Don Rittner traveled to New York City Thursday night, excited to watch himself get beaten up by Ryan Gosling at the New York City premiere of “The Place Beyond the Pines.”
Come April 11, Rittner, whose small part in the film was one of many taken by locals, will be able to again watch himself — and see the city of Schenectady take center screen — at a special showing of the movie at Bow Tie Cinemas’ Movieland 6 downtown.
The screening will come the day before the major motion picture shot in Schenectady goes nationwide.
Behind the scenes
Rolling Stone magazine has posted a photo essay going behind the scenes of the making of "The Place Beyond the Pines." You can view the feature at www.rollingstone.com.
“They said they’d do it and they’re going to do it,” Rittner, the head of the Schenectady Film Commission, said Thursday by phone from New York. “I think that’s great. The whole thing was shot in Schenectady. The whole backdrop of the movie is Schenectady.”
Focus Features, which purchased the rights to the film, made the long-awaited local screening announcement Thursday.
The screening will include the film’s director, Derek Cianfrance, and “select cast and crew.” Further details have yet to be hammered out, though the special screening is expected to be by invitation only.
That Cianfrance will be in Schenectady for the showing follows the direct role Cianfrance had in bringing the production to the city in the first place.
It was his connections to Schenectady that led to it being chosen as the gritty backdrop for the film. His wife, Shannon Plumb, grew up in the Schenectady area and lobbied him to use the Electric City. Also, Ben Coccio, a former Niskayuna resident who wrote the screenplay, urged the director to shoot in the city.
In selling the movie to Focus, Cianfrance made the special Schenectady screening a part of the agreement.
“Bringing ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’ back to Schenectady to show it to the town that truly helped make it is both humbling and exciting,” Cianfrance said in a news statement issued Thursday with the announcement. “Schenectady is an amazing and inspiring community, and everyone on the production — especially those of us with family in the town — is so grateful that we had the opportunity to shoot there.”
“The Pines” is slated to open in New York and Los Angeles today, with national release set for April 12.
In addition to hosting the special screening, Bow Tie will also show the film.
Bow Tie CEO Joseph Masher said the showing has been in the works for some time. He cited a great relationship his theaters have with Focus.
“We’re happy and proud to be hosting it,” Masher said. “Our profile keeps rising in the Capital Region.”
Bow Tie got the event after there had been some talk of having it at Proctors. Proctors, though, was already booked that night, which, together with the showing of “The Pines,” should make for a busy night downtown.
At Proctors, the main stage is to have the Thursday night showing of the production “Cathy Rigby is Peter Pan,” while the GE Theatre is to have the latest installment of the WGNA Rising Star Country Series with country trio “The Farm.”
Even the Classic Theatre Guild is having a performance that night at the Fenimore Gallery at Proctors, performing “A Soldier’s Play.”
Described as “an epic crime drama,” the 140-minute “Pines” is a three-part serial about how one misstep can lead to a generation of turmoil. 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 start robbing banks to support his son.
His string of robberies causes him to intersect with Avery Cross — a rookie Schenectady cop played by Bradley Cooper — touching off a decades-long conflict between the two families.
The film also includes performances by Hollywood names such as Ray Liotta, Ben Mendelsohn, Rose Byrne and Dane DeHaan.
Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy, who saw the film at a special screening in New York City on Tuesday, welcomed the special screening set for Schenectady.
“It’s an exciting time for Schenectady to be featured in a nationally distributed movie,” McCarthy said, “so we’re looking forward to all the pomp and circumstance that goes with it.”
As for the movie, McCarthy said he liked it. There was the story, but also the interesting effect of sitting there in the theater seeing all the local Schenectady landmarks up on the screen.
“It’s all Schenectady and some of the adjacent communities; there were a lot of local participants in it,” McCarthy said. “We’re thankful they chose Schenectady and hope the movie succeeds.”