Pittsburgh's beauty is star attraction in 'She's Out of My League'
By Michael Machosky
Published: Thursday, March 11, 2010,
"She's Out of My League"revolves around one of those incredible couplings that seem to happen only in the movies.
The stunningly beautiful Molly (Alice Eve) -- described as a "hard 10" -- somehow falls for the much-less-attractive airline security guard, Kirk (Jay Baruchel).
Another hard 10 shines in "She's Out of My League":
The film was shot here in 2008, and hits movie screens Friday.
"Honestly, with my tongue nowhere near my cheek, I say this: The movie is many things, not the least of which is that it's a love letter to Pittsburgh," says Baruchel ("Knocked Up," "Tropic Thunder"), the film's lanky, perpetually bewildered leading man.
"I don't think your city has ever looked so beautiful in a movie before," he says. "And I don't think that it's anything specific we did. I think that people have always tried to frame it a certain way -- that it's a dirty steel town -- and we just embraced how beautiful it is. For whatever reason, whenever people talk about Pittsburgh, nobody ever mentions that -- the gorgeous hills, all the bridges, the old architecture, the neighborhoods. There's just so much beauty there."
Okay, Jay, take it easy -- you had us at, "honestly." We respond well to flattery here.
Of course, the 28-year-old, up-and-coming comic actor was destined to have a great time here -- and not just because he's getting the girl, and the leading role in a Hollywood film. He's Canadian, after all.
"Going to the Igloo -- that's one of the last great cathedrals (of hockey)," says Baruchel. "Not only did we get to shoot there and pay homage to it, there's the fact that, as a fan, I got to visit it. The NHL and the Pens and Islanders allowed us to shoot during a game. But an average shooting day is 12-14 hours, and we can't interrupt the fans too much, so we got what we could during the game, and had another two to three days at the Arena to sort of fake it."
While shooting a scene at Mellon Arena, Baruchel got to witness a truly rare event in hockey -- a Georges Laraque breakaway goal. The former Pens tough guy is known more for pounding opponents into a pulp than scoring. But the goal made it into the movie.
"Oh, that was real," says Baruchel. "The prettty slow-mo goal isn't Hossa or Crosby, it's Laraque. And it is quite a lovely goal."
"She's Out of My League" is kind of an odd movie -- it doesn't easily fit into the usual genres. One way to describe it might be as a romantic comedy that's accessible to guys.
Baruchel plays a TSA agent, who works at the airport with his three best friends since high school -- the obnoxious goofballs Jack (Mike Vogel) and Stainer (comedian T.J. Miller), and the sweetly sincere Devon (Nate Torrence).
"It's kind of hard to do fake fun, and fake camaraderie and fake friendship," says Baruchel. "I don't care who the actor is, it's hard to pretend to like someone when you don't. The coolest thing was that I walked away from this movie with three more best friends. I do love Nate and T.J. and Mike, and find them hilarious."
Torrence agrees and says their camaraderie is easy to see onscreen.
"There's scenes where I watch it, as an actor, and don't know when I'm fake laughing, and laughing for real," he says. "There were times where they actually use an edit where I broke (character) and was laughing."
The reason the four young actors got along so well, Torrence say, is because "none of us had that Hollywood diva attitude. We're mostly Midwestern or small-town kids, having fun."
A lot of scenes take place at the Pittsburgh International Airport. Once the film crew passed through security each morning, they were locked in for the rest of the day.
"You're hanging out that much, you pretty much have to become really good friends," says Torrence. "It's either that or kill each other."
On days off, it was basically more of the same.
"T.J. (Miller) was doing (standup) shows down at the Waterfront -- we'd go down and support him," says Torrence. "When we'd have a night off on the weekend, the whole cast would sneak down to Dave & Buster's. We'd have air hockey tournaments. It felt like summer camp."
And Alice Eve, who plays the girl that everybody thinks is out of Kirk's league•
"She's lovely," says Baruchel. "Being English, she can drink anyone under the table. Quite smart as well, and quite easygoing. She loved Pittsburgh as well. The only thing I was scared about driving around Pittsburgh is that people would think she was Sienna Miller."
He's referring to the English actress who infamously dubbed the city (expletive that rhymes with Pitts)-burgh in a Rolling Stone interview.
"What a stupid thing to say!" says Baruchel. "Forgive me, everyone's prone to moments of insanity, but that really, really bugged me."
"I have a great deal of affection for the town. The moment I got off the plane, I wouldn't say I was home, but I felt pretty close to it."
• Pittsburgh International Airport
• Polar bears swimming in the "underwater tunnel" at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
• The bridge over Lake Elizabeth in West Park, on the North Side, at sunset
• A Penguins hockey game at the Igloo played against the Islanders
• A party at the Brillobox in Bloomfield
• A party at the Andy Warhol Museum
• A date at PNC Park
• The Regional Enterprise Tower housing Alice Eve's character's loft apartment
• An outdoor dinner in Market Square, and benches in front of Primanti Brothers
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