The following story first ran on July 31, but it bears repeating as it speaks to the state of Hollywood's attraction to Western Pennsylvania, including the new CBS show "Three Rivers," which is set in Pittsburgh and recently filmed scenes here.
Since this story ran, the filming of "Unstoppable" has started elsewhere in Pennsylvania;"Love and Other Drugs" began shooting in Pittsburgh on Monday; and "The Next Three Days" is scheduled to roll Oct. 3. Since this story first appeared, Judy Greer, Gabriel Macht, Hank Azaria and Oliver Platt were added to the "Love" cast.
It's the movie version of a G-20 summit: Denzel Washington, Jake Gyllenhaal and Russell Crowe. All coming to Pittsburgh to make three separate movies starting in late summer or early fall.
News of "Unstoppable" starring Washington and Chris Pine came last week and this week brings word that Gyllenhaal will star alongside Anne Hathaway and Josh Gad in "Love and Other Drugs" while Crowe has been cast in Paul Haggis' "The Next Three Days" for Lionsgate.
Edward Zwick is directing "Love and Other Drugs," written by Charles Randolph ("The Interpreter"). It was inspired by the Jamie Reidy nonfiction book, "Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman."
Gyllenhaal plays a salesman in the cutthroat world of pharmaceuticals and starts a relationship with a woman (Hathaway) with the early onset of Parkinson's disease.
"The Next Three Days" is an adaptation of the 2008 French nail-biter "Pour Elle" or loosely "Anything for Her" about a wife and mother convicted of a murder she insists she did not commit and her husband's desperate efforts to free her.
Lionsgate confirmed yesterday the movie will be set in Pittsburgh, and the writer-director of the Oscar-winning "Crash" told Variety that Crowe, playing a teacher, will function as an Everyman.
The story will explore faith and belief but he said, "The deeper theme here is, would you save the woman you loved if you knew that by doing so, you would turn into a man that woman could no longer love?"
Although the city has played host to many a star, from Jack Nicholson and Bruce Willis to Michael Douglas and Viggo Mortensen, this is an unprecedented triple play in the almost 20-year history of the Pittsburgh Film Office.
"This is a big deal for Pittsburgh," directly related to the Pennsylvania film tax-credit program, Dawn Keezer, director of the Pittsburgh Film Office, said yesterday. "That's why we're on the short list [of possible locations]. After that, we have to prove it."
Gyllenhaal may best be known for his Oscar-nominated turn in "Brokeback Mountain" but his roles have included an editorial cartoonist obsessed with a serial killer in "Zodiac," a CIA analyst in "Rendition" and a third-generation enlistee who finds himself in the first Gulf War in "Jarhead."
He will help to kick off summer 2010 with the fantasy-adventure "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time." (Gyllenhaal also has been floated as Joe Namath in a movie tracking the quarterback from Beaver Falls.)
Hathaway earned her first Oscar nomination for 2008's "Rachel Getting Married" as a woman fresh from rehab who arrives for her sister's wedding. It was a stunning showcase for Hathaway and a dramatic departure from her lighter "Get Smart" and "Princess Diaries" roles.
Gad, who will play Gyllenhaal's brother in "Love and Other Drugs," is a 2003 Carnegie Mellon University graduate who appeared in "The Rocker," the set-in-Pittsburgh sitcom "Back to You" and high-rolling "21."
Zwick and his Bedford Falls partner Marshall Herskovitz are producing "Love and Other Drugs," along with Scott Stuber and Randolph. The Fox 2000/New Regency movie will be shot entirely on location in and around Pittsburgh.
Zwick, one of the Oscar-winning producers of "Shakespeare in Love," directed such films as "Defiance," "Blood Diamond," "The Last Samurai" and "Glory," the Civil War epic which coincidentally earned Washington a Best Supporting Actor Oscar.
Post-Gazette movie editor Barbara Vancheri can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1632. Follow her Mad About the Movies blog at post-gazette.com/movies.