Thursday, October 9, 2008

US 20: More Route 20 in the Movies

There was so much press about Ang Lee’s movie “Taking Woodstock”. which recently did a lot of filming on US Route 20 in New Lebanon, NY that I thought I’d go back to see what other films may have been filmed on, or very close to, the country’s longest road.

One that seemed to jump out was the 2006 filming of “Spiderman 3” which had some scenes filmed in downtown Cleveland Ohio, which is only about 25 miles from my home. Route 20 (Euclid Avenue) acted as “stand in” for New York City for precision driving stunts, car crashes, smoke effects and other stunts. Someone was able to get some nice action shots of the filming, and you’ll find that video below.

One famous baseball movie was filmed near US 2o at a now famous location in Dyersville Iowa. That movie is “Field of Dreams” which starred Kevin Costner. The baseball field which was the movie site is still there and is open for tours. It’s very close to US 20 and just 25 miles west of Dubuque, Iowa.

The 1993 comedy “Housesitter” with Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn has a scene filmed at the Grist Mill on the grounds of the Wayside Inn on US 20 In Sudbury Massachusetts. A more recent film, the 2008 release “The Women” also had a scene shot on US 20 in Sudbury at the Bosse Sports & Health Club.

Another movie with some scenes filmed near US 20 was the Sci-fi film “Starship Troopers” which did some filming at Hells Half Acre in Powder River, Wyoming.

I am sure there are probably more movies out there that have been filmed on US Route 20, but it seems that information on this topic is scarce. If anyone would like to add a movie to the list, please feel free to add it to the comments below.

Spiderman 3 Filming Starring US Route 20 (Euclid Avenue, Downtown Cleveland)

The US Route 20 Blog homepage can be found here.

1 comment:

dan said...

Taking Stock:

Ang Lee's new movie "Taking Woodstock" has backstory of pure serendipity

By Dan Bloom

WOODSTOCK, NEW YORK -- Fiftysomething director Ang Lee is
tackling a new movie project, a comedy this time, and his third film
with a gay storyline, about the Woodstock Nation hippie music festival
in August of 1969. Remember those days? Were you there? Too young to
remember? Read on. The movie will be released late June, just around
the time of the 40th anniversary of Woodstock Nation's coming out

The movie's title is "Taking Woodstock" -- and more later in this
piece about what the title means and how a savvy PR guy came up with
it last year -- and the film's screenplay was written by longtime Lee
collaborator James Schamus from a recent book by New York writer
Elliot Tiber.

Schamus, who received the Honorary Trailblazer award at the
recently-concluded Woodstock Film Festival in upstate New York, is
almost at the 50 mark himself, Lee's junior by a few years. Lee
presented the award to Schamus in person at the award ceremony last
week. Lee's presentation was one of many at the awards ceremony, which
was held at Backstage Studio Productions in Kingston and attended by
some 500 people, according to industry sources.

Kyle Wind, writing in for the Daily Freeman in New York, reported that
Lee, in presenting the award to Schamus, said he believes "a
trailblazer is someone who hacks away bushes in the way to go
somewhere he's curious about."

And then the avuncular, soft-spoken Lee, a U.S. resident for over 20
years, said: "That's what filmmaking is about -- it's about the
unknown. Every time I do it, it's like the first time. I'm like
Madonna -- 'Like a Virgin.'"

According to Schamus, most of the exterior shooting on "Taking
Woodstock" has been completed now, "thus avoiding foliage nightmares."
When a local reporter asked him why the production didn't shoot in
Sullivan County, the book's setting, Schamus replied: "We scouted all
over upstate New York and Ang found the perfect motel that could stand
in for the original (which has since burned down) in New Lebanon.
That's showbiz for you."

Now, back to the movie's backstory. This has never been reported
before, and is in that sense a scoop. A Hollywood scoop, a Publishers
Row scoop.

Elliot Tiber's memoir "Taking Woodstock" was quietly published with
little fanfare in 2007 by a
small but savvy publisher on Long Island and subtitled "A True Story
of a Riot, a Concert, and a Life." The book has become
Ang Lee's entree into the world of film comedy.

Although the release date is not set in concrete yet, given the times
we live in, it is tentatively set for a premiere in New York on June
26, 2009 --
according to sources and several movie websites on the Internet.
The three-day Woodstock concert actually took place in the middle of August of
that year, beginning on August 15.

Rudy Shur is the president of Square One Publishers, a book company in
New York, which bought the book and
released it in 2007 without really knowing if there was a Hollywood movie in
it. But ten months after publication, a
movie deal was signed with Focus Features in New York. Focus Features
is owned by NBC Universal, with Schamus serving as the independent
studio's CEO.

Tongues are already
wagging on blogs and websites about what the Taiwan-born Lee's
take on the Woodstock era will be like. At the time, 1969, Lee -- now
53 -- was still living in Taipei, a student, dreaming of a life in the
arts, maybe as an actor, maybe as a writer.

In a recent email interview with RushPRnews about how the book and
movie sale came
about, publisher Shur, 62, explained the book's
curious backstory.

