By Elizabeth Perry
Broadway Avenue in Stowe Township was shut down for two evenings to accommodate filming for the second season of the streaming series “American Rust.”
Stowe Police Detective Nicholas DiMichele was directing people away from the blocked-off street. The township native has been on the police force for four and a half years. DiMichele said he didn’t mind working with the television production because it was good to get the area media attention in a positive way.
“It’s good for the town,” DiMichele said. “I can think of worse things.”
The show’s first season, which was based on the 2010 novel of the same name by Phillipp Meyer, was filmed in part around McKees Rocks.
Several other Pittsburgh locations stood in for the fictional Pennsylvania town of Buell.
Dylan McCully, assistant location manager for the production, said Pittsburgh was going to be the setting for the new season, which departs from the source material.
“American Rust,” moved from Showtime to Amazon Freevee for the second season. McCully said the cast, lead by award-winning actor Jeff Daniels, was largely the same.
Extra Tammy Brant, 51, stood on the chilly street in a tan coat and knit scarf provided by the costume department. Brant, whose day job is working as a data specialist for the Upper St. Clair School District, got into acting work as a hobby. She saw a Facebook ad for extras for the film “Sweet Girl" starring Jason Momoa which was released in 2021.
“I was new to the area and thought it would be a good way to make friends,” Brant said.
Before then, she’d never acted at all. Despite being a novice, she was asked to say a line, which is still in the final cut of the film. Unfortunately, her face wasn’t onscreen, but her hand is still visible.
“I did it the first time and I was hooked. I think it’s a fun hobby,” Brant said. She’s gotten other friends involved in background acting.
She’s been involved in six productions since then, which attests to how many shows are being filmed in the Pittsburgh area. In the past 10 years, there have been about 50 productions according to the Pittsburgh Film Office, including two recent productions in McKees Rocks, a film called “The Deliverance” by Director Lee Daniels and the streaming series starring Jeremy Renner, “The Mayor of Kingstown.”
Sara Eve Rivera, operator of PMA Tattoo in the 600 block of Broadway, said their shop had been “uniquely unaffected” by the closure.
“Our clients usually make appointments,” Rivera said, so they didn’t have to worry about disruption to walk-in clientele.
Commissioner Dave Rugh said filming impacted foot traffic at Anytime Market, where as co-owner, he and partners plan to relaunch the store in the old Blue Eagle Market site on April 3 as Anytime 101.
“My partners are upset because we’re losing eight hours of business,” Rugh said.
Secretary Roberta Farls said the production company had arranged for the use of Broadway with her and with Chief Matt Preininger and compensation had been reached for the police officers’ time.
In the future, Commissioner’s President Kelly Cropper-Hall said she’d want to see the decision to close up the street put to a commissioner’s vote.
“Here’s what I want going forward and I don’t know how we do this but they have to literally come in and present us with something, a document or something,” Cropper-Hall said.