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Archive for Friday, January 3, 2003

New film uses campus stand-in

January 3, 2003

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Now showing: "About Schmidt," a movie starring the University of Nebraska pretending to be Kansas University.

In the film, which opens today in Lawrence, Jack Nicholson plays a KU alumnus making a journey from Omaha to Denver to stop his daughter's wedding. Nicholson's character, Warren Schmidt, stops at the KU campus on his trip.

But don't expect to see the Campanile, Allen Fieldhouse or Jayhawk Boulevard -- the scenes set at KU actually were filmed at the University of Nebraska.

That came as a disappointment to some KU officials, who were hopeful the university would make the final cut, especially after a camera crew shot scenes on campus last year.

"They said they were going to sprinkle KU merchandise throughout the movie," said Paul Vander Tuig, KU's trademark and licensing administrator. "They never made any promises (about the scenes shot at KU). They sometimes ask for the world but don't use it. It wasn't a great surprise to me."

The film was written and directed by Alexander Payne, a native of Omaha, Neb., who chose to film campus scenes in Lincoln.

The original plans called for at least one outdoor scene on the KU campus. Crews spent a day filming Schmidt's RV driving down Jayhawk Boulevard in June 2001.

Even though the KU campus didn't make the movie, plenty of KU merchandise did. Avery Pix, the production company, purchased more than $1,100 in KU T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats and pennants from the KU Bookstore. Extras walking on the "KU" campus are wearing the gear.


"I happen to be a Jack Nicholson fan," Vander Tuig said. "Normally he doesn't get into too many bad movies. I hope it's something KU people are proud of. I was tickled they wanted to buy the merchandise."

Janet Murguia, executive vice chancellor for university relations, said even though KU didn't make the movie, Nicholson -- a courtside staple at Los Angeles Lakers games -- still was welcome on campus.

"Even though we didn't have the opportunity to show off our lovely campus to Mr. Nicholson, we would love to have him visit us," she said. "We'll even throw in a couple of courtside seats at a Jayhawks basketball game for him."

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