MOVIES | “The Convincer,” shooting in Minnesota with Greg Kinnear and Alan Arkin, is almost a wrap


Last Friday, about a dozen members of the local media gathered in a conference room at the Ramada Mall of America for a brief question and answer session about the film The Convincer, which takes place in Wisconsin but is being shot here.

The film, directed by Jill Sprecher (Thirteen Conversations About One Thing), is about an insurance salesman whose scheme to obtain a rare and expensive violin leads to unforeseen consequences. Sprecher, who co-wrote the film with her sister Karen, said the film is really about lying.

The lead is played by Greg Kinnear, who was in attendance at the Q&A along with his co-star Alan Arkin (reuniting after their success in Little Miss Sunshine). Rounding out the rest of the major cast are Billy Crudup, David Harbour, Michelle Arthur, Lea Thompson, and Bob Balaban. Local actress Jennifer Edwards-Hughes also appears.

Producers Elizabeth Redleaf and Christine Kunewa Walker were answered some questions as well. They head local production company Werc Werk Works.

Walker revealed details for other WWW films: Todd Solondz’s Life During Wartime (which screened at the Walker last fall), the sorta kinda sequel to his great film Happiness, but with different actors inhabiting many of the same characters. It was picked up by IFC Films and will be released in the summer this year. Howl, the film about Allen Ginsberg (played by James Franco) and the obscenity trial over his poem, is making the festival rounds (it was the opening night film at Sundance this year) and they are in talks with a distributor, hoping for a summer release for that film as well. Lastly, and most important to world cinema fans, is Bela Tarr’s The Turin Horse. Walker said this will be Tarr’s last film. Currently in production, she doesn’t know when the film will be finished as Tarr is a director who takes his time on projects.

The producers said they hope to have The Convincer, which wraps in about a week, ready for the fall festival season—Redleaf mentioned Toronto and Telluride specifically—if all things go smoothly. “That means a big push in getting it done,” she said. “And of course, it [the film] would have to get accepted.” Given the current state of independent cinema, it may be a while before Minnesotans are able to see this one. Keep an eye out for it.