Pittsburgh has long been known for its work in major motion pictures and television shows. Take its famous turn in the cult classic Night of the Living Dead, shot in 1968, in and around Monroeville Mall. Rencently Hollywood has been taking notice of Pittsburgh for its affordability, breathtaking architecture, and affable residents. Since 1919, at least 100 movies have been filmed in the Steel City, with 35 occurring in the last five years. This list includes the most memorable, some of which are critically-acclaimed, projects from the last decade.
A cast that includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Eminem, Forest Whitaker, Victor Ortiz, and Tyrese Gibson, SouthPaw followed the rise to fame of welterweight boxer Billy Hope. Little does Billy know, however, that while he works to achieve his dream of becoming a world-class fighter, his personal life will fall to shambles. Filming took place in Indiana and in and around Pittsburgh. One notable scene is the transformation of the old downtown Saks Fifth Avenue department store into the exterior of Madison Square Garden. SouthPaw will release worldwide on July 31, 2015.
Starring Shailene Woodley (better known as ‘Tris’ from the Divergent trilogy), and Ansel Elgort as cancer patient lovers Hazel and Gus, this heart wrenching tale of teenage angst will leave you shattered. Based on the bestselling novel by John Green, the film adaptation hit theaters in 2014. While filming did take place in Pittsburgh (look for shots of Oakmont and Lawrenceville scattered throughout the movie) the film was set in Indianapolis, Indiana. Many of the cars have Indiana plates on the back, steely-eyed viewers should notice Pennsylvania inspection stickers on the windshields.
Foxcatcher dazzles with a Hollywood heavyweight cast that includes Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Steve Carrell, and Vanessa Redgrave. Released in 2014, Foxcatcher is loosely based on the events surrounding multimillionaire John E. du Pont’s 1986 recruitment of 1984 U.S. Olympic gold medalist wrestlers Dave and Mark Schultz. du Pont’s wrestling obsession led him to the brothers to help him coach U.S. wrestlers for participation in national, world, and Olympic competition, and ultimately led to the murder of Dave by du Pont in January of 1996. While the film is set on du Pont’s former 800-acre suburban Philadelphia estate, Foxcatcher Farm, the majority of the movie was filmed in a Comfort Inn in Monroeville, an empty fast food restaurant in McKeesport, and in large chunks of downtown Pittsburgh.
Arguably the most popular movie filmed in downtown Pittsburgh, The Dark Knight Rises brought stars Christian Bale (as Batman), Anne Hathaway, Gary Oldman, and Morgan Freeman into the Steel City. Set to look like Chicago, viewers will notice The Dark Knight’s scenes at the Mellon Institute, downtown’s Wood Street, the Mini of Pittsburgh dealership on Baum Boulevard, and the Frank Bryan concrete plant on the South Side. Released in 2012, Steelers players, and thousand of Pittsburghers were in the film as extras, and you’ll even notice Pittsburgh brands, such as Heinz, UPMC, and the red-and-blue diamond symbol of the Pittsburgh Parking authority making cameos.
Hands down, the 2008 Kevin Smith gross-out film, which main stage was a now-Dairy Queen in Monroeville’s Alstan Mall, was largely filmed and also took place in Monroeville. The movie’s plot is very simplistic. Roommates Zack (Seth Rogan), and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) are broke so they film and try to sell a porn for money. Even thought the movie was a box-office flop, Monroeville residents will be tickled to see scenes in front of Ralph’s Army Surplus, Monroeville Mall, and Hohmann’s Plaza Laundromat on James Street. You may even notice the outside of Mellon Arena, and will laugh at a Steelers fan who asks the coffee shop clerk where the leads work if they saw the game and slurs, “Go Steelers”.