'Superbad' director Greg Mottola set to film in Pittsburgh
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Greg Mottola, the director of the superhot "Superbad," is returning to Pittsburgh to make a comedy he wrote called "Adventureland."
Set in summer 1987, "Adventureland" is about an uptight, recent college grad who is forced to take a degrading minimum-wage job at an amusement park when he realizes he cannot afford his dream European tour. But along the way, he discovers love, friendship and newfound maturity.
Jesse Eisenberg, who played the elder son in the wrenching "The Squid and the Whale," will star, according to a press release from Miramax Films, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and This is that corporation.
Production is scheduled to start in October, and filmmakers have scouted Kennywood and received photos of Idlewild Park. Mary Lou Rosemeyer, Kennywood spokeswoman, said the park has been approached before but it cannot displace patrons or endorse negative stories (such as coaster accidents).
"The story line for this really sounds good. Amazingly, it is the one time of year that it's even thinkable to do it, because our rides are still in operation for Phantom Fright Nights but we're closed during the week. So while we are still doing a great deal of work during that time, our major maintenance is all done in the winter."
No contracts have been signed but Rosemeyer expects to talk again to the filmmakers next week and is optimistic that a deal will be reached.
The news came days after the R-rated teen comedy "Superbad" opened at No. 1 with $31.2 million.
"We are thrilled to be working with Greg Mottola. It's so rare to read a smart comedy like this with great characters and emotional depth," Keri Putman, Miramax production president, said in a statement announcing the project.
Producers Ted Hope and Anne Carey added, "We can't wait to bring this unique blend of humor and heart to the screen now that he has been so fully embraced by the audience."
Mottola honed his skills at Carnegie Mellon University, where he received a degree in art in 1986, and Pittsburgh Filmmakers before attending graduate film school at Columbia University.
He shot "Daytrippers," a festival favorite starring Hope Davis, Stanley Tucci, Parker Posey and others, in 16 days for about $65,000. His credits also include directing episodes of TV's "Undeclared," "Arrested Development" and "The Comeback."
Brady Lewis, director of education at Pittsburgh Filmmakers, remembers Mottola from an advanced 16mm production class. He returned to town when one of his shorts was featured in the Black Maria Film and Video Festival and provided a quote for a Filmmakers brochure and, later, ad.
Lewis, who has kept in sporadic touch, recalls asking Mottola how he could make "Daytrippers" for such a modest amount, given his cast. "I had been living in New York for 10 or 12 years and was involved in theater circles and they were all my friends," he told Lewis, and they essentially worked for free.
Lewis hopes to extend an invitation to see Filmmakers' digs and talk to a class. When the nonprofit corporation is asked about artist alums, it won't hurt to name-drop the director of "Superbad."
"And he was a nice person, too, so that makes it better."
Dawn Keezer, director of the Pittsburgh Film Office, said "Adventureland" could be the first of many projects this fall and winter. "This will be a great project for the area and it is a direct result of the new film incentive program put into place by Governor Rendell."
In fact, director Gavin Rapp is preparing to shoot a noir crime drama called "Trapped." From Winter Morning Pictures, it will star Corbin Bernsen and Tom Atkins and film in and around Pittsburgh starting next month.
First Published August 23, 2007 9:25 pm