Skip to main content

Filming of 'Wilson' a screen test for Minnesota's movie industry

  • Author:
  • Updated:

For the first time in six years, Minnesota is serving as a Hollywood movie set.

"Wilson," which stars Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern, began filming in the Twin Cities area in June and its producers are giving a thumbs-up to the locations and the local talent they've found, WCCO reports.

Favorable reviews are important in the effort to make such productions less rare in a state which last hosted a major movie when the Coen brothers made "A Serious Man" here.

“It sort of signals that we’re back,” Minnesota Film and TV Board executive director Lucinda Winter told WCCO.

This embed is invalid

"Wilson" also gives the local industry a chance to show Minnesota policymakers the value of landing a Hollywood feature film.

The movie's producer, Mary Jane Skalski, told news outlets Tuesday that Minnesota's "snowbate" program, which reimburses film companies for up to 25 percent of their production costs, was a major factor in the decision to make "Wilson" in the Twin Cities.

MPR News reports that after the Legislature cut funding for the program, Minnesota saw movies such as "Gran Torino" and "Juno" head elsewhere.

The Star Tribune reports that by the time it's done, "Wilson" will have used more than 50 locations around the Twin Cities – ranging from the Washington County jail and Mancini's Char House to Como Town and Mall of America.

Producers say a majority of the film's crew members and acting talent were hired locally. Spending is estimated at $6 million, meaning up to $1.5 million could be returned to the filmmakers through Minnesota's rebate, the Star Tribune notes.

Minnesota is apparently getting some nibbles in its efforts to land another project.

The Film Board's Winter tells MPR they're going after a television show. She also tells the Star Tribune Duluth is being considered for a project, with a scouting trip planned for next week.

Next Up

Semi into house near Sturgis, South Dakota

Semi drives into house near Sturgis, South Dakota

The force from the semi was so strong that the foundation of the house was moved.


18-year-old from Zumbrota dies in Goodhue County crash

The crash happened in rural Goodhue County around 8:45 a.m. Wednesday.

thomas beach, bde maka ska - lake calhoun

3 Minneapolis beaches closed due to E. coli contamination

No illnesses have been reported, according to the MPRB.


'Hockeyland' documentary debuting in Minnesota movie theaters

The documentary has received great reviews at numerous film festivals.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Former Minnesota Olympic runner accused of driving drunk in Eden Prairie crash

Police said the man's blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit.


Man, 79, killed in ATV rollover near Faribault

The man was declared dead at the scene.

minneapolis police

Woman fighting for her life after shooting in Minneapolis

The woman was shot only about a half-hour after a 14-year-old suffered critical injuries in an apparent accidental discharge.

prior lake high school

Two students face discipline over racist messages at Prior Lake High School

Families and students were largely uncooperative with the investigation.

Sharon and Herb Vasser

Cause of Hopkins house explosion that killed couple revealed

Sharon and Herb Vassar were killed in the explosion. Herb built the home back in 1962.

Arrows on target

Charges: Minnesota camp counselor fired arrows at kids, injuring boy

An 8-year-old boy was shot in the arm with an arrow.

North Shore Mayor Chris Swanson.

Two Harbors votes overwhelmingly to recall Mayor Chris Swanson

The mayor had been scrutinized for several things leading up to the vote Tuesday.

Screen Shot 2022-08-10 at 8.43.50 AM

Suspected gunman at large after homicide near Albert Lea

The 32-year-old suspect was last seen in a 2004 white Ford F-150 with Minnesota license number EUZ-057.