Schenectady County

Movie crews begin scouting locations for late-July filming

Although filming for Derek Cianfrance’s Schenectady-based movie, “The Place Beyond the Pines,” isn’t

Although filming for Derek Cianfrance’s Schenectady-based movie, “The Place Beyond the Pines,” isn’t set to begin until late July, pre-production crews moved into the city on Monday.

Crews have been scouting locations to film in the Capital Region for months but had yet to set up their home base until this week, according to Schenectady Film Commission head Don Rittner. The location of the office space being used and where the crew and stars will stay during production have not been disclosed.

“They don’t want fans mobbing the place,” Rittner said.

Cianfrance chose Schenectady for the film in part because screenwriter Ben Coccio grew up in the area, as did Cianfrance’s wife, Shannon Plumb.

He said it’s the kind of place “the majority of people in this country live in.”

The title of the movie is a near-translation of the Mohawk word for Schenectady, which means “on that side of the pinery,” “near the pines “ or “ place beyond the pine plains.”

The production will star Hollywood actors Ryan Gosling and Brad Cooper.

Gosling will portray a professional motorcycle rider who turns to a life of robbing banks to support his newborn son; Cooper will play the rookie cop out to catch the criminal.

Gosling starred in last year’s Oscar-nominated film “Blue Valentine,” also directed by Cianfrance. Cooper has gained fame from his role as the debonair ringleader, Phil, in “The Hangover” and “The Hangover Part II.”

Other actors confirmed for the movie include Eva Mendes, who will play the mother of Gosling’s son, and Australian actor Ben Mendelsohn.

The “Animal Kingdom” star is believed to be cast as the mechanic who leads Gosling to his life of crime.

Rittner said the majority of the movie will be filmed in Schenectady in homes, several banks, and in sections of the Woodlawn Preserve.

However, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to local fans if film crews are spotted in other areas of the Capital Region.

“This isn’t New York City,” Rittner said.

“Very rarely does one city have everything needed to complete the making of a film.”

Residents in Amsterdam have reported having notes left on their doors by the pre-production crew asking to use their homes as a possible filming location. Residents of Schenectady’s historic Stockade neighborhood have also been approached.

Rittner said location scouting will be an “ongoing process” throughout the film’s production.

local hopefuls

Earlier this month, hundreds of people tried out at a local casting call for actors to fill a variety of roles.

Already a Screen Actors Guild member, Clifton Park resident Dan Jacobs auditioned for a larger, speaking role. SAG is an international labor union representing more than 200,000 film and television performers.

Jacobs said Tuesday he has yet to hear if he landed a role alongside the Hollywood A-listers, but the call could come just days before production begins.

He’s used to it.

Jacobs had roles in other recent productions around the Capital Region, such as the 2009 “Salt” and “The Other Guys” in Albany. In Cianfrance’s production he is hoping to secure the part of a social worker helping local youths. The character comes upon a crime scene and turns it over to detectives.

Jacobs said SAG members often have a leg up in winning roles offered to locals because new regulations stipulate that 85 union members must be on set for production to begin.

Locals who win smaller roles are often asked to join the union just for a few days and pay a small fee, he said.

Those with larger speaking roles — like one local high school boy who could land the third lead role — would need to join full-time, paying an initiation fee of $2,335 and then paying an annual fee based on income.

“There’s often a little sticker shock when they find out there’s a pretty steep initiation fee involved, but it’s such a great opportunity [roles are] rarely turned down,” said Jacobs.

“They find a way to pay the fee.”

Filming is set to end locally in September.

Categories: Schenectady County

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