By Rob Owen / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ABC’s filmed-in-Pittsburgh comedy “Downward Dog” finally has an air date. The show will sneak […]POSTED ON: March 16, 2017
Pittsburgh-filmed ‘Downward Dog’ gets its premiere date
ABC’s filmed-in-Pittsburgh comedy “Downward Dog” finally has an air date.
The show will sneak preview at 9:30 p.m. May 17 after the season finale of “Modern Family” and move into its regular time slot, 8 p.m. Tuesday, on May 23, the day before the end of the 2016-17 TV season.
At one point ABC executives had thought of pairing “Downward Dog” with “Bachelorette” and airing episodes back-to-back. That’s no longer the plan, which bodes better for the show’s odds of success, although a summer run is still not ideal for any show.
“Downward Dog” stars Allison Tolman (“Fargo”) as Nan, a single Pittsburgh woman with a dog, Martin (Ned), whose narcissistic thoughts are heard by viewers (but not by Nan). That high concept for the show — a talking dog!?! — makes it a comedy outlier.
Created by Pittsburghers Michael Killen and Samm Hodges, who also voices Martin, “Downward Dog” filmed its pilot in Pittsburgh in December 2015 and returned to shoot the balance of its episodes in fall 2016.
By Sharon Eberson / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette August Wilson’s Hill District is near at hand for Pittsburghers, but the movie adaptation […]POSTED ON: March 12, 2017
Mykelti Williamson reflects on Pittsburgh filming as ‘Fences’ arrives on Blu-ray, DVD
August Wilson’s Hill District is near at hand for Pittsburghers, but the movie adaptation of “Fences” brought just a taste of life on the Hill in the 1950s to millions of moviegoers.
Now anyone can bring “Fences” into his or her home.
The movie directed by and starring Denzel Washington and co-starring Viola Davis has been available in Digital HD since Feb. 24 and now arrives in Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand Tuesday from Paramount Home Media Distribution.
A bonus featurette on the Blu-ray disc is “August Wilson’s Hill District,” and another visits Ms. Davis on set, where she discusses her preparation to portray Rose Maxson — a role that has brought her a Tony Award as best actress in a play and an Oscar as best supporting actress.
The late Pittsburgh playwright Mr. Wilson received an Academy Award nomination for best adapted screenplay in transferring his Pulitzer Prize-winning play for the big screen. The bulk of “Fences” was filmed last spring in and around an Anaheim Street house on the Hill.
“Fences,” set in the 1950s, tells the story of former Negro League ballplayer Troy Maxson (Oscar nominee Mr. Washington), whose dashed dreams have a chilling effect on those around him. Mykelti Williamson was among the cast members who made the leap with Mr. Washington and Ms. Davis from stage to screen. He played Gabriel, Troy’s brother who was wounded in World War II and has a metal plate in his head.
The film shoot was Mr. Williamson’s first extended stay in Pittsburgh, and he made the most of it. “It was a great time of year to be there, the people were amazing, the food was good — Pittsburgh exceeded my expectations. I expected to have a good time, but nothing like I actually did. It was great,” he said.
The actor who played Bubba in the Oscar-winning film “Forrest Gump” was speaking by phone recently when he discussed his experience filming in Pittsburgh.
Q: What was it like filming in the Hill District and having people in the homes all around you?
A: We were welcomed with open arms. One of the most intelligent things that Denzel did was to insist upon this being shot in Pittsburgh, in the Hill District. No one can authenticate the spirit of the people in the Hill District, the way they keep their yards — I don’t care who the landscapers are. Just the character and the personality with the way people decorate their front porches, it’s all right there. So why try to fake that? You go to the community and it’s there.
The beauty of being in the community was coming home from work, you could smell the food cooking, and in the morning you could smell them cooking breakfast and brewing coffee — you could smell the neighborhood and hear people moving around in their houses and it was just great. That actually elevated our experience and made it extremely authentic. That goes to the intelligence of Denzel Washington.
Q: What is Denzel Washington like as a director?
A: The way that Denzel inspired and led us as a director is by his intelligence, and he’s amazing himself. There’s no actor in the world better than Denzel. So he inspires you because he’s so good at what he does, you want to bring your best work no matter what the challenge is. And Mr. Wilson’s language is challenging, because you can do so many things with it.
Q: When did you know you would be playing Gabriel again, this time on screen?
