UPDATE: Further information regarding the report was added as Jon Wagner, the movie’s line producer, returned our request for comment.
EATON — There was a lot of excitement when James Franco and his film crew visited downtown Eaton in mid-May to film part of his upcoming film, The Long Home.
Several people crowded the barricades set along Barron Street and several more waited long hours just to become extras in the movie.
But, much like Hollywood, even small town Ohio is not immune to a little silver screen controversy.
Jon Wagner, a line producer in the movie, filed an incident report with the Eaton Police Department on July 16 regarding the theft of wardrobe items by the film’s extras.
Franco’s company, reported as Francoshiz, Inc., rented their wardrobe from Los Angeles-based Western Costume Company and claimed, in total, an estimated $78,000 and 228 items were taken during the duration of the filming. Wagner projected around $48,000 worth of clothing was stolen from the shoot in Eaton.
Preble County supplied the filming with between 90-100 extras and it is thought that less than 150 items were taken from the set that day, said Eaton Police Chief Chad DePew. The clothing items are appraised at a high value, with prices ranging from $100 for belts and suspenders taken to $1,150 for a jacket that was stolen.
The high value stems from the “replacement” cost that the rental house places on the items – not just for replacement, but for lost rentals.
The amount Franco’s film company actually paid Western Wardrobe is much less after they negotiated the cost and the final amount paid was a fraction of the total originally stated, said Wagner.
“(The film company) basically needed a report for insurance purposes because they have already made restitution to the costume company,” said DePew.
Included in the police report, Wagner said that all individuals receiving items for the movie shoot were instructed to return them once their role was complete. Wagner also advised DePew that the company has already paid Western Costume Company for the missing items and no further action is being taken at this time.
Wagner confirmed that the report was just a formality and that loss and damaged equipment is commonplace on a film set.
“We need to file police reports for insurance claims, and unfortunately “theft” is the technical term, even though people perhaps walked off with clothes either accidentally, or in a very rare case on purpose, that’s what we have to report,” he said. “We in no way believe hopefully inadvertent actions of a few are indicative of the rest of the people we were happy to have part of the film.”
He also was adamant in stating that the film crew’s experience in Eaton was overwhelmingly positive and they wouldn’t hesitate to come back.
“We would shoot in Eaton again without a second thought. The amount of cooperation from the city, particularly Chief Depew and the police department and all of the people who welcomed us, is something that can’t be replicated and we’ll be happy to come back on another film,” he said.
There is no further action being taken by the company.