Celeb spotting in…. Ann Arbor?

Desperate to restart it’s economy, Michigan has been floundering around for the past few years trying to find something to replace the dying automotive and pharmaceutical industries that made the state what it was. The politicians’ solution? Siphon off parts of the film industry and plant it in Michigan — a variety of landscapes, bus loads of workers and inexpensive goods await any producer willing to set up camp in The Great Lakes State.

As an added incentive, Michigan is offering substantial rebates to any filmmaker ready to invest in the local economy, so much that the residents are virtually paying the expenses for the entire shoot. With a deal that they essentially can’t refuse, Hollywood studios are flocking to the shores of Lake Michigan, sand dunes of Traverse City and quaint streets of Ann Arbor to shoot films, surprising residents with closed streets, car chases and celebrities wandering through their bars and restaurants.

Just last month I ran into actor Jonathan B. Wright on a flight to New York, who is in the process of filming Youth in Revolt with Ray Liotta and Michael Cera (think Superbad) in downtown Ann Arbor. he told me that over forty films were scheduled to shoot in Michigan this summer. Drew Barrymore apparently just bought a house near the city while Madonna is currently runnning around at the Traverse City Film Fest.

So next time you want to head out on a celebrity spotting mission, scrap your plans for Mulholland drive and Santa Monica. Book a ticket to Detroit instead and hit the bars in Royal Oak and Ann Arbor friday and saturday nights — you’re sure to run into someone famous in no time.