A: When we were on Broadway, there were plans to flush the material out to see how we could take it to the screen. We knew August had a screenplay, and we knew Denzel was interested in a cinematic application of “Fences.” One day at Denzel’s house, after we had finished the play, he said he had not seen one script that was on par, certainly not better, than “Fences.” So we knew at that time, sitting at Denzel’s house, that it was something that he intended to pursue, no matter what it took.
Q: Is there a kind of “Fences” family now, including Stephen McKinley Henderson and Russell Hornsby, who went from Broadway to filming together?
A: Bonding on stage brought us together in a way that no one can ever separate us. Seeing an actor work super hard, struggle with the material to try to flush it out — everybody does the same thing. When you are working in the woodshop like that with your peers really close to each other, and then to have another opportunity to so-called bring the band back together again, it’s amazing.
Q: What do you think of the film now being on DVD and Blu-ray, so it can be seen in homes and in schools?
A: We are privileged to be the first ones to take August Wilson in a visual form, in a motion picture, to the world. We are so privileged to be in this position. Knowing people will have the DVD or the Blu-ray in their homes, in their own libraries, is just amazing. And in schools, where kids are studying August Wilson, they can put it on and let August Wilson do the talking.
The “Fences” Blu-ray Combo Pack ($39.99) includes more than 30 minutes of bonus content, including interviews with Mr. Washington and Ms. Davis and other members of the cast and crew, and a feature about bringing “Fences” from stage to screen and another titled “August Wilson’s Hill District.” The combo pack includes access to a Digital HD copy of the film. The single-disc DVD ($29.99) includes the film in standard definition.
Sharon Eberson: [email protected] Twitter: @SEberson_pg.
Here’s a first-look teaser of Netflix’s Mindhunter, the crime series that’s executive produced by David Fincher and Charlize Theron. Jonathan […]POSTED ON: March 1, 2017
‘Mindhunter’ Teaser: First Look At Netflix’s David Fincher-Charlize Theron Crime Series
Here’s a first-look teaser of Netflix’s Mindhunter, the crime series that’s executive produced by David Fincher and Charlize Theron. Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany, Anna Torv and Hannah Gross star in the blood-splotched period drama. There’s an impressive roster of directors here that includes Fincher, Asif Kapadia, Tobias Lindholm and Andrew Douglas. A global debut is set for October.
Mindhunter is based on the 1996 book Mind Hunter: Inside The FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit, by former special agent John Douglas and Mark Olshaker.
Set in 1979, the series centers on the inquisitive and skilled FBI Agent Bill Tench (McCallany). Along with fellow serial killer investigator in the behavioral science unit, FBI agent Holden Ford (Groff), Tench interviews serial killers to help them solve current murders.
Mindhunter marks a reteam for Fincher and Netflix after House Of Cards helped launch the streaming service’s original scripted series. Joshua Donen and Cean Chaffin are also exec producers.
KATE BENZ | Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, 10:06 a.m. “This is last year’s red carpet,” joked Danny Shaffalo of his red […]POSTED ON: February 27, 2017
Fanfare: Pittsburgh Film Office draws 700 for 17th Annual Oscar Party
KATE BENZ | Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, 10:06 a.m.
“This is last year’s red carpet,” joked Danny Shaffalo of his red tuxedo during the Pittsburgh Film Office’s Lights! Glamour! Action! Oscar party. “There was just enough to cut off and make into a jacket.”
All 515 feet of red carpet — 15 feet longer than the one being used in L.A. — was graced by 700 guests who arrived at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center for the annual nod to the Academy Awards on Feb. 26.
“We had four carpenters working on it for five hours and it was laid three days in advance,” said Theresa Kaufman, who teamed up with Shari Zatman to produce the event.
Early on, more than one guest was quick to admit that their interest in the Oscars had more to do with fashion than film.
“I’m a girl so of course I care about the red carpet more,” said Emily Wilson.
As was expected, the people watching took the win for most of the evening until the Oscars telecast began, although Bubbles the champagne goddess (aka Jordan Streussnig) turned out to be a close second.
“We had to get a ladder to get her in and out of there,” laughed Donita Cornacchione (with Emilio). “That champagne glass is eight feet tall.”