"Two friends of mine told me about a man they knew who had a very
interesting and unique 'story' to tell, and they
asked me to call him and see for myself if the memoir project -- still
unwritten -- would make a good book. After
talking to Elliot Tiber and listening to his story about Woodstock in
the Sixties, I told him that it would make a terrific
book, but that our book company usually didn't publish those types of
memoirs and that he would be better off with a
larger publishing house that had more experience and marketing clout."

Despite Shur's advice to take his book project to a bigger publishing
company, Tiber kept coming back to him and
Shur finally said that he would take on the book, but with the same
earlier reservations he had expressed before.

"I decided that maybe it was time to take a chance with this kind of
book, and since it was my company, well, I
would do as good a job as I could," Shur added. "So I called Elliot up
and said 'Lets go for it'."

The book's genesis was complicated. "The story he wanted to tell was
basically all Elliot, but to tell it in a manner
that presented a balanced story in the way that I was looking for
meant calling in a co-writer, Tom Monte," Shur said.

"Elliot's normal writing style was very creative and
stream-of-consciousness, but I wanted more of a traditional story
narrative. I had worked with Monte before, so I signed him to put
Elliot's material into the style I was looking for.
Joanne Abrams, my senior editor, worked with Elliot to get his memoir
into a more finalized form, and Monte did his
magic with the book, too. When it was done, Elliot approved, and we
had our book."

The title of the book, and now Lee's movie, also has an interesting
backstory, and this has never been disclosed publicly before. You read
it here first.

Shur explained that the title was the brainchild
of Square One's marketing director, Anthony Pomes.

"We had lots of titles in mind, but 'Taking Woodstock' seemed to fit
best based on the story," Shur noted. "We felt
the title meant two things: Taking stock of your life and, in a sense,
control of your destiny -- and also taking the
experience of Woodstock, and what that cultural event meant, with you
for the rest of your life."

"Woodstock was a moment of freedom as well as a coming of age for a
new generation in America," Shur added. "So we used that title for the
book, and Lee and Schamus are using it
for the movie as well. We are delighted."

"The book's narrative reflects a young Elliot Tiber in his 20s who was
on the brink of financial ruin at the time but
who was also in a position to help pull off one of our generation's
greatest rock concerts," Shur said. "I wanted to
include some of the most important, yet overlooked, facts of the
coming together of the concert, and Monte (Eliot's
co-writer), having also lived through the period, was able to do just that."

When the book was first released, there were only a few reviews since
Square One was not a large publisher and
did not have the same kind of marketing clout as the larger book
companies in New York. But the reviews were
nevertheless positive, and slowly, word of mouth began to spread on
the Internet at book websites and blogs.

"We could see a real 'grass-roots' interest starting to build around
the book," Pomes, the marketing director, said. "The audience was
growing week by week, and we felt we held a sleeper
title that had what it took to turn into a

How the book morphed into a soon-to-be-released Hollywood movie
directed by Academy Award
winner Ang Lee is also a story that
Shur tells with relish.

"It will sound like a Hollywood myth, but it really happened this
way," he said. "Tiber was scheduled to appear on
a West Coast television show to promote the book, and while he was
waiting in the green room to go on the show, who
should sit down next to him, by pure chance, but Ang Lee!"

It turns out that Lee was also scheduled to appear on that same
interview show to promote his latest film, "Lust, Caution".

"Elliot," continues Shur, "introduced himself and spent the next hour
chatting with him about his book."

"Well, when Lee went on the show, the host finished the interview by
asking Lee where he usually got his ideas
from for his movies, and Lee said that he really doesn't go looking
for stories, that they seem to come to him," Shur added. "And
with that, he turned to Elliot, who was sitting across from him, and
gave him a sly wink."

"Nothing really happened until about five months later, when Lee had
finally read the book," Shur said. "Lee
and Schamus felt there was a movie here, and together they went to
upstate New York to visit the Yasgur's Farm
site where the Woodstock festival took place. Elliot joined them there
at the site, and the project was in the can. The agents
finalized the deal, everything was signed, and here we are. It looks
like Lee was right: in this case, the next movie
project really did just seem to come to him."

When asked if he knew there was a movie in the book from the very
beginning, Shur told this reporter: "I'll be honest with you.
As we worked on the book, I knew that Elliot's story had the potential
to make a great independent movie. It was
like no other Woodstock story ever published. I believed that we could
find a small independent producer who could
turn the book into a film. However, in my wildest dreams I would have
never thought it to be the likes of Ang Lee and
James Schamus, two Academy Award winners who would take on the
project. So far, it's been an amazing ride."

So get ready for Ang Lee's new movie set for release in the summer of
2009, although the release date as stated above is not set
in concrete and may change according to the whims of Hollywood's
scheduling mavens.

In the meantime,
readers who want to get straight to the heart of this unique American
memoir can grab hold of Tiber's
book, available in bookstores and on Internet ordering sites

No doubt, however, Lee will have plenty to say himself
about how Tiber's book
came to him, and how he and Schamus collaborated on it as a film
comedy. For now, though, Rudy Shur has
told the story his way.


About the author: Dan Bloom is a freelance writer from
Boston, who has been based in Asia since 1991. Write him at: danbloom AT gmail dot com