An essay from Bissell’s book Magic Hours: A film crew and actor Jeff Daniels arrive in the author’s Michigan hometown to shoot a movie:
As the sun sets behind the thick pine stand that perimeters the football field, the lack of extras begins to become a problem. To appreciate how crucial extras are to tonight’s filming, one must know several things about Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. First, citizens of the Upper Peninsula are known as ‘Yoopers,’ an inelegant transliteration of ‘U. P.,’ as this underpopulated and fearsomely bleak stretch of land is known. The U. P. is separated from the rest of Michigan culturally and geographically, connected only by the Mackinac Bridge, an architectural marvel built as recently as 1957. The U. P. might be the most rural part of the country, as well as its least familiar. Some maps neglect to include the border separating the U. P. from Wisconsin, an accidental annexation that, if made official, would please the vast majority of Yoopers, who feel a stronger cultural identification with Wisconsin anyway. Finally—and in light of tonight’s scene, not to mention the whole film, this is a key point—for Yoopers, deer hunting has near religious significance. The first day of deer season is actually a school holiday—Deer Day, it is called—and the entire place is a hotbed of gun crazies and gun-craziness.