If you’re starting to forget what the area around you looks like while abiding by the state’s stay-at-home order, why not engage in “film tourism” and stream movies and television shows shot locally?
The Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau posted a list of those shows and movies, old and new, that have been shot in the area.
Jared Bundy, the director of digital marketing for LHVB, said the bureau contacted the Pittsburgh Film Office for a master list of all works shot in the Laurel Highlands.
“I believe that the Laurel Highlands is an ideal place to film anything from a Hollywood blockbuster to a Netflix series,” Bundy said.
Local areas offer a variety of rural landscapes that have never appeared on TV or film before, and offer the small-town aesthetics a lot of directors are looking for, she said.
“Plus, we’re close enough to Pittsburgh that you can shoot at both locations and get almost any shot in the world you would need,” Bundy noted.
Jeff Monahan, a Connellsville producer, writer, director and actor, who’s been involved with local and regional projects like “George A. Romero Presents: Deadtime Stories” and “Corpsing,” said the Laurel Highlands and Pittsburgh areas are perfect backdrops for television and film.
“There are four seasons, the city, the country, small towns, from skyscrapers to cows, trailer parks to penthouses,” he said.
Monahan has also acted in the motion pictures “Lone Star,” “The Dark Half” and “Bruiser” and said shooting in places like New York is very expensive – not only in terms of paying for locations, but also in having to pay to keep people from interfering with the cast and crew while they film.
“In Southwestern Pennsylvania, people are more open, and even want to help and be part of the experience,” Monahan said.
He was involved in some of the locally filmed productions on the list, including the television show “Outsiders,” which filmed some of its scenes in Fayette County, and the movie “Last Flag Flying,” which filmed some of its scenes in Greensburg.
Monahan is currently completing editing for an educational show partly filmed in Connellsville. He’s also gearing up for his next project, a short film that’s part of a longer feature and will be scouting motel locations once it’s deemed safe to leave the house.
Shows and movies shot locally include:
n “I am Not Okay with This” (Netflix): Brownsville is heavily featured in the series involving a teenage girl coming to terms with her new-found super powers. Sites to be seen in the show includes everything from Fiddles Diner to the Brownsville Bridge.
n “Abduction” (Hulu): The movie set in Pittsburgh stars Taylor Lautner attempting to piece together his biological parents’ past and fighting villains in the present. It also shows Brownsville backdrops and settings, including Fiddles Diner.
n “Those Who Kill”: The show follows a Pittsburgh homicide detective and forensic scientist in their hunt for serial killers, a hunt that brings them to the since-abandoned Brownsville Hospital.
n “Outsiders” (Hulu): The two-season series focused on a Kentucky family who has lived off the grid in Appalachia for 200 years and are now forced to defend themselves against people who are threatening to take it all away. LHVB stated such locations like Furnace Hill Road in Dunbar can be seen.
“Outsiders was great fun to film there,” said Monahan, who played the role of Hiram for both seasons of the show.
“I got to do a scene with David Morse, although I was shooting at him with a machine gun while we were doing our dialogue,” Monahan said.
n “The Silence of the Lambs”: The Oscar-winning movie starring Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins launched one of horror’s hottest franchises. Buffalo Bill’s house still stands in Perryopolis and can be seen from the road, making it a destination for fans to this day.
n “Three Rivers”: Although canceled after only one season, the medical drama that takes a unique look at transplants from the view of the doctor, donor and recipient and used the former Brownsville Hospital in the pilot.
n “Riddle”: The movie follows a teenage girl as she hunts for her missing brother in the fictional town of Riddle, Pennsylvania. The film was shot mostly in Pittsburgh and Brownsville where the Brownsville Public Library was transformed into the Riddle Sheriff’s office.
n “One Dollar” (CBS All Access): The one-season mystery television show is set in a post-recession rust belt town and filmed in multiple Pittsburgh and Laurel Highlands locations including Arcelor Mital coke plant in Monessen. It follows the investigation of a heinous multiple murder that is somehow all connected by the exchanging of a singular dollar bill.
n “The Road” (Amazon Prime Video): Based on the Cormac McCarthy novel of the same name, the post-apocalyptic movie about a man and his son desperately trying to make it to the ocean while fighting off violent gangs roaming the devastated country filmed scenes in Fayette County, specifically the toll road.
n “Last Flag Flying” (Amazon Prime Video): The Steve Carrell/Bryan Cranston/Laurence Fishburn film involves Vietnam Navy buddies setting out to bury Carrell’s character’s son killed in the Iraq War and was partially filmed in Greensburg.
In that film, Monahan played the role of O’Toole and did a scene with Carrell and Cranston.
“Both were wonderful to act with, and great guys as well,” said Monahan.
All the movies and shows can also be seen on Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Google Play, Vudu and iTunes with payment. Other platforms require a subscription.
To see the full list of films on the LHVB website, visit https://www.laurelhighlands.org/blog/post/binge-worthy-films-and-shows-shot-in-the-laurel-highlands/