Just before 2 p.m. Wednesday, when the Peter Pause Restaurant is normally closing up after its lunch crowd empties out, the beloved Italian diner on Schenectady’s Nott Street instead began to fill up.
These weren’t regulars, though. Men and women hauled in cameras, lights and boom microphones. They replaced patterned curtains with sheer white ones and blacked out windows and doors to make it look like nighttime. A man climbed a ladder in the middle of the restaurant to tack white plastic to the ceiling.
The last of the lunch crowd filtered out, expressing wishes to stay behind and see the movie that was about to be filmed at their favorite lunch spot.
“Fourth Man Out,” an independent comedy about a 20-something car mechanic who comes out as gay to his three blue-collar best buds, has been filming in and around Albany for the past few weeks. On Wednesday, the cast and crew filmed a diner scene at Peter Pause. On Friday, they are scheduled to film in the rural Schenectady County hamlet of Mariaville.
“It’s great for us,” said Peter Pause owner Dean Plakas. “Any publicity is good, of course, but I think it’s great for the city. It will be good to get this kind of exposure.”
The production company began scouting sites in the Capital Region earlier this summer, Plakas said, and stopped in for lunch one day.
“I don’t know what brought them to the city, but they said, ‘Do you mind if we use your diner for the film?’ and we said, ‘Of course,’ ” Plakas said.
The film stars Chord Overstreet (“Glee”), Evan Todd (“Sydney White”), Parker Young (“Suburgatory”), Jon Gabrus (“Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight”) and Kate Flannery (“The Office”). The comedy tells the story of a working-class mechanic from a small town who comes out as gay to his three unsuspecting and blue-collar best friends, and their handling of the change in their relationship.
“The guys attempt to show their support as best they can, but having never known a gay person before, their over-eager approach backfires in hilarious ways,” according to a casting call posted at www.albanytalent.com.
The director, Andrew Nackman, has directed three short films in recent years, including “The B-Boys,” “How Ivan Ivanovich Quarrelled with Ivan Nikiforovich,” and “Paulie.” He has also acted in two short films: “Nakunatta” and “How to Eat Bacon.”
Plakas said the scene filmed Wednesday would show the friends getting into an argument after one makes a comment about a waitress in the diner. According to a scene schedule posted by the Facebook page “Film Albany,” the cast and crew will likely be filming a barbecue scene featuring partygoers and teens Friday in Mariaville.
The producer, Lauren Avinoam, declined comment on the film until Friday.
The Empire State Film Production Credit, a state-run film incentive program that offers hefty credits on certain production and post-production costs for films that shoot in upstate New York, likely lured the company to shoot in Albany and Schenectady counties. State Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, who pushed to expand the credit for certain upstate counties, including Albany and Schenectady, visited Peter Pause during a break in shooting Wednesday and was told the production would be taking advantage of the credit.
An Empire State Development spokesman could not immediately confirm Wednesday evening whether the company had submitted an application for the credit.