Taylor Lautner filming in Mt. Lebanon
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It's a teenage girl's fantasy -- she meets a handsome movie star, and they fall in love.
For teens in Mt. Lebanon, that dream has never seemed so tantalizingly within reach.
Over the next three months, Taylor Lautner, 18, made famous by his role as Jacob Black, a werewolf in the "Twilight" film series, and made even more famous by his washboard abs, will be filming a movie in Mt. Lebanon and other locations in and around Pittsburgh.
Young girls, some in cars, most on foot, have become a common sight around Mt. Lebanon's Virginia Manor neighborhood, hoping to catch a glimpse of the reportedly unattached teen heartthrob.
"They are all hoping he will look out the window and fall in love," said Rachel Schuchman, who works at The Coffee Tree Roasters on Beverly Road.
Ms. Schuchman, at 24, is a few years older than the bulk of Mr. Lautner's fan base. Instead of pining for him, she serves cold coffee drinks to young girls on their way to or from the filming location.
"It's just craziness. Little girls everywhere," she said.
Mr. Lautner's new movie, "Abduction," directed by John Singleton, is a thriller about a young man who discovers the people who raised him are not his real parents.
Seated around tables in The Coffee Tree Roasters on a recent afternoon, five teenage girls discussed Mr. Lautner's physique as the teenage boys sitting with them listened in, looking uncomfortable or even intimidated.
The girls said they had already driven or walked by the film locations without seeing Mr. Lautner. But it's summer, school is out and one of their age group's biggest celebrities is in their town. They plan to go back.
And besides, Chickie Brandy, 15, said she had heard a story about Mr. Lautner coming outside and speaking to a friend of hers after she sat across from his house for two hours. That could happen to them, they theorize.
Pittsburgh has played host to movie stars before -- Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Viggo Mortensen and Michael Douglas. But few, if any, have inspired this degree of fan frenzy.
The Pittsburgh Film Office says it has received more calls -- many from older women, likely phoning on behalf of their daughters -- than for any other star who's come here on location. The inquiries started "as soon as it was announced that he would be in town," said Dawn Keezer, director of the film office.
The young actor's rise to fame has been quick, due to the extreme popularity of Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" book series and the movie adaptations.
"He's the heartthrob right now," said Marissa Lutz, 15, who lives in the same neighborhood as the film shoot.
She and her mother, Anne Lutz Zacharias, have known for a few months that Mr. Lautner would be filming in their neighborhood -- some family friends turned down an offer to have scenes shot at their house. At least two other neighbors, however, agreed to let the film crews in.
Marissa knows one person who believes she spotted the actor as he walked from a cab into a house, and she knows many more who are going to somewhat extreme measures to try to catch a glimpse of him.
At one point, a rumor started that Mr. Lautner jogs in the neighborhood at 4:30 a.m. Marissa said some of her friends have gotten out of bed before dawn in hopes of spotting him, but to no avail.
"We don't even know if it's true, but he has to work out at some point," she said.
She's not planning on waking up before dawn to look for him, but Marissa does want to see him while he's in her neighborhood. She went to an extras casting call at Carnegie Mellon University last week, along with 2,000 other people.
She hasn't gotten a call back yet, but she's hoping to be included in a rumored pool party scene.
"I think it's fun," Mrs. Zacharias said. "It will make for good stories."
The frenzy could move to the northern suburbs next week, when filming shifts to Hampton High School.
First Published July 10, 2010 12:00 am