Tuesday, April 15, 2014

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Courthouse will be used for scene in feature film

DALLAS — The Polk County Courthouse, specifically Courtroom No. 1, will be getting the Hollywood — well, rather the independent film — treatment next month.

Courtroom No. 1 at the Polk County Courthouse will be used to film a trial scene from the upcoming historical movie "10 Days in a Madhouse," set in the 1880s in New York.

Photo by Jolene Guzman

Courtroom No. 1 at the Polk County Courthouse will be used to film a trial scene from the upcoming historical movie "10 Days in a Madhouse," set in the 1880s in New York.

January 07, 2014

DALLAS — The Polk County Courthouse, specifically Courtroom No. 1, will be getting the Hollywood — well, rather the independent film — treatment next month.

Polk County's oldest and most stately courtroom will be the set of a scene in the historical film thriller "10 Days in a Madhouse," now in production in Salem.

"10 Days in a Madhouse" is based on the book of the same name by journalist Nellie Bly, who took investigative reporting to the extreme, faking insanity to have herself involuntarily committed to a notorious New York asylum in the late 19th century. Her account spurred an official investigation into conditions and treatment at the institution.

The film depicts her experience in the asylum.

Polk County Administra-tive Services Director Matt Hawkins said he was surprised to receive the call from movie director Timothy Hines' assistant a few weeks ago requesting use of the courtroom for a trial scene in the film.

"I don't know when they would have seen the courtroom," he said. "I didn't take anyone on a tour."

Despite that minor mystery, once Hawkins found out what the movie was about and in what historical period it took place, the call made more sense.

"The case is taking place in the 1800s and we have a courthouse from the 1800s for them to use," he said.

Cast and crew for the film will use the courtroom for just eight hours the night of Feb. 26, after court proceedings are finished for the day.

Hawkins said this isn't the first time a film crew has used either the outside or inside of the Polk County Courthouse, but it's exciting nonetheless.

"It's something new for me," he said. "I will be curious to see the movie, if it is something I'm able to see."