On the list were PFO director Dawn Keezer, board chair Russ Streiner, co-chairs Lori and Pete Schoonmaker, Kim Moses, Larry Rapaport, Tom Savini, emcees Sally Wiggin and Michelle Wright of WTAE, Frank Murgia, Luis and Jenny Fábregas, Rich and Cindy Engler, Gisele Fetterman, Lucas and Renee Piatt, Ronda Zegarelli, Bonnie and Jay Mangold, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack.
By Natalie Bencivenga / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette When and where: Sunday night at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown. #LetsGoToTheMovies: […]POSTED ON: February 27, 2017
Pittsburgh Film Office’s ‘Lights! Glamour! Action!’ event rolls out red carpet at Convention Center
When and where: Sunday night at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown.
#LetsGoToTheMovies: The Pittsburgh Film Office’s party just keeps getting better! Here were some highlights from this one enchanted evening:
Red Carpet Magic: This year’s red carpet clocked in at 515 feet — longer than the one in Hollywood! Lining the red carpet were glamorous drag queens like Bebe Beretta, Tootsie Snyder, Bambi Deerest and others channeling the movie stars from yesteryear. Izzazu’s Glam Cam caught all the action with Bubba from 100.7 and Emilio Cornachione interviewing guests as they strutted their stuff for the camera.
Bubbles, anyone? The drinks were flowing and at the center of it all was an 8-foot-high champagne glass complete with Bubbles the Champagne Goddess lounging for all to see (and admire).
#RatedPGH: Once the doors to the ballroom opened, the party kicked off with an original opening number by the Craig Zinger singers as guests enjoyed signature drinks in honor of “Outsiders,” filmed in Pittsburgh. Ever tasted a Li’l Foster, a cranberry moonshine cosmo? “It’s sentimental to have all of these Pittsburgh big-screen moments here with us tonight,” said PFO director Dawn Keezer, who was dripping in diamonds (naturally!) from Brilliant Nuevo Diamonds. “We are so thrilled to have such support here to keep producing films and television shows in our city.”
#LetsParty: Guests noshed on a Dunkin’ Donuts doughnut wall, Millies Ice Cream, dessert-themed waffles from Waffleonia and savory treats from Levy Restaurants before dancing to the Totally 80s band and playing retro games like Atari. It was a night to remember!
#SEEN: Co-emcees Sally Wiggin and Michelle Wright, Gino Chiodo, honorary co-chairs Pete and Lori Schoonmaker, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Lt. Governor Mike Stack, Jay and Bonnie Mangold, Ed Amori with daughter Brittany, Alan and Diane Perer, Jon and Casey Pratkanis, Lucas and Renee Piatt, Rich and Cindy Engler, Gisele Fetterman, Adnan Pehlivan, Louis LaRose, Navin Bhambhwani and mom Neeta, Lisa Freeman, Anne Stone and the ladies behind the magic, Theresa Kaufman and Shari Zatman.
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — There was almost as much excitement in Pittsburgh as there was in Los Angeles on Oscar night […]POSTED ON: February 26, 2017
Pa. Film Tax Credit To Thank For Pittsburgh Movie Boom
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — There was almost as much excitement in Pittsburgh as there was in Los Angeles on Oscar night and for good reason: Pittsburgh was a player in this year’s awards.
“For the first time since 1991, we have a best picture nominee in ‘Fences,’” Pittsburgh Film Office representative Dawn Keezer said.
In Southwestern Pennsylvania alone last year, there were two major motion pictures shot and four television series. That translates into big money for the region.
“We had a record-breaking year with $115 million being spent in Southwestern Pennsylvania alone,” Keezer said.
What brings Hollywood to Pennsylvania is the state’s $60 million a year film tax credit, but shortfalls in the state’s budget could eliminate the credit all together.
“I would like to have it as a dedicated tax credit. One you don’t have to vote on every five years,” said Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Mike Stack.
The debate over the tax credit will heat up between now and June when the state’s new budget up is approved or rejected.
Until then those in favor of bringing movies like “Fences” to our region plan to make a case for continuing the credit.
“We start turning away business, we’re the only state in the country to put out a ‘do not open’ sign for the film industry, we lost projects last week, I turned down three television series last week alone,” Keezer said.
