Like Kansas City native Gillian Flynn, author of both the novel and screenplay for mega-hit movie Gone Girl, I’m from Missouri. Part of the fun of attending the movie was to see how much of it was actually filmed there. Another part of the fun was to see how much Flynn improved her story. I read the book and gave it a potboilerish C grade. The movie is still aboil, but it earns an A due to a tighter story, strong direction, and excellent acting especially from Roasmund Pike. Ruth would give top honors to Ben Affleck.
Missouri’s town of Cape Girardeau, now home to 38,000, was named for a French soldier, surname Girardot, who started a trading post on a rock overlooking the Mississippi River. Its new name, for me, and for the city called North Carthage in the film, is Cape Hollywood. Cape Girardeau earned $7 million as a major movie site, and visitcape.com already offers a driving tour of the town’s Gone Girl locations.
The foremost location seems to be The Bar, Missouri boy Nick’s business venture when he and Amy return to his, but definitely not her, roots. It’s at 117 Themis Street and opened as a real business this month. The plan is to eventually turn it into a fine-dining establishment. An important scene in the film shows Nick and his girlfriend kissing outside The Bar while snow swirls romantically around them and his wife watches. In Cape Hollywood, this means that the scene was filmed on October 10, 2013, and the snow is moistened paper. The gazebo from which Ben speaks to townspeople and the media about his missing wife is outside CG’s Common Pleas Courthouse. The bridge used twice is not, as Ruth and I figured, the new span crossing the Mississippi at St. Louis but CG’s Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge. Ben’s Father’s dilapidated blue dwelling is at 831 Ranney Street, and Nick and Amy’s cat-centered house is at 3014 Keystone Drive. One of the few scenes actually shot in LA used a creepy, abandoned mall in Hawthorne, CA that closed in 1999.
Is Cape Girardeau worth visiting as a tourist? Like Forks, WA, scene of The Twilight Saga, it is if you’re a big fan of Gone Girl, The Movie. If not, not so much. If you google Cape Girardeau TripAdvisor and click on Things to Do, half of the top 10 are mostly family attractions like LeBounce, not that there’s anything wrong with that. However, if you go to see Cape Hollywood, I’d recommend that you also venture north and explore historic St. Genevieve in Missouri wine country and then drive scenic Highway 21 from De Soto south to Doniphan, stopping at Elephant Rocks State Park, seeing Taum Sauk, the highest point in Missouri, etc. I used to hunt for native arrowheads here. Then travel west to Forsyth, Missouri, where a lot of Winter’s Bone, the A movie that brought Jennifer Lawrence to everyone’s attention, was shot. Do this in October, not July.