Mysteries Producer Criticizes Pittsburgh Film Chief

Remember how two weeks ago a Pittsburgh city councilman said the director of the Pittsburgh Film Office didn’t want Mysteries of Pittsburgh? Well now an independent producer on work on the film is speaking out, and the city film chief, Dawn Keezer, is responding.

In an interview with The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, producer Todd Eckert said that when he moved to Pittsburgh five years ago, he was surprised when Keezer complained about Pittsburgh.

“She maligned Pittsburgh,” Mr. Eckert said. “She told me it was a backward, hick town. If she’s not successful in getting something, she falls back on blaming the city, saying it is a backward, cronyistic place.”

Keezer denies the accusation.

“Those who know me know the word ‘hick’ is not in my vernacular,” she said.

“Who is Todd Eckert?” she asked. “Did you ask him what he’s done? He’ll tell you he’s made a movie in Germany. But who is he?”

Eckert shrugged off her criticism. “She can get nasty rather quickly,” he said. “She is very high school. If you criticize her, she immediately gets personal.”

Pittsburgh Film Chief Accussed of Not Wanting Mysteries

A Pittsburgh city councilman is calling for the city to fire its top film official for, among other things, allegedly trying to talk producers on The Mysteries of Pittsburgh out of filming in the city, The Pittsburgh Business Times reported Tuesday.

Doug Shields, a member of the city council, wrote to the board chairman of the Pittsburgh Film Office, calling for the organization’s board to fire its executive director, Dawn Keezer, and for all the board members to resign. The film office had given the OK to Keezer working out of Los Angeles instead of Pittsburgh, which Shields said was an outrage.

“I’m not mincing words on this,” said Shields. “I’m not putting up with public dollars being shipped out to California so she can live the good life.”

Shields also accused Keezer of trying to convince film producers for two films, including the Michael Chabon novel adaptation, out of filming in the city.

Producers on The Mysteries of Pittsburgh had considered filming somewhere else, but ultimately decided to stay in Pittsburgh.

Pitch for Lost Escapist Story Online

When Dark Horse Comics canceled The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist in January, several stories in the works disappeared with it.

Gone went a story by Howard Chaykin and Jed Dougherty about a battle between several Luna Moths. Gone went Stuart Moore and Phil Winslade’s 1970’s tale of the Escapist and Hunter S. Thompson. And gone went David Hahn’s story too.

Hahn, the artist behind Marvel Comic’s new series The Masked Marvel, had been in the midst of pitching a World War II story featuring the Escapist when he got the bad news.

“Yeah, this story was in the process of being developed when the series was canceled,” he said in a recent e-mail. “I submitted the pitch and gotten notes from Chabon on how to tweak the story, then later leaned the series was nixed.”

But just because the story is dead doesn’t mean the art is. Hahn, being the cool guy that he is, provided this site with the cover for his story, along with an unpublished pin-up of the Escapist and Luna Moth.

Making of Escapists #2 Online

Dark Horse has posted a wicked cool “e-comic” version of The Escapists #2. Click on some buttons, and you can watch as pages 1-6 of the issue transform from script to pencils to finished comic.

Check it out.

Minghella Not in Pittsburgh

Contrary to previous reports, Max Minghella will not star as the lead in the screen adaptation of The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Hollywood Reporter reported Thursday.

Sources told Hollywood Reporter that the Art School Confidential star will not be able to star in the film because the production dates conflict with his fall semester schedule at Columbia University.

Sienna Miller is in final negotiations and Peter Sarsgaard is in talks to star in the film.

Note: An earlier version of this story, based on another version of the Hollywood Reporter article, stated that Ayelet Waldman, Michael Chabon’s wife, had been tapped as a producer for the film. This was an error, however. She did, according to Chabon, try about ten years ago to find financing with two producer freinds for a script written by Jeff Blitz (Spellbound). However, as Chabon notes, “This production has nothing to do with that one.”

This site regrets the error.