SCHENECTADY Actor Ryan Gosling got a chance to spend some time in one of the Schenectady’s least desirable places: the city jail.
The Hollywood heartthrob was booked, arraigned in city court and then shuffled into the police department’s lockup, where he stayed for the better part of 10 hours from Friday into Saturday. Bail was set at $2,500, but police officials weren’t exactly sure what charges he was facing.
“We did, we locked him up,” acknowledged Assistant Chief Michael Seber. Although technically it was Luke Glanton, Gosling’s character in director Derek Cianfrance’s “The Place Beyond the Pines” who drew the stint behind bars. And unlike most of the jail’s other overnight visitors, he was let off scot-free by morning.
“He played his part well,” Seber said. “He’s a real good actor.”
To make the jail scene viable, city court conducted an unusual evening session, where all prisoners were arraigned and either set free on bail or transferred to the Schenectady County Jail on State Street. Any prisoners brought in during the shoot were stowed in holding rooms until filming was done in the jail.
The jail scene was among several shot in the city over the past three days, including others at the landmark St. John the Evangelist Church on Union Street and the Trustco Bank on Brandywine Avenue. The scene at Trustco — an apparent bank robbery — featured Gosling fleeing down the street and weaving through traffic while being pursued by a pair of Schenectady Police cruisers from the 1990s.
The white cruisers weren’t actual police cars from the department, but rather a pair of donated Caprice Classic cars found on Craigslist.org. City police were able to dig up several of the old emblems to make them look authentic, and the results were convincing.
“They almost look like the originals,” said Lt. Jim Sanders, who got a bit nostalgic watching the stunt crews commandeer the vehicles. “It warps you back in time a little bit.”
In the film, Gosling stars as a stunt motorcycle rider who turns to a life of crime to support his newborn child. He is doggedly pursued by Avery Cross, a rookie cop portrayed by Bradley Cooper, spurring a generational feud that extends from his career in law enforcement through his election as county district attorney.
Cianfrance is also relying on a number of local people to fill ancillary roles in the flick. For instance, Schenectady County public defender Mark Caruso is featured in the film during Gosling’s arraignment.
Monday’s filming was far more closed to the public than others during the past two weeks. City police barricaded all of the streets leading toward a quarter-mile swath of Brandywine and were fairly adamant about keeping interlopers out.
Traffic was occasionally allowed to pass when there was a pause in the filming and the closed section of the city didn’t seem to cause much hassle until rush hour. Once the late-afternoon commute began, however, a number of traffic snarls formed throughout the city.
“They got half the city blocked off,” bristled one woman as she left the Dollar Tree on State Street. “It’s ridiculous.”
The limited public access also left fans of the movie on the outside looking in. City resident Jenna Puorto was contemplating ways that she and a friend might be able to get past a watchful officer at the barricade on Swan Street; she contemplated telling the officer she was with the production or that she had an appointment at a tattoo parlor closer to the action.
“I thought we’d get much closer than this.”
Others were seemingly unaware of the filming. Emily Mion of Clifton Park was driving through the city thinking there might be some sort of horrible accident or police raid when she saw the barricades, but was pleasantly surprised to find it was a movie shoot.
“It’s crazy,” she said. “Nothing like this ever happens around here.”