PLAINVIEW, Neb. — There's an identity crisis going on in some small northeast Nebraska communities.
Plainview, in particular, has several new signs that have given several widely known businesses an entirely new identity.
For example, Keystone Bar has a sign outside inviting patrons in for a drink at Sodbusters, while Fat's Lounge now has a flashing sign that reads “Blinker Tavern.”
The large red sign that used to read “Plainview News” on a downtown building now says “The Hawthorne Republican.” And the community's municipal building welcomes passers-by to Hawthorne instead of Plainview.
All of these changes are temporary, and all are related to the new Alexander Payne movie “Nebraska” being filmed this fall in Plainview and area towns. The movie takes place partly in the fictional Nebraska town of Hawthorne, and several northeast Nebraska locations are being used to depict the setting.
Kris Love, co-owner of Love Signs in Norfolk, said her business has helped with many of the cosmetic changes being made to buildings to foster the movie magic.
Besides helping the “Nebraska” crew with the changes in Plainview, Love Signs representatives have traveled to several other communities for sign changes and installation, Love said.
“We did a sign face for outside of Pierce on the One-Stop (gas station) just outside of town. (Last week), our guys went to Tilden and replaced a sign face in the Subs & Suds business, and they changed it to a steakhouse name, and they also put up a light pole,” she said.
Love said she was first approached by “Nebraska” crew members in early September and, after she submitted a bid, she has seen them almost daily and sometimes several times a day.
“One night, on a Monday at 5 p.m, they came out and needed a face for a tombstone that was forgotten ... and had to be at the cemetery at 7 the next morning.
It's been a lot of last-minute changes, but they're awesome people, and they've become more like friends than anything,” Love said.
She said the “Nebraska” crew has its own electrician and artist, so much of the work Love Signs has done has been furnishing text mask, tracking down supplies and doing installation work.
But the extra jobs have definitely been enough to keep her own employees on the move, Love said.
“We are extremely busy. We've pushed a lot of (the “Nebraska” crew's) stuff through that my guys are probably frowning at me for. But they realize (the film crew) doesn't have an option — they need stuff when they need it We have probably never been busier than we are right now,” Love said.
But all of the hard work being done at Love Signs is not going unnoticed, she said.
“(The crew) has been really easy to work with, and they've been really appreciative,” Love said.
When all of the craziness of filming ends — and after Love Signs returns Plainview businesses to their rightful names — and “Nebraska” hits theaters, Love said she's looking forward to seeing how the settings in the movie look on the big screen.
“I'm anxious to see the movie. Probably the biggest thing I keep saying is the movie is in black and white; they're doing all of this stuff that there's all of these details to, and it's a black-and-white movie. I can't wait to see how it turns out,” Love said.