Regatta fans get sneak preview of
‘Madison’ hydroplane movie

Director says film should be
released by early next year

Don Ward

(August 2001) Madison, In – For many in the Madison area, keeping up with news on the hydroplane movie “Madison” since its filming here in summer 1999 has been an ongoing hobby of sorts.

Bill Bindley

Bill Bindley

Most news has come in bits and pieces from those in Hollywood who have maintained ties with their acquaintances back in Madison. Meanwhile, the rumor mill in many cases has generated more questions than answers.
But with the Belterra Casino Madison Regatta coming to town last month, “Madison” director and co-producer Bill Bindley decided it was time to return to Madison to assure folks that work is still progressing on getting the final version of the movie completed and sold to a distributor. In fact, with two companies now interested in the film, Bindley predicted the movie could hit theaters as early as next spring.
“People who are not familiar with the movie industry do not understand the long time period that occurs between the shooting of a movie and its actual release. But this is normal in the business,” said Bindley, 39, an Indianapolis native and Northwestern University graduate.
“It’s exciting for me to be back in Madison at the Regatta,” he said. “When we were here filming the movie, I couldn’t enjoy it because I was under a lot of stress. But this is very relaxing.”
Bindley greeted visitors early Saturday morning, July 8, during the Madison Regatta as they were welcomed into a Vaughn Drive tent to sit and watch a 13-minute “trailer,” or preview. Bindley also had with him a 94-minute cut of the movie that included narration by pop singer and Seymour native John Mellencamp.
Bindley said the soundtrack that will appear on the final movie release had not been completed.
Though he could not give the names of the two interested companies, Bindley said one large, well-known company wanted to release the film regionally, while a smaller company that was recently created by a former Disney Co. executive was interested in a nationwide release.
At press time, no decision had been announced, however, Bindley said he was “more than 50 percent sure” the film would be out next year. He has been working with local officials, including Tony Steinhardt,” who served as an advisor and extra in the film, on a plan to preview the film in Madison prior to its release.
One option is to show the film at the Ohio Theatre on Main Street. Another more elaborate option being considered is to show the film on a large screen that would be set up on a floating barge at the Madison riverfront. This option would allow for more people to view the film in a festive and unique atmosphere, said Bindley, who co-wrote the script with his brother, Scott Bindley.
The movie is a fictionalized account of the late Jim McCormick’s 1971 victory in the community owned Miss Madison hydroplane while competing in the prestigious Gold Cup race, held in Madison that year. The story is told through the eyes of McCormick’s 8-year-old son, Michael, played by actor Jake Lloyd of Star Wars fame.
Actor Jim Caviezel (Thin Red Line) plays Jim McCormick. The main cast also includes Academy Award winner Bruce Dern, Paul Dooley and Mary McCormack.
“Everywhere I go, people always ask me about the movie,” said Michael McCormick, 40, who resides near Owensboro, Ky., and still races limited hydroplanes. He brought his crew to Madison in July to compete in the 5-litre competition. His boat, sponsored by RoundAbout Madison and piloted by Michigan’s Cal Phipps, finished second.
“Every time I watch it, I start tearing up,” McCormick said of the movie. “It brings back a lot of memories of my pop. It’s just great what they have done by making this movie.”
Several years ago, Bindley spent hours interviewing McCormick and his mother, Bonnie, to gain insights on the true story for writing the fictionalized script.
The film’s producers had hoped to release the movie this year. They earned accolades in February after previewing the movie at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. “We had 1,500 people in that theater standing and cheering at the end. It was great,” Bindley said.
The film also appeared at the Canne Film Festival in May and is scheduled to premier Oct. 18 at the annual Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis. The film is set for a 7 p.m. showing in the 1,700-seat Hilbert Circle Theater. Tickets are $10.
Bindley said when the time comes for the movie’s release, he hopes to get publicity on CNN and shows such as “Access Hollywood” and “Entertainment Tonight.”
Although a fall release had been considered, Bindley said Caviezel’s upcoming appearance in the movie, “The Count of Monte Cristo,” due out in theaters Oct. 12, has caused them to now shoot for a spring 2002 release.
“It’s not good for two movies with the same lead actor to come out at the same time,” Bindley explained. He added that “Madison” movie officials hope to bank on the success of “The Count” and on Caviezel’s rising star power to help promote their movie when it is released.
“Madison” was Bindley’s first attempt at directing and producing an independent film. He normally is hired by large studios to help direct, he said. He has worked on five such films. While big studio productions can run as high as $50 million to produce, “Madison” only cost $10 million to make, he said. Not counting extras, the film’s crew and cast involved about 300 people.
Recently, Bindley was been hired to work on a new film, a historical courtroom drama, to be shot in Europe. It is about two Italian immigrants, Sacco and Vanzetti, who were executed in Boston in 1927.

• The movie ‘Madison’ is scheduled to premiere Oct. 18 at the Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis. Tickets are $10. Call (812) 265-2956 or 1-800-559-2956 for information.

Back to August 2001 Articles.



Copyright 1999-2015, Kentuckiana Publishing, Inc.

Pick-Up Locations Subscribe Staff Advertise Contact Submit A Story Our Advertisers Columnists Archive Area Links Area Events Search our Site Home Monthly Articles Calendar of Events Kentucky Speedway Madison Chautauqua Madison Ribberfest Madison Regatta