Bluffs dental sanatorium become once an Alexander Payne film set


One day in 1995, two guys drove by way of the dental places of work of Higginbotham and Ronk, 200 S. 29th St., then turned around and got here lower back. It wasn’t patients who found out they wanted a checkup. It was actor/director Alexander Payne and his region manager scouting for a place to film a few scenes for their Independent Pictures film, “Citizen Ruth,” and that the concept the clinic might be an amazing vicinity, stated Bradley Higginbotham, who owns the power and practices with Richard Ronk.


“It was the type of a as soon as-in-a-lifetime element, I guess,” he said. At the start, called “The Devil Inside,” the movie turned into Alexander Payne’s directing debut and gained Laura Dern a Best Actress Award at the 1996 Montreal International Film Festival. According to the IMDb internet site, it also gained producers Cary Woods and Cathy Konrad a High Hopes Award on the Munich Film Festival and Payne and Jim Taylor a percentage of the Best Screenplay award on the Thessaloniki Film Festival.

Dern starred as Ruth Stoops, a drug addict with an unplanned pregnancy who suddenly unearths herself being pulled from each guideline with the aid of pro-choice and anti-abortion activists who need her to be their fulfillment story. The dental office represented an abortion health center. Several of the solid participants have been widely recognized, Higginbotham said. “Laura Dern had simply been in ‘Jurassic Park,’ Tippi Hedren I knew from ‘The Birds,’ the Alfred Hitchcock movie, and Kelly Preston have been in several movies,” he said.

Other forged individuals covered Swoosie Kurtz, Mary Kay Place, M.C. Gainey, Kurtwood Smith, Kenneth Mars, David Graf, and Kathleen Noone. The film additionally starred Burt Reynolds, but he by no means came to Council Bluffs, Higginbotham stated. (Incidentally, Payne and Kurtz had been born in Omaha, keeping with the IMDb internet site.) “They were all very high-quality people,” he stated. “Laura Dern become very polite.”

“Initially, they desired to apply the constructing for three days, and we might be closed for 3 days,” he stated. “Actually, they have been right here 8 days, and we have been right here running.” On the first day, the clinic turned into closed, and Higginbotham’s kids — Abbey, then thirteen; Nate, 12; and Alex, 7 — had been there watching, he stated. Ronk’s children, Eric and Alison, then 14 and 13, respectively, were also there.

“We have been here, and the children, who were in junior excessive then, requested if they may meet Jeff Goldblum (who became traveling the solid),” he said. “So we walked over there, and a security character stepped among us and said (Goldblum) had to speak to Miss Dern. The security man was new, and he turned into about my length, and Jeff Goldblum is a tall man — he’s probably 6-toes, 6-inches — and he reached over (the shield’s) head and started out shaking arms with the children. And the safety guy said, ‘I bet it’s now not that huge a deal.’”

The crew took pictures of the basement, a toilet, and the exterior, Higginbotham said. “(Dern) had been in a toilet and turned into going out the window, so that they confirmed her going out the window,” he stated. Some different celebrities stopped with the aid of to go to, along with John Travolta, Preston’s husband, Higginbotham said. “The day John Travolta changed into right here, any person came back from out front and stated John Travolta became here,” he said. “My assistant wanted to go out and meet him, and I started OK — and my patient stated ‘well, I’d like to meet him, too,’ so they all began out, and his safety human beings stopped them.

I wager he and Kelly Preston hadn’t visible every other for some time, and they had been getting as a substitute affectionate in our ready room.” One day in 1995, two men drove with the aid of the dental offices of Higginbotham and Ronk, 200 S. 29th St., then turned around and got here again. It wasn’t two sufferers who realized they wanted a checkup. It turned into actor/director Alexander Payne and his region supervisor scouting for an area to film some scenes for their Independent Pictures movie, “Citizen Ruth,” and that the notion the health center might be an excellent vicinity, said Bradley Higginbotham, who owns the ability and practices with Richard Ronk.