HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Production crews for the new thriller movie, “Holland, Michigan,” took over Windmill Island Gardens starting Monday.
Nicole Kidman is the star of the film, which is centered on a woman who has an affair after she suspects her husband is cheating and goes on to learn her husband has a dark, secret life, according to a summary on IMDB.
The director will add more authenticity to the movie by bringing the cameras to the source of the inspiration. While staff at Windmill Island Gardens are busy preparing for Tulip Time, they’re also gearing up for the crew who will be on site filming the movie there.
“As they need something, we’ve been in constant communication for the last several weeks and even months. We’ve been figuring out when works and what their needs are and also what we need from them based on the amount of people that will be here,” Matt Helmus, manager at the gardens, said.
The city manager confirmed the production was “actively filming” Monday and Tuesday. The park is closed to all visitors both days. Mayor Nathan Bocks says the production has an option to use the park more if needed.
“My understanding is they’ve rented the island for two, possibly three days in case there’s a rain date there. Windmill Island is a public park but there is an admission fee typically and so they have bought out the island for those two or three days,” Bocks said.
A News 8 crew on scene saw box trucks, U-Haul trucks and several other vehicles enter the gardens between 4:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. Monday. There was a security guard and two police officers from the Holland Department of Public Safety helping to make sure only crew members entered the premises. There were orange cones blocking the entrance.
Last week, the film’s casting director Jenny Alison Rodriguez took to Facebook, looking for background extras who live in the Holland and Grand Rapids areas. She was seeking children and adults for tourists roles, plus a Latino man between the ages of 20 and 55 to serve as a stand-in for one of the actors. Those roles have since been filled, according to updates to the casting director’s posts.
“I know they are bringing a sizable crew for production and using local extras but we haven’t really gotten into the weeds on exactly how many people. I know they’re taking care of that. From our end, we’re just trying to make sure they have a great gardens to shoot in,” Helmus said.
He said the production team hasn’t said much about what it is shooting, though the windmill may be the focus for some scenes.
“It’s a little of going around the park, from what I hear,” Helmus said.
Helmus added shooting the film won’t affect people who are coming to view the tulips.
“We are usually prepping for this time of year for Tulip Time. We welcome 15,000 to 17,000 guests in a week, so we are getting the park ready for those people so there wasn’t really much extra work for us to get ready for a film because it’s already looking absolutely beautiful and gorgeous,” he said.
Helmus said he’s glad the gardens are getting even more attention as a national attraction.
“I know they are cognizant that Holland is a beautiful town. That’s why they chose to pick up that script and that’s why they are choosing to film here at the gardens,” he said. “A lot of people in Holland are curious to see how we are portrayed and how they use these shots that they are going to film when they are here.”
The Tulip Time Festival sees the production filming in the city as a great build up to the event, which begins on May 6.
“I definitely think having some of the story helps us kind of get our word out there tell the story of what Tulip Time is all about and I think it will be helpful leading up to and even post movie when it comes out,” said Chad Mesbergen, the event and operations manager for Tulip Time.
The Holland Area Convention and Visitors Bureau has been getting call from tourists asking about the filming, according to executive director Linda Hart.
“I think anything that can give a positive light to our community and show how beautiful our community is. I think that’s always a great thing, especially for the tourism industry,” Hart said.
Though this film is set in Holland, Michigan, little of it is being filmed there. The crew filmed most of the downtown Holland scenes in Clarksville, Tennessee. The town was redecorated to look like Tulip Time in Holland, so if you don’t recognize some of the storefronts when you’re watching the movie, that’s why.