By Sharon Eberson / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Viola Davis made her sweep of awards season complete on Sunday as she captured […]POSTED ON: February 26, 2017
Viola Davis takes home best supporting actress for ‘Fences’ role
By Sharon Eberson / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Viola Davis made her sweep of awards season complete on Sunday as she captured the best supporting actress Academy Award for her intensely emotional performance in “Fences,” the Pittsburgh-set and -filmed adaptation of August Wilson’s prize-winning play.
“Fences” entered the 89th annual Academy Awards ceremony with four nominations, including best picture, best actor for Denzel Washington and best adapted screenplay for the late writer and Pittsburgh native.
Ms. Davis, dressed in vibrant red on Sunday, previously was nominated for “Doubt” and “The Help” and has more Oscar nominations than any other African-American actress. She was a prohibitive favorite when her name was called early in the ceremony at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
On the way to the stage, she hugged Mr. Washington and kissed her “Doubt” costar Meryl Streep. Ms. Davis accepted the award from Mark Rylance.
After a standing ovation, she began her emotional speech by saying, “You know there’s one place that all the people with the greatest potential are gathered, and that’s the graveyard. People ask me all the time, what kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola? And I say exhume those bodies, those stories. The stories of the people who dreamed big and saw those dreams to fruition, people who loved and lost. I became an artist and thank God I did, because we are the only profession who knows what it means to live a life.
“So here’s to August Wilson, who exhumed and exalted the ordinary people.”
Ms. Davis thanked Paramount Pictures and the “Fences” producers for being cheerleaders for a movie that “is about people and words and life and forgiveness and grace.” She thanked her costars, “for being the most wonderful artists I’ve ever worked with, and o’ captain, my captain, Denzel Washington. Thank you for putting two entities in the driver’s seat: August and God, and they served you well.”
In “Fences,” Ms. Davis played a Hill District wife and mother whose love and loyalty are sorely tested. The role of Rose Maxson in “Fences” had already earned her a best actress Tony Award, alongside director and co-star Mr. Washington as Troy Maxson, an embittered trash collector and former Negro League ballplayer.
In her run up to the Oscars, Ms. Davis’ acceptance speeches referenced her father, a horse groomer and janitor, whose life and the lives of others like him are crystallized in August Wilson’s works about the African-American experience. The late playwright, who died in 2005 at age 60, had earned a Pulitzer Prize for the play “Fences,” one of 10 from his American Century Cycle, with nine set in his hometown of Pittsburgh. The long-gestating process of bringing “Fences” to the screen finally was made possible in part by Mr. Washington’s star power and belief in a playwright whose genius he equates with American writers such as Tennessee Williams, Eugene O’Neill and Edward Albee.
“Fences” was filmed in the Hill District and West End in the spring of last year, and its success at the box office and during awards season would appear to seal the deal for Mr. Washington to produce the other nine plays for HBO.
The first win of the night went to supporting actor Mahershala Ali as a sympathetic drug dealer in “Moonlight.” It was a big year for the actor, who also had a role in the popular historical film “Hidden Figures,” a best picture nominee that celebrated the black women who were integral to NASA’s success in the space race.
Sharon Eberson: [email protected] or 412-263-1960. Twitter: @SEberson_pg.
The Steel City will play a starring role at Sunday’s Oscars show. Pittsburgh may not be viewed as the most […]POSTED ON: February 22, 2017
Why Pittsburgh could make Oscar history
The Steel City will play a starring role at Sunday’s Oscars show.
Pittsburgh may not be viewed as the most cinematic city in the world, but it is quickly becoming a popular filming location.
The most recent example is “Fences,” an adaption of the critically acclaimed play by Pittsburgh’s own August Wilson. The film, directed by Denzel Washington, is nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
Washington, a two-time Oscar winner, is considered to be a favorite along with Casey Affleck of “Manchester by the Sea” for Best Actor honors.
If “Fences” takes the top honor, it will follow “Silence of the Lambs,” the 1991 thriller starring Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, and “The Deer Hunter,” the 1978 war drama, as Best Picture winners filmed in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area.
Pittsburgh’s rise as a player in the film industry will be the focus of a panel Wednesday at Point Park University’s Center for Media Innovation , Downtown. The noon discussion is partly sponsored by Point Park University and TribLIVE.com
The panel’s participants include:
• Dawn Keezer, longtime director of the Pittsburgh Film Office, responsible for bringing to the city dozens of high-profile productions such as “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Out of the Furnace” and “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.” The Film Office on Sunday will host its annual Oscars event, “Lights! Glamour! Action!”
