Philip Roth novel 'American Pastoral' to be filmed in Pittsburgh

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“American Pastoral,” a movie starring Ewan McGregor based on Philip Roth’s prize-winning novel, is back on track and coming to Pittsburgh to shoot next March. 

Lakeshore Entertainment confirmed Monday that it would return to the Pittsburgh area for a third time after filming “The Mothman Prophecies” starring Richard Gere here in 2001 and “One for the Money” with Katherine Heigl in 2010. 

“Lakeshore loves Pittsburgh, and it’s a perfect place to shoot for New Jersey,” a spokeswoman told the Post-Gazette, confirming the news first reported by Variety. Footage shot here in fall 2012 will be used to help the movie, which takes place from the late 1940s to late 70s, establish different seasons. “American Pastoral” is expected to film here for 40 days. 

Phillip Noyce, who directed Angelina Jolie in “Salt,” Michael Caine in “The Quiet American” and Kenneth Branagh in “Rabbit-Proof Fence” among other projects, will direct the movie. Fisher Stevens once had been attached to direct and talked, in a January 2013 interview, about scouting in Pittsburgh, which he called “beautiful.” 

John Romano, who wrote the screenplay for “The Lincoln Lawyer” based on Michael Connelly’s successful courtroom thriller about an attorney operating out of the back of his Lincoln sedan, is adapting Mr. Roth’‍s book for the big screen. Lakeshore executives Tom Rosenberg and Gary Lucchesi will produce “American Pastoral.”  

The book, which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1998, is about Swede Levov, a legendary athlete at his Newark high school (class of 1950) who grows up in the postwar boom, marries a former beauty queen and inherits his father’‍s glove factory. 

But in 1968, the couple’s teenage daughter plants a homemade bomb in the village post office, a misguided and deadly attack on a symbol of the government during the Vietnam War. She disappears into something similar to the Weather Underground, and lives and dreams turn to ashes.

News about “American Pastoral” comes as “Southpaw” enters its second week of filming in Indiana County under director Antoine Fuqua and with a cast led by Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Forest Whitaker and boxing champ Victor Ortiz.

Also shooting here is “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” based on Point Breeze native Jesse Andrews‘‍ first novel, a wry coming-of-age story about a teenage oddball, Greg, forced to befriend a classmate with cancer. Director is Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and the cast includes Thomas Mann as Greg, Nick Offerman and Connie Britton as his parents, RJ Cyler as Earl, Olivia Cooke as the ailing Rachel and Jon Bernthal as a teacher. 


Movie editor Barbara Vancheri: bvancheri@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1632.

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