Police Chief Is A Big Reason Why Filmmakers Are Drawn To Corsicana

Police Chief Robert Johnson is also an actor and producer for the film “Warning Shot,” which was filmed in Corsicana and premieres Friday.

By Leah ScarpelliSeptember 14, 2018 1:44 pm

Today the film “Warning Shot” hits the theaters. The thriller stars David Spade, Bruce Dern and James Earl Jones, and it’s a story of a single mother caught up in a water-rights dispute. Something that may be particularly interesting to residents of the Lone Star State is that numerous scenes were filmed in and around Corsicana – or “Hollycana” as it’s known in some film circles. 

Corsicana’s reputation as a filming location is, in part, because of the city’s Police Chief Robert Johnson. Johnson is an associate producer and actor in “Warning Shot.”

“[Corsicana] is an absolutely wonderful place,” Johnson says. “I’ve lived here since 1987. When you go down our main street of town, you have got 117 nationally recognized historical landmarks. The architectural value of these buildings is incredible. Before I got into film, I didn’t pay as much attention to it. As a producer, every place I see is a potential place for me to film at.”

While breaking into acting, Johnson met actor Peter Horton who thought he would make a great cop in the reboot of the television show “Dallas.”

“I think I’m the only SAG police chief in the nation,” Johnson says. “I’ve been a police officer for 34 years and a chief for 26. I booked a co-star and recurring role on ‘Dallas,’ and that kind of got the ball rolling. I just kind of fell in love with the whole idea with acting, becoming someone else, telling a story. The transition into producing was second nature.”

Through his contacts and networking, Johnson has brought Hollywood to Corsicana by offering up sites to film for little to no cost. That enticed the makers of “Warning Shot,” who had originally planned to shoot the film in Mississippi. 

“It was easy for me to get things [here], because the people are very kind and nice, and they’ll work with me,” Johnson says. “If you do a good job, they tell people, and they tell two people and two people.”

But Johnson says he has no plan to leave his position as police chief.

“The bottom line: If I had to choose between acting and police chief, police chief wins,” Johnson says. “I felt like I can always do more with people, especially young people. Young folks are a little leery of police officers and law enforcement. What a great transition when I sat down and talk[ed] to them about the movie world. The next thing you know, I’m mentoring some of these kids.”

Written by Brooke Vincent.