Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

December 3, 2012

‘Parks and Rec’ meets real politics in Indiana shoot

INDIANAPOLIS — What do you do when a political celebrity shows up for impromptu lunch at a landmark restaurant where the cast and crew of NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” are shooting a scene?

You ask him if he wants in on the action and then, on the spot, you write up a cameo role.

That’s what happened Monday when former presidential candidate Newt Gingrich walked into St. Elmo’s Steak House in downtown Indianapolis as actor Rob Lowe and his male co-stars were filming a scene for an upcoming episode of the popular sitcom based in fictional Pawnee, Ind.

“This is wild,” actor Adam Scott said as Gingrich passed by on his way to makeup.

It’s Scott’s character, Ben Wyatt, who’s the reason Hollywood had taken over much of the iconic steakhouse: St. Elmo’s is the scene of Ben’s big bachelor party in Indianapolis, thrown by his steak-loving co-worker, Ron Swanson, and attended by some of the civil servants who populate Pawnee’s City Hall. (Ironically, Scott’s character has recently returned from a job on Capitol Hill.)

Gingrich had stopped by the restaurant, not knowing of the film shoot, on his way to an appointment with Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels.

“I think he’s one of the finest leaders in government today,” said Gingrich, who’s writing a book on leadership and said Daniels would be a part of it.

The Gingrich stop-by was proof to the “Parks and Recreation” cast and crew that Lowe – who has deep Indiana roots — knew what he was talking about when he told them St. Elmo’s was the place to be.

“Rob loves Indianapolis and he loves this place,” said the show’s producer, Morgan Sackett, who, along with his co-workers, labor to get the Indiana details just right.

That’s why Gingrich, the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, wasn’t the only politician who stopped by the restaurant during the shoot. So, too, did Brian Bosma, the speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives and an attorney who specializes in municipal law.

A year ago, Bosma got a call from somebody who said he was with NBC and wanted Bosma to consult with the “Parks and Recreation” writers to give them guidance on how state and local government works in Indiana.

“I thought it was some of my pals at the Statehouse playing a joke,” Bosma said.

It wasn’t. Bosma was indeed hired by NBC to offer advice for a story line involving the show’s star, Amy Poehler, who plays Leslie Knope, a Pawnee parks department staff member who runs for the Pawnee city council.

“I asked for a cameo role, but they turned me down,” said Bosma.

He did, though, get a chance to meet Lowe, who plays a character who was once a state auditor and now is the Pawnee city manager. Lowe’s father grew up in Anderson, and his grandparents lived in Madison County.

Lowe, who earned his star power playing a White House staff member on the TV series “West Wing,” said he signed on for “Parks and Recreation” in part because of its Indiana connection. The show offers a satirical look at government bureaucracy through the eyes of some earnest Hoosier civil servants.  

“My family is all from Indiana,” said Lowe, adding – with the golly-gee enthusiasm of his character Chris Traeger – that he recently discovered that his great-great-grandfather served as an Indiana volunteer in the Civil War.

“I have such affection for this state and for the way we portray its people on the show,” Lowe said. “It was one of the reasons why I was so attracted to the show. As a Midwesterner, I know how Hollywood really gets our part of the county wrong. I think this show really gets it right in a lot of ways. Obviously we do it with a lot of spoof and satire, but Pawnee, Indiana, comes across as an authentic place and a place of love.”

Speaking of love: following the St. Elmo shoot, the crew and cast were off to shoot another scene at Lucas Oil Stadium, so actor Chris Pratt, who plays Andy Dwyer on the show, could get full use of his Indianapolis Colts’ Andrew Luck jersey. That shoot was arranged by Lowe’s friend, Colts’ owner Jim Irsay.

The “Parks and Recreation” team had flown into town Sunday, just as the Colts were making a last-second touchdown to win a game over the Detroit Lions.  

“The whole plane erupted in cheers,” said Nick Offerman, who plays Ron Swanson. “We knew we were in the right place.”

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • KFD Rescue 2 Staffing changes leave Kokomo Fire Department with one rescue truck A shift in how the Kokomo Fire Department is staffed and responds to calls has some firefighters worried they will not have access to all the equipment they need. City officials, however, maintain there will be no change in the quality of service pro

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Kokomo Police officers reach out to public Tuesday Kokomo police will be out in full force Tuesday in area neighborhoods. In addition to their regular patrols, officers will be out getting to know residents and the issues they may have as part of National Night Out, a crime prevention event. National

    July 30, 2014

  • Feds cite Indiana Medicaid fraud unit over notices INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A federal agency found that the Indiana attorney general's office didn't give proper notice in nearly a quarter of the Medicaid fraud cases it helped prosecute in recent years. A report from the Department of Health and Human Serv

    July 30, 2014

  • Indianapolis man buys 2 $1M tickets in 3 months INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indianapolis man is celebrating his second $1 million Hoosier Lottery prize in the past three months. Lottery officials say Robert Hamilton won a $1 million prize from a scratch-off ticket he bought last week at a convenience s

    July 30, 2014

  • Frankfort teen dies after rescue from Indiana city pool FRANKFORT (AP) — Authorities say a 15-year-old boy pulled from a central Indiana city pool has died. Frankfort Mayor Chris McBarnes says Adrian Alanis died in an Indianapolis hospital on Tuesday, the day after he was rescued from the deep end of the

    July 30, 2014

  • Pence pushing Medicaid alternative during DC trip INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is heading to Washington to seek federal approval of his proposed state-run alternative to traditional Medicaid in order to expand health care coverage for low-income residents. The governor's office says P

    July 30, 2014

  • Two arrested in purse-, wallet-snatching spree

    Two people were arrested late last week in relation to a string of purse and wallet thefts from shopping carts in local department stores.

    July 30, 2014

  • YMCA front rendering NIPSCO donates $50K to YMCA campaign The Northern Indiana Public Service Company donated $50,000 Tuesday to the Kokomo Family YMCA’s Beyond the Bricks campaign to build a new Y in downtown Kokomo.“The Y is a great resource for the community, so we’re glad to help it grow and add to the

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fatal Truck+Car Accident03 Woman killed after vehicle collides with semi head-on A woman was killed Monday night after her vehicle collided with a semi truck in the northbound lanes of U.S. 31 near the junction with U.S. 931.Elizabeth Ann Jeffries, 41, Monticello, died after her car apparently left the road and entered oncoming,

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bldg Wall Collapse 01 KipCor purchases partially collapsed downtown building A building that has long been a part of downtown Kokomo’s landscape will remain intact, but undergo extensive demolition, after being purchased by a company that has been active in the city’s redevelopment efforts. The Barko building, also known as t

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries