The Kansas Setting of “Looper”

The movie Looper, written and directed by Rian Johson and staring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, came out today.  It’s fantastic!  I really liked it, I will definitely go see it again and probably post about it again at least once, (maybe deciphering the ins-and-outs of the time travel), but–I do have a nit-picking criticism.  I almost feel like I should apologize for insisting on pointing out this flaw, because I really truly loved the movie otherwise, but this is probably the only negative thing I will say about it, and it is a topic that I am passionate about–the accurate portrayal of my beloved home state in film.

*Very insignificant and mild spoilers ahead*

Text overlaying an opening scene tells us that Looper is meant to take place in “Kansas, 2042.”  Wikipedia claims  the city that the main character lives and works in is Kansas City, which I don’t remember hearing specifically mentioned in the film, but I would agree it’s a likely hypothesis.  (It pretty much has to be Kansas City or Wichita).  You may remember from this post that I am proud to have been born and raised in Kansas, and still enjoy living here to date.  I’m always excited when people in Hollywood remember that my state exists, but I feel compelled to point out that what you saw in Looper was not an accurate representation of Kansas.

screenshot of city from the movie

Kansas City, 30 years from now? It’s possible.

I’m referring primarily to the stuff growing in all the fields that border roads and that several characters escape into at different points.  At first glance, I assumed it was corn.  That’s not what Kansas is primarily known for, it’s not what I think of when I picture the local farms, (wheat!  It’s endless fields of wheat!), but yeah, corn grows here.  (We produce more wheat, grain sorghum, cattle, and sunflowers than corn, as you can see in this official 2011 Kansas Agriculture report.)

The fields featured as a prominent backdrop in Looper.

However, upon closer inspection, it turns out the fields are sugar cane.  Emily Blunt’s character, Sarah, refers to “my cane fields” more than once, which is the main clue, but if you compare these screenshots I captured from the trailer with images of both corn and sugar cane, you can clearly see that they are the later.

Top: Sarah in front of her field in Looper, Middle: sugar cane field, Bottom: Corn field. Which does Sarah’s resemble?

It’s harder to tell in the close-ups, (top image is of young Joe in a field), but note the broader leaves on the corn (left) than sugar cane (right).

Notice how many of those stocks are leaning; according to LSU AgCenter, “Because of the heavy tonnage, the new variety [of sugar cane in Lousiana] has a tendency to fall down or lodge.”

So, it’s sugar cane.  The reason that is problematic is sugar cane does not grow in Kansas.  (See p. 21 of aforementioned recent Kansas Agriculture report.  Sugar Cane needs a warm, frost-free climate, and Kansas temperatures swing between extremes, over 100˚F in summer and below 0˚F in winter).  It is, however, grown in Louisiana, which makes sense considering that’s where most of the movie was filmed.  What doesn’t make sense is filming a movie in one state, prominently featuring crops that could not survive the climate of a second state, but then labeling the setting as the second state.  I know movies aren’t often filmed where they are actually supposed to take place, and I know those decisions are often based on what locations offer the best tax incentives, but I wonder how much of this kind of mistake is just laziness.

When Rian Johnson wrote this (excellent) script, why did he choose Kansas as the setting?  Was there a significance to it, or was it just a random Midwestern state?  The height of the crops (being tall enough that people could run and hide in them) seemed important since it was featured more than once–did Johnson realize that most of the crops in Kansas don’t match that description, or did he not actually research the area after he decided this story happened here?  Was Kansas even considered when they were scouting production locations?  Once they decided to film in Louisiana, with sugar cane fields, why not just change the setting?  (I suppose the expectation of regional accents might complicate that a little).

Look, I’m thrilled that Johnson chose to set his story in Kansas, and I feel like I can claim it in some way, the way that some Hutchinson residents feel like they can claim a special connection to Superman.  But it appears to me like there might have been other script changes made based on the location they ended up shooting, specifically the exchange between young Joe and Sarah, when he says she might as well burn her fields since they are dried up anyway, and she counters, “not gonna happen.”  I wonder if those lines were in the original script in that way, or if they were added on site based on how the fields happened to look while they were filming.  That leads me to another question, though–did the script originally call for Sarah to refer to her farmland as “cane fields”?

