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Barn Burner

September 27, 1987|Jane Lieberman

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, ain't exactly a movie town (last film shot there: "Dribble," a cheapie about female basketballers). So it's hardly surprising that the town is in a tizzy over "Farm of the Year," a bigger-budget drama examining the plight of farmers. Focus of the tizzy: star Richard Gere.

The town's abuzz with gossip about his whereabouts as the pic films around eastern Iowa. Even before shooting began earlier this month, townsfolk were badgering the local media for leads on the elusive actor.

So local WMT-FM deejay Dennis Green decided to have a little fun: He aired the Emergency Richard Gere Sighting System. In place of the familiar alert tone came a long female scream--" Oh, Rii--chh-arrrrrrd. "

"If it had been an actual sighting," Green jokes on his tape, "listeners would have been instructed where to swoon and how to make an actual embarrassment of themselves."

Green told us by phone: "There's been a lot of interest (in Gere) but we've yet to have anyone accost him." Harvest Films publicist Stuart Wolf said citizens have been very cooperative, with no disruptions.

They should like the storyline: two siblings (Gere and Kevin Anderson) burn down the family farm when the bank threatens foreclosure, then achieve fame as folk heroes eluding authorities. Directed by Gary Sinise (his first feature), the pic's produced by Harvest in association with Cinecom Pictures.

Gere is due to surface as a special guest next Sunday for a local, $50-per-ticket fund-raising event called "Farmers Helping Farmers." The movie's biggest scene, a re-creation of the Great Jones County Fair, will take place in Monticello, 40 miles north of Cedar Rapids, with 700 locals as extras.

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