Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe has purchased the Route 66 ghost town of Two Guns, Ariz., and intends to use it as a set for a western-sci fi movie titled “Two Guns,” according to a report in Zimbio.com.
No other media outlets have reported this. So it appears Zimbio either landed a big scoop, or such celebrity-gossip news should be taken with a rather large grain of salt.
According to the report, “Two Guns” essentially will serve as a remake of the 1973 movie “West World,” with Jerry Weintraub as producer. Michael Crichton owns the rights to “West World,” but that apparently isn’t stopping Crowe and Weintraub:
Russell’s solution, simply change the name, now called “Two Guns”, the film is about two guests at a high-tech amusement park who go on a wild west adventure. The park is peopled by robots and is designed to provide a 100% life like experience simulating Roman times, cowboy times, and medieval times. When the park’s central computer breaks down, the robots start to run amok and our two guests find themselves stalked by a robot gunslinger.
Russell was originally planning to film the movie in Sydney Australia so he could stay close to home, however when a friend told him about a Ghost Town that was for sale and on the market in Arizona, Russell decided to have a look himself.
The report says Crowe and Weintraub looked over the property, and Crowe purchased it for $3 million.
We do know that Two Guns for years was a popular tourist trap on Route 66, with a gas station, snack store and a small zoo (hence, the ruins that contain the fading lettering of “Mountain Lions”).
The settlement quickly died after it was bypassed by Interstate 40, and has been semi-deserted for decades.
Before then, the settlement was known as Canyon Diablo, which boasted a colorful history, to say the least. According to this well-sourced article on Wikipedia:
Originally a small mobile business community catering to the needs of railroad men, once the railroad stopped at the edge of the canyon this community quickly produced numerous saloons, brothels, dance halls, and gambling houses, all of which remained open 24 hours a day. No lawmen were employed by the community initially, so it quickly became a very dangerous place. Its population was mostly made up of railroad workers along with passing outlaws, gamblers, and prostitutes. The town was designed with two lines of buildings facing one another across the rock bed main street. The center street, however, was not named Main Street, but “Hell Street”. It consisted of fourteen saloons, ten gambling houses, four brothels and two dance halls. Also located on this street were two eating counters, one grocery store, and one dry goods store. Scattered about in the vicinity of downtown were large numbers of tents, shotgun houses, and hastily thrown up shacks that served as local residences.
Within a short time the town boasted a population of 2,000 residents. A regular stagecoach route from Flagstaff to Canyon Diablo began running and was often the victim of robberies. Within its first year, the town received its first marshal. He was sworn in at 3:00pm, and was being buried at 8:00pm that same night. Five more town marshals would follow, the longest lasting one month, and all were killed in the line of duty. A “Boot Hill” cemetery sprouted up at the end of town, which in less than a decade had 35 graves, all of whom had been killed by way of violent death. The 36th grave was that of former trading post owner Herman Wolf, who died in 1899, the only one to have died a nonviolent death.
UPDATE 4/12/2011: A new blog, Two Guns Arizona, has posted a photo of Crowe reputedly with the owner of the Two Guns property, after the sale reportedly went through. There’s also a photo of Crowe reportedly at a Starbucks in nearby Flagstaff.