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Parting shot: Extras flock downtown as ‘Pines’ filming nears end (with photo gallery)

Thursday, September 22, 2011
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Extras for "The Place Beyond the Pines" wait in line at St. George's Hellenic Center in Schenectady on Wednesday.
Extras for "The Place Beyond the Pines" wait in line at St. George's Hellenic Center in Schenectady on Wednesday.

— A long line of people dressed in their Sunday best and holding garment bags formed Wednesday afternoon outside a back entrance to St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church Hellenic Center.

They weren’t going to church. They were getting ready to appear as extras in Derek Cianfrance’s “The Place Beyond the Pines” being filmed locally.

People from all over the area came out for a chance to be in the background in a scene on Liberty Street where the character played by actor Bradley Cooper attends a victory rally after winning an election.

Jenn Vucetic of Clifton Park was spending her wedding anniversary outside the church for a chance to be in a scene with Cooper. “I’m pretty excited,” she said.

Vucetic likes attending local political rallies so acting wasn’t required. “This is right up my alley,” she said.

Others skipped family commitments to appear in the movie. Denise Ritz of Guilderland was missing her 12-year-old son’s first soccer game, but she said he seemed to understand.

“I got the two thumbs up,” she said. “What are the chances of this happening?”

The family already has a connection to the movie as Ritz’s husband, Ed, a Schenectady police officer, got to meet Cooper. The actor plays a police officer turned district attorney who is pursuing a character played by Ryan Gosling, who turns to robbing banks to support his infant son.

“He talked to him about his role,” Denise Ritz said.

The production is winding down with only about another week of shooting.

Some of those waiting in line to be extras said they already knew

someone who was in another scene. Shelley Minahan of Alplaus said her children were in a scene where they were seeking autographs from Gosling’s motorcycle racer character at the Altamont Fair.

“It’s exciting to have a little bit of movie making in town,” she said.

The men were in suits and the women in skirts or pant suits while they waited to enter the holding area.

“They told us to dress professionally — bring changes of clothes. And they said don’t come hungry,” Minahan said.

It was expected to be a long shoot. A movie official said that the crew had reserved the building until midnight.

Terry Phillips of Glenville said his grandson was also in the scene with Gosling at the fair. And while not in the movie, his son works at First National Bank of Scotia, which was used in the movie.

“It’s probably as close as I’ll ever get to possibly being seen in the movie so I don’t want to miss this chance,” Phillips said.

Nilsen Polanco of Niskayuna said she couldn’t pass up a chance to be in a scene with Cooper. “He’s cute.”

Johnna Webb of Scotia said she met Cooper once already. “I was actually standing outside the police station and he came out. I got my picture with him. He’s pretty cool. He’s a nice guy.”

Union College student Lucas First of Loudonville said he was excited to be a part of the action. “I’m a big movie fan. It’s not too often it comes to Schenectady, New York.”

 
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