As I see it, there are a few possible explanations.  Firstly, perhaps Rian Johnson originally wrote the script with another type of crop or a non-specific crop in the fields, and they changed it or specified to “cane fields” when they ended up shooting in Louisiana.  Perhaps he just didn’t do any research on what Kansas is actually like, and based the imagery for his story on an amalgamation of rural America informed by geographically scattered references.  Perhaps, perhaps, Johnson knew that sugar cane cannot grow in Kansas’ current climate, and the inclusion of it in this futuristic Kansas setting indicated that significant climate change was another thing to set the 2042 world apart from our present one, along with limited telekinesis, hovercraft technology, and of course time travel.

I did think Sarah’s automated crop duster was pretty cool. I assume it’s spraying pesticides, that makes more sense than fertilizer or irrigation in this case I think.

You might think it’s unreasonable for me to spend so much time and energy harping on a seemingly small detail like what kind of crops are in a fictitious movie.  Believe me, I’m very aware that I’m nit-picking, but hear me out on two things–First, farming is some people’s entire life, many people that I know personally, and we all benefit from it.  I can’t count how many times I’ve driven past the billboard that reminds, “One Kansas Farmer Feeds More Than 128 People + You!”  I didn’t grow up on a farm and the incorrectness of the crops still jumped out at me on the first viewing.  I just think making an effort to portray Kansas’ agricultural landscape accurately would be more respectful of the people who spend their lives putting food in your grocery stores and restaurants.

Second, I know it is a fictitious story, but if you’re going to set your story in a real place, why don’t you research that place and make it an accurate portrayal?  The internet makes this ridiculously simple to do.  Like, I didn’t know that much about growing sugar cane when I sat down to type this post, and now I know all the interesting things in this article, and how it was introduced to the South, and I’ll definitely be able to spot it right away without a google-image comparison next time I see it.  That education took less than an hour.  There’s really no excuse to make a major mistake like featuring a plant that doesn’t exist in your supposed setting!

Okay, having concluded my factual and reason-based rant, I have to reiterate once again how much I overall really, really loved Looper.  I mean, I won’t be able to help noticing the out-of-place sugar canes every time I watch it, but they really aren’t very important to the story itself.  The story could have taken place anywhere, as far as I’m concerned, which is part of the reason why I’m still so confused as to why they didn’t just change the setting to suit the footage better.  What special connotations or meaning does setting a story in Kansas have to the general public?  Or is it really that people who don’t live in the “fly-over states” can’t tell them apart?  It’s *possible* that the inclusion of sugar cane was intentional, to hint at the climate change I theorized about earlier, but it requires assuming that everyone knows enough about agriculture to pick up on that.  I have too deep a mistrust of movie accuracy, (based on too long a history of blunders, particularly when it comes to Kansas), to believe this was not a mistake without more definitive evidence.

You know, this is actually not the first film with a Kansas setting to star Joseph Gordon-Levitt!  A few years back I netflixed The Lookout, and as I recall it’s also a really good flick.  I didn’t take notes at the time, but my memory is that it looked, for the most part, very much like Kansas, (especially the highway scenes), but the dialogue made clunky over-reference to the fact that that was the setting.  It’s not natural to refer to an everyday given, like the name of your state, so often and so obviously in conversation.  I’ll have to re-watch it to get specific quotes.

Oh, and one more thing about Kansas and Looper–Joe’s safe combination is “6742.”  Those are the first four digits of a handful of ZIP codes in Kansas, so was that an allusion to the fact that Joe’s character was originally from one of the small towns with a 6742- address?  If so, that would be really cool, but it would also indicate that somebody did do some Kansas research, so then why the inaccuracy of the sugar canes?  Unless the “climate change” theory is right, but if that were the case I think they would have mentioned it more explicitly.

Still a great movie!

**update** Saw the movie again last night and noticed several little futuristic things that were not explicitly mentioned, like solar panels on the roof of the farmhouse and on the hoods of several cars, and a tube connecting the exhaust pipe and gas tanks of cars like they had some way to re-use the fuel.  So, it’s possible that the sugar canes growing in “Kansas” were supposed to be another unspoken piece of this futuristic setting, (although I’m still not sure whether people who don’t live around here would pick up on it, and I’m not wholly convinced, without some sort of indication to the contrary, that this isn’t just another example of Hollywood getting Kansas wrong).  If it’s on purpose, that has to mean, as I said, extreme climate change.  And another question would be, who’s growing the food?  What are people eating?  Or is a lack of food one of the reasons there’s so much cavalier violence and so many vagrants?

