The filming of a movie about the life and times of the notorious Annie Cook will not begin this fall, co-producer Jon Robinson said recently. Robinson said the final piece of the financial funding from an investment company is yet to fall in place, so he and co-producer Robert Manciero have decided to wait until spring to start shooting.
Nevertheless, casting will begin this fall, and “rather prominent actors have expressed serious interest” in leading roles, he said.
“I should have more information on that, and the title of the film, within a month,” Robinson told the Bulletin.
The screenplay is already written.
The film will show the events in the book Evil Obsession by Nellie Snyder Yost, written in 1991.
Yost died a year later, but book sales remain steady more than 20 years later.
The powerful story of good and evil captured Robinson’ attention.
“It is a very compelling human experience in which people were harmed terribly,” he said. “It is a story of an organized crime operation that was well in place even before prohibition.”
The criminal underworld perfected many practices in the early 1900s in places such as North Platte, rather than the big cities of Chicago or New York, Robinson said.
But the title “Evil Obsession” was not Yost’s preferred choice, Robinson said. She planned to call it “Dark Harvest,” but couldn’t because that title was taken by the time the book was ready to print. The publisher suggested Evil Obsession and that’s what it became.
Robinson said most of the filming will take place in North Platte and the surrounding area.
“Our intent has always been to film as much as we could on location in Lincoln County,” he said. “People have been wonderfully cooperative about locations and automobiles.”
Some downtown street scenes might have to be shot in Ogallala or another town nearby, because the sidewalk awnings on Dewey St. are not authentic to the 1920s and 30s. The awnings were put up in the early 1970s after many downtown buildings had been demolished in an urban renewal project. The awnings protect the sidewalks from hot sun, snow and rain.
Robinson expects filming to begin in April.
Meanwhile, a North Platte cemetery tour on Sept. 20-21 will feature many of the characters from the book. The tour will be held during Rail Fest.
This report was first published in the Sept. 4 print edition of the North Platte Bulletin.