• Michael Killien and Kathy Dziebek, film industry veterans and founders of Animal Inc., the company behind the ABC comedy series “Downward Dog.”
Trib contributing writer Michael Machosky breaks down the latest TV series filming in Pittsburgh.
The Center for Media Innovation is located at the corner of Third and Wood streets, Downtown.
By Rob Owen / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette The NBC Universal International Studios series “Gone,” executive produced by Western Pennsylvania native Kim […]POSTED ON: February 1, 2017
TV series ‘Gone’ to film in Pittsburgh this spring
The NBC Universal International Studios series “Gone,” executive produced by Western Pennsylvania native Kim Moses, is expected to begin production in Pittsburgh this spring.
A procedural drama based on Chelsea Cain’s novel “One Kick,” the first season of “Gone” will consist of 12 one-hour episodes that will begin airing in late 2017 or early 2018.
The series, an international co-production among NBCUniversal International Studios, Germany’s RTL and France’s TF1, does not yet have a domestic outlet to air on, which is standard for international productions at this stage in development.
Created by Matt Lopez (“Race to Witch Mountain”), “Gone” follows Kit “Kick” Lannigan (Leven Rambin, “True Detective,” “All My Children”), survivor of a child abduction case who teams up years later with FBI agent Frank Booth (Chris Noth, “The Good Wife”), her rescuer, to become part of a special task force that investigates abduction and missing persons cases.
Ms. Moses, who grew up in Donora, is joined in the “Gone” executive producer ranks by former “Dexter” executive producer Sara Colleton and Barry O’Brien (“The Following”).
An NBCUniversal International publicist would confirm only that “Gone” will shoot in the United States. However, the series already has hired a Pittsburgh production manager.
TV writer Rob Owen: [email protected] or 412-263-2582. Read the Tuned In Journal blog at post-gazette.com/tv. Follow RobOwenTV on Twitter or Facebook.
By Natalie Bencivenga / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette #RatedPGH: The Pittsburgh Film Office had a lot to celebrate on Friday night at […]POSTED ON: January 30, 2017
Pittsburgh Film Office hosts Patrons Party
#RatedPGH: The Pittsburgh Film Office had a lot to celebrate on Friday night at J. Verno Studios on the South Side, as the organization gears up for its annual Lights! Glamour! Action! Oscar party. This event is a “thank you” to the sponsors who make the party possible to help raise funds for the film office. “We have had such a fantastic year. The climate in Pittsburgh is amazing. Not only did we film three television series here, but it is the first time since 1990 that a film produced in Pittsburgh was nominated for best picture at the Oscars,” said Dawn Keezer, film office director. She was referring to the film, “Fences,” starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis and written by acclaimed playwright and Pittsburgh native August Wilson, who also was nominated posthumously for adapted screenplay. Other guests were also buzzing over this film, such as Jonathan Robinson, who said: “I loved this story and how it reminded me of the stories my great-grandparents would tell me. It was so honest, so real.” As partygoers moved through the space, they enjoyed drinks from Big Springs Spirits, all made in Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh-based Blume Honey Water (my new favorite drink), treats from the Ace Hotel Pittsburgh, Social House Seven, and one of my favorites, Istanbul Sofra. (Once you try their desserts, you are hooked for life!) Why is it important to support the film office? “It’s just another way to support Pittsburgh,” said Ms. Keezer. “Bringing films to Pittsburgh generated a record-breaking $150 million spent in our region. We are on track to beat that again this year. It stimulates the local economy and contributes to the arts. It’s a win-win!”
#SEEN: Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald (trying the vegan meatballs from Zenith Cafe, and he loved them) with wife Kathy, event co-chairs Pete and Lori Schoonmaker, Michael Ceoffe, Mike and Melia Tourangeau, Alan and Diane Perer, Toni Chiappini, Sophia Brooks, Philip Ferland, Gail Wrobleski, Matthew Sterne and Melissa McConnell, Simon Boden, Jeb Dunkelberger and Meredith Fitzpatrick, David Haddad, Emilio Cornacchione, Lucas Piatt, Adnan Pehlivan, Christian Simmons, Gina Vensel, and Navin Bhambhwani of Brilliant Nuevo Diamonds, who donated a pair of $11,000 diamond hoop earrings that were out of this world for the silent auction.