When U-M theater grad Torrey Wigfield ran into Jason Segel at the corner of Liberty and Main in May, the movie star greeted him warmly. The two had met a few days earlier when Wigfield auditioned for Five Year Engagement, a movie starring Segel and Emily Blunt. “It was one of the better auditions I ever had,” says Wigfield. When he went in to try out for one role, director-writer Nick Stoller asked him to audition for three more characters–and improvise the lines. “He gave me so much freedom right off the bat!” says Wigfield. Though Wigfield’s speaking role is small, audiences will see more of him than they may expect: “They want me to go ‘bare butt’ on camera,” he says. “I am involved in a mooning onscreen, so that should be revealing and fun.”
The state has been luring film companies here with $100 million a year in tax credits, allowing Michigan actors to make it to the big screen without leaving home. Much of Five Year Engagement is being shot in and around Ann Arbor. In May, the legislature slashed the popular incentive program to $25 million, and Governor Snyder wants to eliminate it completely. Many in the entertainment business fear that by the time Engagement comes out in 2012, the cameras will have rolled out of town for good.