wants to take his son on one last father-son trip to get himself together. remember him in , they want to go to the big city, which is Milwaukee.”

A scene that some in Whitefish Bay might find familiar was shot near Klode Park. The film’s main character takes his son to a house where he thought former Brewer center fielder Gorman Thomas still lived, Mueller said.

The scene was shot “with the generous cooperation of the owner,” Mueller said. “They pull up in front of what they think is Gorman Thomas’ house, and comedy and hilarity ensue.”

There is also a dramatic side to the story.

“I wanted everyone to see, including my main character, how good life can be if you start choosing the right roads, both figuratively and literally in Wisconsin,” Mueller said.

The film stars David Sullivan, known for “Sharp Objects”; Bill Heck, known for “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”; Tanya Fischer, known for “Life on Mars”; Kristen Johnston, known for “3rd Rock from the Sun”; and Cooper J. Friedman, best known for “9-1-1: Lone Star,” according to a Deadline.com report. The film was produced by Oscar winner Alexander Payne.

Mueller reflected on his time playing and coaching football in the village as part of what built his own character and film career, as well as his time at the Oriental Theater.

“Both my dad and my mom loved movies,” Mueller said. “And when there were big movies at the Oriental, we would go there. You know, even though James Dean was long before me, I remember seeing, at the Oriental, James Dean on the big screen in ‘Rebel Without because”. .'”

About Jefferey G. Cannon

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