Spotlight On…Jeanne Keyser ’87
If you go to see the new movie Public Enemies starring Johnny Depp and Christian Bale sometime in 2009, you’ll have to keep an eye out for two vintage automobiles owned by Jeanne Keyser ’87 and her husband Steve.
The Holmen couple has two automobiles featured in the film—a blue 1933 Oldsmobile with dual side mount tires, and a black 1932 Nash, also with dual side mount tires.
Public Enemies is a crime drama directed by Michael Mann and is set during the Great Depression. The story focuses on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) attempt to stop criminals John Dillinger (played by Depp), Baby Face Nelson (played by Stephen Graham), and Pretty Boy Floyd (played by Channing Tatum). Christian Bale plays FBI agent Melvin Purvis. Much of the filming takes place in Wisconsin, including Columbus, Oshkosh, and Madison, as well as in Chicago.
Steve and Jeanne love cars and have a collection of six classic automobiles: a 1905 Model F Cadillac, a 1926 Model T, a 1939 Graham Sharknose, and a 1954 Ford Crestline Skyliner, along with the two cars featured in the film. When Universal Studios chose to film the movie in Wisconsin, the Keysers were contacted by the Nash Club of America to submit photos of their cars for possible use in the film. Only a few hours after emailing their photos, they received a call from Universal Studios asking if they could use two of their cars, and if Jeanne and Steve would consider being extras in the movie.
Jeanne had the opportunity to meet Johnny Depp on the set of the movie when one day he got out of his car next to where she was standing. When she asked if she could shake his hand, she recalled that “he came right over to me and we spoke for a few moments before he was needed on the set. He is a very personable man and besides that, he has beautiful eyes!” She also recalled watching him on the set during a very cold morning of filming, when he kept checking on an extra who was supposed to be playing a homeless person on the sidewalk. Depp kept reminding the man to move around during breaks to keep warm. “There were always several people around Johnny during breaks and he could have had any one of those people go and check on this guy, but Johnny walked over himself. That is just the kind of down to earth guy he is.”
The Keysers are anxiously awaiting the release of the movie, although a release date is currently unknown. In the meantime, they enjoy an occasional cruise in one of their “classics.” You can witness the Keysers on one such cruise in the film—just watch for the car driving opposite the getaway car after Dillinger and his gang rob the bank in Greencastle, Ind., which was filmed in Columbus.