Stars walk red carpet for ‘Pines’ premiere
Cast, crew fondly recall filming movie in Schenectady
NEW YORK Ryan Gosling admits he went overboard with the temporary tattoos in “The Place Beyond the Pines.”
The Hollywood superstar and a friend spent months designing tough-guy tats so he’d play a more convincing Luke Glanton, a hardscrabble stunt bike rider-turned-outlaw. But what started out as a few choice tattoos quickly turned into many.
Gosling even placed a small dagger dripping blood by his left eye — a decision that he immediately came to regret. He begged director Derek Cianfrance to let him at least remove the face tattoo, only to find his pleas fall on deaf ears.
Local premiere set
“He told me this is a film about consequence,” Gosling recalled from the red carpet at the Landmark Sunshine Theater New York City Thursday. “And there are consequences you have to live with.”
Gosling has long since shed the teardrop dagger tattoo. Its legacy, however, continued on in the large movie posters lining the red carpet and in questions he was peppered with by the media.
Gosling and Cianfrance joined many of the other stars featured in “Pines” Thursday, ushering in the New York premiere of the movie shot exclusively in and around Schenectady. The film opens in select theaters in Manhattan and Los Angeles today, before premiering in the Electric City on April 11.
Other stars turning out for the premiere included Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Dane DeHaan, Ray Liota and Emory Cohen. Former Faith No More frontman Mike Patton, who wrote the musical score, was also on hand for the showing, as was acclaimed film critic James Lipton, who acknowledged being eager to see the film.
“The Place Beyond the Pines” is a story told in three parts, detailing what happens when Glanton learns he has a child with an old flame. With almost no way to support the child, he turns to a life of crime.
Then, after a botched robbery, Glanton’s path intersects with Avery Cross, the son of a powerful Schenectady judge who joined the Schenectady Police to step out of his father’s shadow. The chance meeting between Glanton and Cross spawns a generational conflict that spreads throughout the narrative.
Surrounded by cameras and shouting photographers, Cianfrance told how the oddly placed tattoo helped draw Gosling deep into Glanton’s character. The director recalled one scene at St. John the Evangelist Church in Schenectady in which Glanton was supposed to watch his ex-girlfriend and another man christen his infant son.
As written, Glanton was supposed enter the church and seethe with anger. But when it came to shooting the scene before hundreds of local residents dressed in church clothes, the mood came out much differently.
“Ryan was a marked man, literally,” Cianfrance recalled of the scene. “He couldn’t fit in anywhere. He went to the corner of the church … Then I noticed in his close-up he wasn’t boiling with rage. He was trembling with fear and regret, with humiliation and mortification. As a friend I wanted to shut off the camera and hug him and tell him it’s just for pretend.”
The stars of the film spoke glowingly of Cianfrance and the experience of filming with him. Eva Mendes said she readily answered the call to play Romina, the mother of Glanton’s child, because of her respect for Cianfrance’s work.
“I put him on my hit list,” she said from the red carpet.
The stars and the film’s producers were also quick to praise the many who helped in Schenectady. Lynette Howell, one of several producers, credited the help they received for allowing the film to be shot so successfully.
“The city was incredibly embracing to us,” she said. “And we pretty much put the whole city in the movie.”
Indeed, the film features credited roles for more than three dozen residents, including many who had lines in the film. “Pines” also incorporated roughly 2,000 extras pulled from Schenectady and many of the surrounding towns.
In a sense, that’s what makes the film so convincing, said Alex Orlovsky, another of the producers. He said capturing the Hollywood actors among local people in their normal setting helped create a realistic aura for “The Place Beyond the Pines.”
“We never could have made the movie anywhere else,” he said.
Emory Cohen, the young actor who plays AJ, the teenage son of Cooper’s character, appreciated working with so many inexperienced actors. He said his favorite scene was shot with Sarah Curcio, a Schenectady High School guidance counselor who had no experience acting.
“You have no idea what they’re going to say and they’re just doing what they normally do and you’re forced [as a character] to live in their world,” he said.
Though the film has received mixed reviews from critics, it’s been a hit with the handful of Capital Region residents who have seen it. Don Rittner, head of the Schenectady Film Commission, spoke glowingly of the performances he saw during Thursday’s premiere.
“It was very powerful,” he said of the film, which he was instrumental in bringing to the city. “Everybody put in such a great performance.”
Rittner, who helped scout locations for the production company and find lodging for the crew, was also pleased to see the finished product. He recalled standing behind the cameraman for many of the scenes.
“Tonight I saw the other side of the camera, so to speak,” he said.
Reach Gazette reporter Justin Mason at 395-3113 or firstname.lastname@example.org.