Derek Cianfrance’s long-awaited film, “The Place Beyond the Pines,” is set for early spring release, according to Focus Features.
The division of NBC Universal set March 29 for a limited release of the film, which was shot almost exclusively in Schenectady and several neighboring locations in 2011. The film is initially scheduled for release in several large cities and will likely reach the Capital Region in April, according to a spokesman with the company.
The release was initially announced via a succinct message on Twitter Wednesday morning. RJ Millard, a spokesman for the company, said additional details will be released before Thanksgiving.
“I’m sure a lot of the details will be ironed out next month,” he said.
Word of the release date spread quickly and drew attention from area theaters. Philip Morris, the chief executive officer of Proctors, said “I’d love to have it open here.” He would be elated to schedule a grand opening, he said, provided Schenectady is among the cities chosen for the release date.
Schenectady Film Commission Chairman Don Rittner said he is working on getting a release date in the city. Rittner, who helped bring the production to the city and was one of the many local extras, has suggested inviting the stars back for a red carpet downtown screening.
Keith Pickard, co-owner of Spectrum 8 Theatres in Albany, said he’ll be looking to show the film. Pickard saw the film during its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival in September and figures it will draw a good crowd.
“People of the Capital Region should have an interest in it,” he said.
“Pines” began shooting in Glenville and Scotia in late July 2011 and filmed its last scene in the GE Realty Plot neighborhood in late September. Many of the stars lived in the city throughout filming, creating a buzz on the streets whenever production crews were spotted.
Cianfrance’s connections to Schenectady played a role in his choosing the city as the gritty backdrop for his film. His wife, Shannon Plumb, grew up in the Schenectady area and lobbied him to use the Electric City.
Ben Coccio, a former Niskayuna resident who wrote the screenplay, was also supportive of using his old stomping grounds. And producer Jamie Petricof had ties to the area through his family, which once operated Duane’s Toyland on State Street. Overall, the film relied on more than 2,000 extras from the region.
Cianfrance, a director who strives for his films to be as realistic as possible, also relied on inexperienced people for speaking roles. The director included a number of Schenectady police officers, a city school district guidance counselor, a local pharmacy owner and an area banker for credited roles in the film. Even longtime state Sen. Hugh Farley was given a few lines toward the end of the movie.
Described as “an epic crime drama,” the 140-minute film is a raw tale about how one misstep can lead to a generation of turmoil. Ryan Gosling plays Luke Glanton, a carnival stunt motorcycle rider who unexpectedly learns he has fathered a son with Romina, a Latino diner waitress played by Eva Mendes.
Learning about the child brings new meaning to the life of Gosling’s character, but also drives him to a life of crime. And a botched robbery intersects his path with Avery Cross — a rookie Schenectady cop played by Bradley Cooper — touching off a decades-long conflict between the two families.
“Pines” is a serial story told in three parts, with a very distinct cause-and-effect narrative. The film debuted in Toronto and was met with generally positive reviews.
The film’s first two screenings in Toronto were sold out. Focus Features bought the distribution rights less than two days after the last screening.
“Derek Cianfrance has made a bold, epic, and emotionally generous saga, once again showing a master’s hand in eliciting searingly beautiful performances from the actors with whom he collaborates,” Focus Features CEO James Schamus said after his company announced the purchase last month.