If the sugar canes are intentional, I think it might make a case for the unnamed “city” to be Wichita rather than Kansas City.  It’s further south, so the climate would be a little warmer and less likely to frost, (deadly to sugar cane).  Also, if we go with the theory that Joe’s safe combination is a partial zip code, the small towns that it could refer to (Beloit, Bennington, Beverly, Brookville, Bushton, or Canton) are all either west (or just barely east) of highway 135, which could be followed south straight to Wichita.  The safe combination could be a reminder of some happy memory, of one of the places Joe and his mom stayed before she gave him up, or maybe the last place they were together.  Fun fact–Canton, KS has two water towers humorously labeled “hot” and “cold”; that might be something a kid would remember!  Wichita might also fit better with the story in the film, since it is more immediately surrounded by farmland whereas Kansas City is surrounded in suburbs.  (But it could be they just never showed Joe driving through neighborhoods to get to his designated kill spot.)

I’m curious what other people think: is the sugar cane in Looper a mistake, or was it intentional?

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44 Comments

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44 responses to “The Kansas Setting of “Looper”

  1. Alex h

    JGL was also in Mysterious Skin which was based and partially filmed in Hutchinson. It’s a real feel good movie.

  2. Sheila

    Thank you for this awesome post! I was freaking out about the sugar cane reference too! I still don’t know why the film was set in Kansas other than the reason you give…it was originally written that way and then filmed elsewhere. Still, why set it in Kansas and tell the audience that if Kansas isn’t relevant to the story? Or is it? This calls for a second viewing. LOL!

  3. JG

    The setting strongly implies a world impacted by climate change. Inland cities would become more populated as coastal cities become uninhabitable and the warmer interior more suited to tropic/subtropical crops like sugar cane.

    • I didn’t think it “strongly implied” anything about climate change, coastal cities or population growth. There was no indication as to the population size of the city other than a shot of skyscrapers, which exist in present-day Kansas City. If the sugar cane growing in “Kansas” was supposed to be an indication of extreme climate change occurring in the next 30 years, they should have at least mentioned it once. 30 years is only about one generation; for farmers to be growing something completely different from their parents on their family farms would be significant.

  4. Here’s a review with its own assumption about the significance of the crops: “Sarah (Emily Blunt) harvests sugar cane where corn once grew, so we’re living off sugar ethanol in the future”. I don’t see how that inference is actually presented in the film, either. It’s just another theory to add.
    http://cinesnark.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/looper-is-a-striking-film-flawless-story/

  5. Alex

    Also, what was up with some of the characters having southern accents?

  6. descalzo

    Yeah, it was definitely sugar cane, and they called it that several times. I really don’t think it’s a big deal. We don’t have telekinesis or time travel in Kansas right now either.

  7. Pingback: Looper | Digest Movies

  8. j

    I live in Brooklyn, NY which is not exactly farm country. After seeing the movie, I figured it was either KC or Wichita and also figured climate change was responsible for the change in agriculture. ~30 years seems pretty quick for winter temps in the Midwest to rise that significantly, but who knows.
    Agree that it is a really good movie.

  9. Rebecca Danis

    I think the sugar cane gaff is due to poor research and not climate control. It was really distracting for me and my mom. My mom grew up in Mississippi and her family grew sugar cane. According to her, sugar cane has very few insect pests. The main danger to sugar cane is rats and they would not be controlled by insectisides, so maybe the robot crop duster is fertilizer. Also if it was climate change, which I thought about as well, the evenings would have been warm as well and JGL would not have been wearing the big leather coat. And what was up with all that pointless gratuitous wood chopping by Emily Blunt?
    Another big inaccuracy is that one person, male or female could not run a farm that size by themselves.
    And back to the wood chooping: farm people are practical and they wouldn’t waste their precious energy on chopping into a stump for no good reason. They would need to use all their muscle to run their farm. The stump might be on the property, but it would be left alone. Also she would have been wearing work gloves and not getting blisters on hands that needed to be in good shape to run that huge farm. They really needed an agricultural/farming consultant while shooting this film. But then again farmers are dumb hicks and what do they know about anything? 🙂

    • I actually liked that Emily Blunt’s character kept chopping at that stump; I don’t think it was meant to be practical, it was just how she was venting frustration, and maybe punishing herself for having abandoned Cid. But good point about the jacket at night.

