“Gone Girl” Shooting Locations Cape Girardeau, Missouri

the cover of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn“Gone Girl,” the best selling novel by Gillian Flynn, is one twisted novel. And the 2014 movie, starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike and Neil Patrick Harris, is equally twisted and so visual.

But I love them both because it’s well written and not your same old love story. But the movie, shot in Cape Girardeau, Missouri makes me smile.

Many a day and many a night I’ve spent on the streets of Cape. Even before I could walk, my mother strolled me up and down Main Street on shopping excursions. Then there’s college and my first grown-up job after graduation. Whatever bar they used to replicate Nick and Margo Dunne’s bar, I bet I was there in my younger days.

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Gone Girl on the Mississippi River

The Mississippi flood wall at Cape Girardeau Missouri

The flood wall that protects downtown Cape Girardeau, with high water marks noted from the years the Mississippi most threatened the communities along her banks.

The Mississippi River is a part of my DNA. It was in those dirty powerful waters not far from here that I learned to swim and water ski and drive a boat. Just as Gillian Flynn writes at the end of Chapter 1:

“We aren’t built on some safe bluff overlooking the Mississippi – we are on the Mississippi. I could walk down the road and step right into the sucker…”

Yep, you can do that in Cape Girardeau when the river is below flood stage. After that, the flood walls are locked tightly, protecting downtown Cape from the Mighty Mississip.

Oddly, Flynn chose to name the fictional town North Carthage. There is a Carthage, Missouri, but it is 300 miles west of the Mississippi near Missouri’s border with Kansas. I think that’s confusing.


Gone Girl Shooting Locations

Some of the shooting for “Gone Girl” took place across the Mississippi River in southern Illinois. Now that’s really my old stomping grounds. From Giant City State Park to the Little Cypress Swamps on the Cache River, there are plenty of cool places to dispose of a body.

Hiking trails in Giant City State Park.

Hiking trails through Giant City State Park in southern Illinois.

Gillian Flynn now lives in Chicago, but she grew up in Kansas City. It’s obvious that she knows Missouri well, from her description of life in the Ozarks to Hannibal and even a quick nod to Times Beach near St. Louis. Yep, that’s where Desi’s castle-like home on Lake Hannafan is located.

I loved “Gone Girl” for all of its Midwestern references, but I really loved it because of the writing. It’s been since grad school that I read a book with a highlighter, but I found so many wonderful word choices and phrases in the book that I simply had to highlight them to study later.

She used the word “lookiloo,” which isn’t a word at all, but you can bet it will show up in mojotraveler blog post before very long at all.






Other Work by Gillian Flynn



The Bill Emerson Bridge that crosses the Mississippi River at Cape Girardeau.

The beautiful Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge that crosses the Mississippi River into Illinois is quite prominent in the movie “Gone Girl.”