Buzz building for ‘Pines’ gala Thursday night premiere
SCHENECTADY Think of downtown State Street as a little slice of Hollywood Thursday evening.
The red carpet will lead from the front lobby at Bow Tie Cinemas’ Super Six to the darkened corridor leading to the theaters premiering Derek Cianfrance’s “The Place Beyond the Pines.” After the 140-minute movie, hundreds of guests will join Cianfrance’s production crew and the film’s producers at Johnny’s, a chic new restaurant that opened at Center City last week.
And the stars expected to attend? Well, that’s still a bit of a mystery.
Young actor Emory Cohen, who plays AJ in “Pines,” is the only confirmed star attending the local premiere. But he might not be the only one there once the red carpet is rolled out.
Bradley Cooper, who plays a leading role as Avery Cross, is widely rumored to be attending, though neither the production company nor his publicist could say for certain. Both indicated that the Hollywood star, who is now working on a project in Boston, will try to attend but couldn’t be certain due to his filming obligations.
Others attending the film’s premiere in Manhattan late last month seemed confident they’d make the trip, even though they’re not listed on the official tip sheet released by Focus Features last week. Gabe Fazio, who plays a Schenectady detective, and Dane DeHaan, who stars as Jason, both indicated a desire to attend the first showing in Schenectady.
Not that the premiere will be short of actors. In truth, many of the people attending the Capital Region’s first showing of “Pines” have some part in the film, whether appearing as an extra in a crowd or being the state senator orating to that crowd.
“I’ve heard a lot about it,” said state Sen. Hugh Farley, who gives a rousing speech at the end of the film but has yet to see the footage shot of him in 2011. “It’s going to be an exciting evening.”
Cianfrance’s triptych film tells a multi-generational story of crime and consequences. The narrative begins in Schenectady during the mid-1990s and follows the life of a city police officer-turned-prosecutor, among others.
Though met with mixed reviews, the film has predictably generated a fair share of excitement throughout the city and Capital Region. With a buzz growing from the limited releases last month and trailers now showing on national television, tickets to Friday’s showing are starting to become scarce.
“There’s certainly a lot of excitement about the film,” said Joseph Masher, Bow Tie’s chief executive officer. “For a smaller [independent] film like this, it’s really unusual to have such a high number of advance sales.”
City police will have a few extra walking officers on duty Thursday, just in case crowd control is needed. Still, there’s no real blueprint for what to expect for a Hollywood premiere in downtown Schenectady.
“To be honest, we don’t know what to anticipate,” said Assistant Chief Mike Seber, who worked closely with the production crew during filming downtown.
The premiere will also be part reunion for Cianfrance’s crew, which spent the better part of the summer of 2011 living in downtown Schenectady. Filming was spread over roughly 45 days between late June and mid-September.
Some, like Cianfrance and his wife Shannon Plumb, rented houses for the summer. Others stayed at area hotels.
Cianfrance and the film’s lead actors — who also include Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes — have since spoken highly of the hospitality they were afforded during their stay. And the director was adamant about showing his appreciation by hosting a local premiere of the film before it’s released nationally.
Mayor Gary McCarthy was thrilled to have Cianfrance and his production crew back in the city, regardless of whether the film’s major stars join in the premiere. He said having the downtown premiere helps solidify the reputation the city has gradually built with its downtown arts and entertainment district.
“This just continues to build the reputation of the community as a destination for a wide variety of arts and entrainment events,” he said.