      • Rebecca Danis

        Well, it was distracting for me because I have a large yard with big trees and fruit trees and lots of plants and I have to do all the yard work by myself, and I get panicked about it, especially during fall time. There’s always something to be done. Things get pretty messy, and I have to be very careful about how I choose to spend my time in the yard. Even with paying attention to only the top priority stuff in the yard, things barely get done and I work my butt off and during fall, everything that does not have to do with raking leaves goes by the wayside and I could not imagine doing anything that was frivolous like chopping at a stump for no reason; (She could angrily do yard work like I do sometime :)and her farm was/is much larger than my yard. I got panicked just looking at it and knowing all the work it would entail. If it would have been me, I would have been using all those drifters to help with the work. She did look hot though. I think the director must have a thing for women chopping wood. Sorta like Quentin Tarantino has a thing for feet, as evidenced by all those foot shots in “Kill Bill”.

        At any rate, I will be going to see the film again though, because I really did like it. and thanks for the comment/observation about the TK 🙂

  10. Rebecca Danis

    Also if there was telekinesis like lifting a lighter in the air and away from your hands, why wasn’t JGL’s friend able to lift those knives away from his body? Don’t get me wrong I loved the movie and I love all time travel movies and I love Bruce Willis and I love Joseph Gordon Levitt, but in order to do good science fiction, most of the story has to be good science fact and maybe the sugar cane was an extrapolation of global warming, but because they had just one isolated person running a cane field (and who was watching the child when she was doing so?) I think they didn’t pay enough attention to the corroborating background of the story. Also that house was pretty large and keeping that house cleaned and childcare and making food etc would’ve been an all day job for anyone, but hey its the future like the Jetsons and I guess we just caught up with the household on Rosie’s day off. It would have been more believable to have set the scene in Louisiana and have the people just lose their accent over time. I know from visiting Mississippi, you don’t find people with really thick accents anymore (like my really old relatives from tiny towns there). Accents are getting homogenized even now.

    • I think the telekinetic powers were not very strong for most people; Joe’s friend Seth couldn’t do more than levitate a quarter a few inches, and when Joe saw Sara lifting the lighter he was surprised and impressed by how much more power she had than most people. She must have a stronger form of the mutation, which was magnified in her son even more.

  11. MyName

    I think it was intended to show climate change but was poorly researched because, yes you could have the temp rise enough that it may not freeze the crop, you can even grow cotton in SE Kansas, but there wouldn’t be enough moisture to sustain it.

    They should have done a location with corn instead though the farmhouse they shot at was very good.

  12. Dschian

    A couple of aspects of the film suggest to me that the presence of sugar cane was either intentional or plausible given the world of the film. First, it presents a dystopian view of America’s near-future, in which our economic inequity appears to have substantially grown- a deepening of current trends. Implying extensive climate change would fit right in with this milieu of disruption. Second, despite some exposition at the beginning and later in the film, relatively little is spelled out overall- eg, the Kansas city is not actually named; the poverty is not expounded on in an expositional way, though in a passing manner it’s frequently referenced; Abe doesn’t spell out the reasons for China rather than France to Joe, even though he wants to persuade him to go there and his implication is obvious enough; Older Joe won’t delve deeply into time travel; and Sara doesn’t provide any spiel about how or what she knows about loopers. Ambiguity is part of the narrative foundation of the film. Given that, and the fact that rapid climate change suggests disruption in the natural order of things but wouldn’t seem to be as evocative of the need and greed driving the film’s darker characters, it seems unlikely that it would be spelled out, even though it does add to the narrative/emotional tone of the film.

    And why leather jackets at night? Because as is suggested, Young Joe is a retro-hipster, and unless it’s close to a hundred degrees one will probably choose style first.

    As for enough Kansas having enough moisture for growing cane, climate change is not only necessarily temperature change. If a cascading effect occurs for global climates change(s) MUCH will (unfortunately) be possible, perhaps somewhat sooner than we expect- and ancient climate traces (eg, redwood tree ring records) suggest that it could abruptly shift faster than one would expect.

