As Martha reported last month, Michael Chabon's Mysteries of Pittsburgh is finally slated for production, and already there's controversy. The book, Chabon's debut novel, is a coming-of-age story, and while it lacks the polish and near-perfection of Chabon's later works, especially Wonder Boys and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, it's still an engaging little tale, brimming with the promise of Chabon's potential as a storyteller.
Now that the film is actually in pre-production, there was the little matter to sort out of where to film. One might think, since the title is Mysteries of Pittsburgh, that Pittsburgh would be the obvious location for the shoot. Pittsburgh City Councilman Doug Shields, however, is accusing Pittsburgh Film Office Exec Director Dawn Keezer of encouraging the producers of Mysteries to shoot the film in Los Angeles instead.
Why, one might rightly ask, would someone whose job is ostensibly to support filmmakers in shooting films in Pittsburgh be encouraging filmmakers to shoot in Los Angeles? Apparently, the Board of the Pittsburgh Film Office voted last week to allow Keezer to relocate her position (largely funded by the taxpayers of the state of Pennsylvania) to Los Angeles, so she can marry her boyfriend. Not that that's the sole reason why Keezer would encourage filmmakers to film outside of Pittsburgh, but it does seem a little odd that the exec director of an office promoting filmmaking in a specific city would be pushing for a film to shoot elsewhere. Fortunately, the producers of Mysteries decided to ignore her advice and, the shoot is set for Pittsburgh anyhow.
The film is being helmed by Dodgeball director Rawson Marshall Thurber, and cast at this point includes Max Minghella (Art School Confidential, Syriana) as the story's protagonist, Art Bechstein, along with Sienna Miller and Peter Sarsgaard.