Judging from the attendees for Lights, Camera, Pittsburgh!, the far-reaching appeal of movies is obvious. The cross-generational crowd for this bus tour of local film locations includes hip, young film-buffs, begrudging tweens and nostalgic older folks alike.
But when asked what their favorite movie filmed in Pittsburgh is, even non-natives immediately have an opinion — except for maybe those torn between Flashdance and Striking Distance.
The two-and-a-half-hour tours from Pittsburgh Tours & More and the Pittsburgh Film Office began May 31.
"I don't know why I was thinking it would be skewed more to the hipster crowd, which we do get," says Sherris Moreira, director of Pittsburgh Tours & More (a division of the Pittsburgh Transportation Group, whose other ventures include Yellow Cab). "But we've been actually been getting way more women in their 50s or 60s, calling and getting their girlfriends together, which is awesome."
The tour of more than 30 film and TV locations — from The Silence of the Lambs to The Perks of Being a Wallflower — encourages its diverse audience to share.
When visiting Heinz Field to mark The Dark Knight Rises, for instance, don't be surprised if a tourmate chimes in about his experience as an extra, wearing a Gotham Rogues scarf in the dog days of summer and watching the Steelers' home get detonated.
Arrival at each filming location is preceded by a film clip, shown on the 24-seat bus, and anecdotes from the tour guides. For example, a parking garage Downtown was chosen as Jack Reacher's sniper post because of the elegant triangle it formed with the edge of PNC Park and the midpoint of the Fort Duquesne Bridge.
Pittsburgh is "an attractive place for filmmakers. You can be city, you can be country, we've got so many different identities," says Moreira. "Also, we who live here forget that there's a lot of really friendly people here. It's kind of our reputation that we're willing to do a lot for each other."
The tours continue on selected Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 25.
Each ticket includes a gift bag of coupons and snacks, a ride up the Duquesne Incline (whose upper platform serves as the tour's starting point), and a special surprise for fans of George A. Romero. In Moreira's words, "Nothing beats a zombie attacking your shuttle."