News Column

Lights, camera, action in Oakmont [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (PA)]

August 28, 2013

YellowBrix

New York Times bestselling author John Green is excited to watch one of his movies come to life -- and he's doing it in Oakmont.

For the next two weeks, Fox's "The Fault in Our Stars" will be filming at a home on Eleventh Street between Hulton Road and Virginia Avenue.

The movie is an adaptation of Green's young adult novel of the same name.

The story follows two terminally ill teenagers, Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus "Gus" Waters, who meet in a support group for children with cancer and fall in love.

Oscar-nominated actress Shailene Woodley is playing Hazel opposite Ansel Elgort's Augustus. Other stars include Laura Dern, Sam Trammel and Nat Wolff.

The movie's release date has not been announced.

Filming began on Monday, and Green has been watching the magic happen on set.

"It's very surreal," he said Tuesday. "It's hugely fulfilling to see something that existed only in my imagination become a reality."

The actors have been shooting scenes inside the Eleventh Street home, in the backyard and on the street.

The house is believed to be Hazel's home in the book.

Before filming began, Green posted a photo of a "Phalanxifor" bottle on his Instagram and Twitter accounts, stating that it was a prop from Hazel's house. "Phalanxifor," a miracle drug that keeps Hazel's cancer from spreading, is an invention of Green's imagination.

The author -- who has been unable to hold back tears of joy since filming started -- said he's elated with the progress so far.

"The actors are so brilliant," he said. "Shailene and Ansel look, feel and talk like Hazel and Gus."

Stephanie Garrison, a Pittsburgh resident, was one of the few people who stopped by the set on Tuesday to see if she could catch a glimpse of the filming and Green, her favorite author.

"I'm excited that he gets to see Pittsburgh," she said.

After hearing about the Oakmont location on the internet -- Twitter, Tumblr and On Location Vacations -- Garrison said it was a no-brainer to take a visit.

This isn't the first time this particular block on Eleventh Street was chosen for a movie.

About a year and a half ago, "Jack Reacher," starring Tom Cruise, was filmed inside a house just down the street from "The Fault in Our Stars'" set.

Oakmont resident Alex DiClaudio lives directly across the street from the movie set. He's elated that the neighborhood has been noticed by those in Hollywood.

DiClaudio said location managers began scouting homes on the street -- including his family's house -- about a month ago.

Because Pennsylvania offers a tax credit for films that spend at least 60 percent of their total production budget in the state, DiClaudio said he thinks Pittsburgh is going to experience a "rebirth" in the entertainment industry.

A producer for Broadway and theater productions, the Oakmont resident said having a movie set across the street has been fun.

"My office is upstairs, and I can hear the crew yelling, 'Rolling,' 'Action' and 'Cut.' It's fascinating to go out there and see the actors doing their jobs," DiClaudio said. "There are so many people involved, and they're all working together to make something really good."

The production team's base camp is located at the Oakmont Country Club and catering business is being handled at the Redeemer Lutheran Church on 13th Street.

DiClaudio said it's a blessing to have hundreds of people working in the borough.

"At the end of the day, I think it's a great thing for Oakmont," he said. "It's good for local businesses and actors, and it's incredible exposure for our town. We should all be saying, 'Hooray for Hollywood.'"

Heidi Dezayas is a freelance writer. Comments on this story can be sent to vndcity@tribweb.com or 724-226-4666.

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