    • Rebecca Danis

      Spoiler warning: I agree with your post, however, it still does not explain why or how (except for the flimsy robotic crop fertilizer) Emily can run that farm all by herself and why she is wasting precious energy on non productive wood chopping (on a farm, all activity is productive); and also why she would ruin her hands and not use gloves. As far as Joe’s leather coat, I think you might be right about the heat factor. Awhile back (late 80s) I had a boyfriend who had just gotten a black leather motorcycle jacket and we were dancing in a club and it was very hot and he had it all zipped up and refused to take it off and he was dripping sweat and I tried to get him to take it off and he wouldn’t for fashion’s sake, but unlike Joe, he was dripping sweat and obviously hyperthermic. Also, I think Joe had/has/will have a bit more common sense. Like in the movie, it is now 30 years in the future and I think my ex is still a moronic doofus 🙂 But then again Joe in the future has become moronic, maybe due to his pain of losing his wife, because it would have been very easy to figure out that the way out of the loop would be by not trying to kill the kid. Young Joe could’ve shacked up with the impractical wood chopping mom and helped run the farm and they could have all lived happily ever after. I think they have deliberately left options open, so hopefully there will be a sequel (s); which I’m excitedly anticipating…

    • this is a well thought out response, thank you.

  13. Kansasfarmhand

    I imagine that it is a largely automated farming system. Which is something I have been working on..

    So the year this movie takes place is 2042 and they have programmable crop dusting drones I figure it wouldn’t be that difficult to imagine that most of farming is letting the machines do their job and protecting your property and crop from vagrants.

    Hell with the increased emphasis on urban information and technology based jobs in the world we might need fulyl automated farms soon.

    That crop duster drown looks like a larger XM156 Class I UAV (Looks like flying keg) that DARPA funded.

  14. Canefarmer

    Hi, saw this film last night and thoroughly enjoyed it, so much so that some googling got me to this site!

    To me it was intended to paint a fairly bleak future, one where we have failed to address global warming and our developing socio-economic woes. I grew up on a sugar cane farm in Queensland, Australia so I found the use of the canefieds in Kansas really interesting. My (limited) understanding of the sugar industry in the US is that it is centred in the warm and moist southern states of Louisianna and Florida (as well as Hawaii) based on climate suitability (which have a similar climate to here in Queensland).

    I am certain that the use of canefields in Kansas is deliberate and is designed to reflect a world where current problems are worse in the future, and the writer had in mind:
    – rapid climate change creates conditions where sugar cane can even grow in Kansas; and
    – the use of valuable food producing crop lands are replaced by other crops to produce fuels such as ethanol from sugar cane to combat oil supply shortages (hence, in part, the references to food shortages/affordability and the ageing/retrofitted vehicles).

    Great topic, enjoying these posts!

    • Thank you, I am really enjoying the discussion here as well!

      • Rebecca Danis

        Hi, I commented earlier about the cane farm and the unbelievability that Emily Blunt’s character Sara could run that whole farm by herself and still have time to gratuitously chop at a stump. Well, I do buy into the premise of global warming (despite Joes leather coat) and the possibility, postulated by another poster, that the farm was automated, and given that, I would just like to comment that super automation of things without reduced population growth only worsens things for most people because it cuts out lots of jobs and then there are more people on public assistance or starving (in areas w/o public assistance/ as evidenced by the scene of all the poor people living in their cars), so as a capital holder with the farm, instead of trying to shoot hungry homeless drifters, I think Sara should have been a little less “Republican” and somewhat de automate and hire some of those hungry people to work on the farm and sleep in the barn like Joe did. From the standpoint of that time, Sara as a landowner is actually very rich and should do something to help those less fortunate, especially given that she had been there herself. And there had to be somewhat of a middle class, which you really didn’t see in the film, because who was coming to the strip clubs and spending money there? Surely not those people living in their cars. At any rate, it just made me think of the book “Player Piano” by Kurt Vonnegut about a dystopian future that was a result of mass automation/mechanization without commiserate population reduction, resulting in a large population of jobless poor. The more I think about it, the Sara character reminds me of a pretty young sex changed Mitt Romney, with about the same level of connection to reality and the majority of real people’s lives (eg using ERs as primary health care centers) Sara is pretty and a very good protective mother, but she is too insular and separated to be an altogether sympathetic character to this Looper movie she is in. Almost like she is the mom Wendy at the Overlook hotel in The Shining, and Cid is Danny, and the crazed outside world they are fighting against (Homeless drifters, older Joe, and at first younger Joe) takes the place of Jack Torrance.

