Pharmacist to appear in ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’
SCHENECTADY Frank Falvo vaulted the front counter at Aumiller’s Pharmacy.
It took him about two seconds. He’s been practicing.
Falvo, a pharmacist at Schenectady’s landmark drugstore, is preparing for a bit part in “The Place Beyond the Pines,” the big-screen, big-star movie currently shooting in Schenectady County. The film crew, led by director Derek Cianfrance, will use Aumiller’s for a scene in mid-September.
The crime movie stars Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper. Gosling plays Luke Glanton, a troubled motorcycle stunt rider who starts a life of crime to support his newborn son. That puts him at odds with Cooper’s rookie cop, Avery Cross. Their confrontation leads to a feud that spans several decades.
The process to secure cameo parts for both Aumiller’s and Glenville resident Falvo, 46, began in June.
“First of all, a single man comes in with a camera and says, ‘We might be interested in using this pharmacy for this movie,’ ” Falvo said Wednesday afternoon. “At this point, nobody knows anything about this. Sounds interesting — why not?”
A few days later, Falvo said, about six people were in the store. They took more pictures, asked questions and thought there might be a place for Falvo in the background of the scene.
“They came in again,” Falvo said, “and said, ‘We might want you to say a line.’ ”
Like hundreds of other local people, Falvo auditioned for the “Pines” team at the Ellis Medicine School of Nursing.
He read his prospective line: “Get that s--- out of your pocket.”
Another visit to the store by Cianfrance and his team came with another request.
“He said, ‘Do you think you can jump over this counter and chase somebody?’ ” Falvo said. “I said, ‘Are you kidding me? Sure I can. I’ve done it before; it wouldn’t be the first time.’ ”
Falvo has been told he will be on the run with a light-fingered character played by Dane DeHaan, who has been seen in the HBO series “In Treatment” and “True Blood.”
More screen time will go to Eva Mendes, who plays the mother of Glanton’s son. Actors Ben Mendelsohn and Ray Liotta also have roles.
Falvo thinks Cianfrance and the “Pines” set designers liked Aumiller’s for its wide aisles and old-fashioned interior. There are large racks of greeting cards on the left; cough and cold medication, aspirin and foot products in the center; and shampoo, skin lotions and cosmetics on the right. A large row of classic candy bars is in the back of the store, right in front of the counter Falvo expects to hurdle.
The business at State and Robinson streets, in the upper State Street area, has been Aumiller’s since 1947.
“I really think they just saw the ease of use, without district managers, vice presidents, corporate logos, corporate lawyers,” said Falvo, who has worked at Aumiller’s since 2004 and has been in the apothecary business for the past 20 years. “I think they wanted something that would make it nice and easy. I think they’re going to keep the name.”
The film crew has been shooting outside the city in Schenectady County. Shots scheduled this week at the First National Bank of Scotia on Mohawk Avenue have been postponed, according to Don Rittner, chairman of the Schenectady Film Commission.
Falvo said he never acted in school plays. But he did run track, both the 100- and 220-yard dashes, at Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons High School. And while he was a little nervous about the “Pines” prospect at first, now he’s just thrilled.
“It’s very exciting to be part of a movie that’s so big, that has so many big stars in it,” Falvo said. “I don’t know if I’ll be able to meet any of them.”
He said he has been warned by family and friends to keep his ego in check.
“I think he’s destined to go all the way,” said Brian Koehler, a fellow pharmacist. “His vibrant personality will get him through.”
“The Place Beyond the Pines” is scheduled to hit theaters in 2013.
“I think one of the weirdest things is going to be seeing it at the theater — if my scene doesn’t end up on the cutting room floor,” Falvo said. “It would be weird sitting in the theater watching it.”
Falvo added that the film company is paying owner Judy Aumiller to use the business. Falvo will even pick up a few bucks for his work in front of the camera.
The director, actors and camera, lighting and set personnel will only be able to use the store when the business is not open — Falvo said Aumiller’s doesn’t want to inconvenience customers.
The novice actor is game for any script additions. Falvo won’t mind getting shot in the pharmacy chase, if it will expand his role.
“Cool!” he said. “That would be cool. The more the better.”