Mt. Pleasant — a moviemaking town
For 18 days in December, independent film company Narrator Entertainment turned places in and around Mt. Pleasant into movie sets for a feature film.
Jeff Landy, Mt. Pleasant Borough manager, said the municipality has been approached by several companies over the past few months about filming movies in town.
“We think it's exciting to be able to have people look at Mt. Pleasant as a place to shoot a movie. They could have chosen a lot of places, and it's nice to know they chose the Mt. Pleasant area,” Landy said.
Ruffsdale native Jeremy Phillips of Los Angeles is the writer and director of “1/1.”
“It's literally a coming-of-age story of a 20-year-old girl growing into womanhood, understanding her teenage issues and understanding the bigger world. It's really about the moment when you realize there are things outside of yourself,” said the movie's producer, Cassidy Lunnen.
A graduate of Southmoreland High School, Phillips has degrees from Duquesne University and the University of Southern California. He has written and directed commercials and music videos and has written another feature film, which is yet to be released.
He said he was inspired to write “1/1” because of the death of John Hughes, who wrote and directed several hit movies in the 1980s, including “National Lampoons Vacation,” “Ferris Bueller's Day Off” and “The Breakfast Club.”
“That makes that fact that we were able to get Judd Nelson, who was in his ‘Breakfast Club,' to play the father even better,” Phillips said.
Phillips said when he wrote the original screenplay, he pictured many places from his childhood. While he and Lunnen considered filming in Los Angeles, they knew in order to do it right they had to come the region to shoot it.
Several local places were featured in the film, including Smillie's Family Restaurant on Route 819 in Mt. Pleasant, a house and Schaeffer's Corner Market in Ruffsdale, The Endzone in Mt. Pleasant, Mt. Pleasant's Main Street, the Common Wealth Rehabilitation Center in New Stanton and the Minis Training Technology Center in Greene County.
“Schaeffer's Market was written in the script, and when I was writing the script, the character goes into a convenience store, and when I wrote it I had pictured Schaeffer's Market and it's just amazing to be shooting there,” Phillips said.
Schaeffer's Market owner Kristen Ranker said when she got the call about her market being used for the film, she thought they were kidding.
Lunnen said she was impressed with how well they were treated while filming in the area.
The movie stars Lindsey Shaw, who plays the main character Lissa. Shaw is best known for her roles in television, including Paige McCullers on ABC Family's “Pretty Little Liars” and Jennifer Mosely on “Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide.”
“I'm completely enamored with this place. It just reminds me of where I grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska, and I haven't seen snow in about 12 years so it's been really nice to be here,” Shaw said.
Leland Wheeler plays Lissa's best friend, Daniel. Wheeler grew up in Wheeling, W.Va., and resides in Los Angeles. He said he was happy to be so close to home and was able to spend some time there while in the area.
Shaw and Wheeler spoke very highly of the business owners who hosted them, and Shaw said Phillips' mother, Mary Jane Phillips, made them feel very welcome.
Marie Murphy said the feeling is mutual.
“They are the most amazing group of people I have ever met. They are just so full of energy and just so genuinely nice, and Lindsey is just naturally beautiful inside. They just can't thank you enough and are so appreciative,” Murphy said. “The experience is just one of a lifetime.”
Lunnen said 80 percent of the crew was hired in the Pittsburgh area, and many locals worked as extras on the film.
Leah Panzella, 22, of Mt. Pleasant worked as an extra in a party scene shot at The Endzone where she works as a bartender.
“I think it's great! There is a lot of energy, and it's a lot of fun,” Panzella said.
Lunnen said the movie also stars Dendrie Taylor as the main character's mother. Taylor is known for roles in “Sons of Anarchy,” “The Fighter,” “Jarhead” and “Out of the Furnace.”
Phillips said the movie is expected to be released in 2015 and he hopes to have a local premiere.
Linda Harkcom is a contributing writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Housing market remains ‘disaster’ in Westmoreland County
- Westmoreland judges’ caseloads unlikely to affect district boundary changes
- New Ohiopyle park manager ready for big challenge that comes with job
- Mt. Pleasant seeks on-street bike trail through downtown
- Northampton man has four major drug arrests in Western Pa. since 2009
- West Overton museum to host Civil War exhibit
- Jeannette traffic stop leads to drug charges
- Chemical mix sickens two from South Greensburg