  15. kreg37

    I thought the depiction of Kansas 30 years from now was relatively accurate and certainly looked less stereotypically desolate than what I’m used to seeing from Hollywood. In my opinion, the whole sugar can debate can be put to rest simply because of climate change and technological advances in farming. Even without extreme climate change, sugar cane could be grown in a shorter period of time thanks to genetic engineering and hi-tech fertilizer. If it’s being used as fuel (as it might be in Sara’s modified truck), then there certainly would be a financial incentive to grow it.

    What I don’t understand is how Kansas City gets so large AND so decrepit in the span of only 30 years. I could see it being big OR decrepit, but it makes no sense that the city would somehow grow so much (through economic prosperity), and then experience enough of a depression to fall so far. That’s just not a lot of time. Maybe it can be attributed to advances in construction and exponential population growth (Kansans do to tend to start families younger).

    I can only assume it’s Kansas City because there’s no way Wichita would experience that sort of growth. I would have really liked it if they had thrown Kansas City a bone and maybe showed a futuristic Plaza or something. The police cars could have said KCPD. It would have grounded the story a bit for me. I did see the current Kansas license plate a couple times, but that’s about it…

    • Rebecca Danis

      Good points kreg37! Although from my experience living in SF through the dot com financial boom and eventual crash, maybe something like that could have happened except on a little larger scale. Lots of big buildings going up and then the crash, but it makes you wonder, who is working in those large buildings? Are they the people who are living in their cars? Well anythings possible. When I was a kid in the 70’s no one would have ever thought that you would see people working in banks dressed in t shirts and khakis (as if that’s better than jeans). So maybe all those tore back individuals living in their cars did have jobs and worked in those large buildings and they just came to work unshowered and smelly in whatever clothes they had. Oh Brave New World that has such people in it….

      At any rate, the film might probably end up being pretty accurate. There was a ’79 film with John Ritter in it called Americathon set in the near future (eg now), and in it people were living in their cars, (which would have been unthinkable then, at least most places) and everyone wore jog suits and the US was owned by the American Indians and the country had to have a telethon to buy itself back. If you replace American Indians with Chinese (which is also alluded to in Looper), then you have a pretty accurate portrayal of the present/near future. And by the way for you young’uns, there was no homeless people til Reagan got in office and implemented his “supply side”/ “trickle down”(not) economics. Also one of the first things he did was close all the federally funded mental institutions and thereby created the first wave of homeless people. Up until that point, there were poor people on skid row, but they all had little studio apt rooms in buildings w/ a bathroom down the hall. I know this because I am a thrift store shopping fiend and thrift stores used to be located in only the seedy parts of town and when I was in high school, (the 70s) and going to the thrift stores, I never got hit up for change or saw anyone homeless either in the east bay town I grew up in or San Francisco. Also, I lived in NYC for about 1 yr (82-83) and there was not yet pervasive homelessness. There was a little bit there, but nothing like you see everywhere now. Ronald Reagan’s regime started the downfall of middle American society. Before then the top richest 1% were only taking 40% of the country’s income. After Reagan, they were able to take up to 70% and now its about 90%. And if Romney gets in, I guess that’ll be the last 10%. So maybe that is what happened to the town in the future. One good president like Clinton and then someone like Dubya and the bottom falls out of the whole Shebang because all the money is going to Halliburton supposedly to protect our freedom

  16. Sharon

    If this is suppose to be Kansas, it’s Wichita not Kansas City. KC is hilly with trees, Wichita isn’t. That and downtown KC is in Missouri… Regardless, I like the ethanol and climate change ideas, but I wonder about the huge population in a city that is now sprawling and with few tall buildings. If the coasts had flooded, then perhaps that would explain it.

  17. Adam from Topeka

    I agree it’s Wichita not KC. I agree that it’s climate change – but it was weird to have it be “cane” rather than corn or wheat. I grew up in Topeka and I didn’t know the movie was set in KS before I went to see it tonite. I was very excited! Can’t think of a future KS movie since “A Boy and His Dog” – which I can’t recommend.

