The Making of Tom Cruise's Barry Seal thriller 'Mena' | Rock Candy

The Making of Tom Cruise's Barry Seal thriller 'Mena'

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We reported in January that Tom Cruise had signed on to the forthcoming film "Mena," about legendary Arkansas drug smuggler Barry Seal — a topic covered extensively by the Arkansas Times over the years. Directed by Doug Liman ("The Bourne Identity"), the project is currently filming in Colombia, though the crew spent most of the summer in Ball Ground, Ga., a small town about 50 miles north of Atlanta. A friend who lives nearby sent me the Facebook group "Cruisin' Ball Ground," on which you can track the city's community-wide obsession with Cruise's presence, and it's pretty fascinating. If you're wondering what the film will look like, it's full of candid photos of Cruise in character as Seal. It's probably more interesting, though, as a tragic, sometimes beautiful and often creepy portrait of a small town (population 1,433) who is deeply, deeply appreciative of Tom Cruise's attention, and who will obviously be permanently changed by the whole experience.

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