Pittsburgh Film Office Celebrates 3 Movies Filmed in the Region

I love Fridays! Not only because it is the beginning of the weekend, but because Friday night is all about the movies for me.

For tonight, I’ve already rounded up a group of friends to see Unstoppable, a 20th Century Fox action-packed thriller directed by Tony Scott, starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pine (Star Trek), and Rosario Dawson (Seven Pounds, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief).

Unstoppable is the first of three movies filmed in southwestern Pennsylvania in 2009 to premiere this month. The other two are The Next Three Days and Love and Other Drugs.

This exciting string of movie premieres is the reason why the Pittsburgh Film Office said November should now be “Pittsburgh Movie Month.” The Pittsburgh Film Office's mission is to showcase the greater southwestern Pennsylvania region as a great location for movie, television and commercial productions. The office opened in 1990, and has since brought more than 99 feature films and television productions to southwestern Pennsylvania. An effort that generates more than $490 million for the region.

“We are so proud to be celebrating such an amazing milestone, and want to thank all of the residents, local crew, business owners and government officials for their support in the making of these three films,” said Dawn Keezer, director of the Pittsburgh Film Office.

How Filming On Location Helps The Local Economy

Whenever a movie is filmed on location in a town or city, it always helps improve the local economy of that area. In this case, there is no exception. The Pittsburgh Film Office shared that Unstoppable, The Next Three Days and Love and Other Drugs have added much needed capital to Pennsylvania’s economy. While filming in the state for a few months in 2009, these productions:

  • hired 633 local crew members,
  • booked 40,159 hotel room nights,
  • spent more than $1 million on car rentals,
  • spent more than $1.7 million on construction supplies,
  • spent more than $1.2 million on local groceries and supplies through their catering departments, and
  • paid more than $1.4 million to residents and local businesses for use of their locations.


Described as “an adrenaline-infused blue collar action-drama that will keep you on the edge of your seats,” Unstoppable was inspired by true events taken place in 2001 when a CSX freight train sped through northwest Ohio due to an engineer's mistake. Of course, Director Tony Scott has punched up the drama and danger factor by having the train in the movie unmanned and carrying highly hazardous, inflammable cargo on board. The runaway train becomes a speeding missile heading to a densely populated Pennsylvania town as veteran train engineer (Denzel Washington) and rookie conductor (Chris Pine) partner up trying to stop the deadly collisions.

This is Tony Scott’s fifth project with Denzel Washington. Their previous movies together are Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, Deja Vu, Man on Fire, and Crimson Tide. Mr. Scott said that he loved filming in Pennsylvania because many of the towns there reminded him of his native northern England. He filmed Unstoppable from September to December 2009, capturing the gorgeous fall foliage scenery as well as the huge snowstorms of Pennsylvania.

Unstoppable was filmed in many Pennsylvania towns and cities, including Emporium, Tyrone, Milesburg, Port Allegany, Eldred, Port Mathilda, Turtle Point, Lawrenceville, Monaca, Cargenie and Pittsburgh. During the initial stage of choosing film locations, Mr. Scott sent location scouts to Colorado and Montana to explore the option of using the wide open landscapes of the "Marlboro country" for the movie. He soon changed his mind when he realized that the drama and danger would escalate if the setting is a more densely populated area. As a result, the production made southwestern Pennsylvania its home for the latter months of 2009.

If you live in western Pennsylvania, you will recognize snapshots of Beaver County along with Lawrenceville, Carnegie, Monroeville, and Downtown's One PPG Place. Also, tune in to the boardroom scene in the movie where through its windows, you can see landscapes of the North Shore all the way to the yellow benches of Heinz Field.

Ohio, because of its generous film tax credit (up to $3.8 million), was also a stunt double for Pennsylvania. The movie was filmed in several eastern and southeastern Ohio locations, including Martins Ferry, Steubenville and Bellaire.

Want to read more on the movie? Vanity Fair wrote a great article giving us a behind-the-scene look of Unstoppable.

The Next Three Days

The Next Three Days, to be released next on November 19, is a Lionsgate thriller directed by Paul Haggis, starring Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks and Liam Neeson. Filmed in an 8-mile radius area of Pittsburgh, including Oakland, the North Side, Regent Square, the South Side and Pittsburgh International Airport, The Next Three Days is about the trials and tribulations of a marriage when the wife is accused of murder and her husband tries to break her out of prison. The movie was also filmed at a local hospital, the Allegheny County Jail, and on Ross Street in downtown Pittsburgh. Many local movie extras grace the screen dressed in Steelers gear. One scene shot at the Luna Café will dub as a New York City scene.

“Our director wrote the script around Pittsburgh. We’re highlighting a lot of the town," the movie's production supervisor John Fedynech stated. "A lot of the other movies may be coming to Pittsburgh just to be here. We’re really taking advantage of what the city has to offer.”

Love And Other Drugs

Love and Other Drugs, the third movie filmed in Pennsylvania in 2009, will be released on November 24. A Bedford Falls and Fox 2000 Pictures production starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway, directed by Ed Zwick, it's a romantic comedy inspired by Jamie Reidy’s memoir, “Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman.” The plot centers on a free-spirited young woman named Maggie (Hathaway) who finally meets someone who can impress her, a charming fellow named Jamie (Gyllenhaal).

The movie was filmed on location in downtown Pittsburgh, the Hill District, the North Side, Oakland, Fox Chapel, Sewickley, McKees Rocks, McCandless, Monongahela, Brownsville, Aliquippa and Lawrenceville. One of the scenes in the movie was filmed at Buena Vista Coffee, a locally owned and operated coffee shop on the Mexican War Streets.

For more on this movie, watch this fun video clip of the Vogue interview of Anne Hathaway.

Pittsburgh Film Office

The Pittsburgh Film Office posts on their website the following:

"In the 20-year history of the PFO it is unprecedented that there will be three films at the box-office simultaneously by November 24 that all shot in the region."

Congratulations to our client, the Pittsburgh Film Office! We're so proud of you.

As for me, I can’t wait to catch Unstoppable tonight. It’s supposed to be “the ride of a lifetime.” Let’s see!


PHOTO CREDIT: Banner image of Unstoppable via Google.