  18. The one thing that bothered me was not the cane fields, I immediately understood the implications of climate change and it being a more viable crop than corn as a bio-fuel. The thing that bothered me was when she said she couldn’t burn her cane to be able to see trespassers more easily. She needed to leave it for planting. Do you know how you prepare cane for the next season?
    You burn it.

  19. FYI – it takes place in 2044, not 2042. Watching it right now on On Demand.

  20. Tetractys

    Maybe someone in the future will send Arglist back so Roy Gelles can do the necessaries. As Wichita falls, so falls Wichita Falls.

  21. Joe

    I find all the talk of sugar cain crops and details about Kansas intriguing. I’m not from anywhere near Kansas, however, I find it great to see a movie set in some other locale than L.A. or NYC.

    One reason that might explain sugar cain could be a future need for bio-fuels. The film already shows a world hurting economically. Perhaps due in part to the effects of climate change and perhaps because of other factors like a larger population or diminishing hydrocarbon fuel supplies. So in a world where it may be cost prohibitive to gas up your car, alternative fuels would become increasingly lucrative. Sugar cain is currently a major source for bio-fuels in Brazil, which by the way is a nation that is self sufficient for its domestic energy needs. Partly because of its use of flex fuel cars.

    There are subtle hints for a lack of fossil fuels in this future. The large amounts of retrofitted solar panel cars being one that stands out the most.

    So it may be more economically driven as to why you see sugar cain crops in Kansas. Not as a food source, but as a fuel source.

    Also regardless of if climate change is occuring or not in this film, there is another possible reason sugar cain could grow in Kansas. Genetic engineering of crops to allow them to grow in more places. With the advances in genetically modified crops in the past decade, it isn’t that far fetched to imagine a world in 30 years that has even more advanced crops and an economic reason to produce a fuel source in place of food.

    Again I’m not from Kansas and don’t have much knowledge on farming, but I enjoy learning about economics and how it affects the world we live in; so I just thought I’d add this perspective.

  22. Pere

    You missed one, gen modified corn to grow in Kansas.

  23. Lkellet

    I’m willing to assume that in the next 30+ years, they find a way to grow sugarcane in Kansas. What’s more noticeable is that all the cars you see in the film are 30+ years old (from 2011 or before, in other words), and the cop cars are actually Toyota Camrys from about 2003. The reason is obvious- designing and building a bunch of 2040 era car bodies would have cost a lot of money.

  24. Pingback: As Wichita Falls – A History of References to the Town of Wichita, KS in Popular Culture | We Minored In Film

  25. TByron

    Can any one tell me the title of and artist that painted the wheat field and country road with the thunderstorm in was hanging over Sarah’s fireplace mantle? My father used to have a print of it and I always loved it. Would like to find another.

  26. Pingback: Kansas Shout-Outs in Man of Steel | pagelady

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  28. Drew

    Hey,
    I’m a filmmaker in KC and I think I can shed some light. Rian was here in KC for the KC Film Fest when he was developing Looper. He specifically asked to be taken on a tour and loved the feel of the west bottoms and old industrial look of KC contrasting with the rural settings.

    It is set in KC, not Witchita, and in the script Rian wrote that the character worked for a crime syndicate in KC- a larger part of our shady industrial past.

    As for the cane I could tell you if that was on purpose or not- symbolizing a climate change. However I can say he did research the area and did intend to shoot in KC. Shortly after our tax credits were done away with and Louisiana made their tax credits extremely appealing.

    Hope that at least somewhat helps 🙂

  29. Matt

    Hello …. I found Ur post after the sugar cane reference was made aparant by over watching this move haha…. I too am from Kansas a d feel the same way u do about the state of which Hollywood portrays it…. Many movies reference Kansas in a negative way…. Like the movie “Firewall” starring Harrison Ford…. Refers to Wichita Kansas as a city that would better suit the server room for his company because it is smaller and less sinifigant as far as big city’s go…. Big enough to run the operation but small bought that rent would be cheaper for such a technical necessity…. I do not have any light to shed on Ur sugar can rant but I felt compelled to comment, as at is nice to know im not the only one who feels the same about my home state Kansas…. And nice catch on the safe code….. Never noticed and I have been 67218 and 67211 since I can remember… Thank u for holding Kansas high

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