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City mining some Hollywood gold Oscar winner will shoot portion of next film here

A major movie production starring Academy Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman will turn its cameras on Buffalo later this week.

Several scenes for the upcoming Fox Searchlight film "The Savages" are expected to be shot in the city and Niagara Falls starting Thursday. Buffalo Niagara Film Commission Executive Director Tim Clark confirmed that scouts for the movie visited the city in recent days but declined to discuss details of the production.

"The Savages" will tell the story of an elderly man, Larry Savage, who moves to Buffalo to be closer to his estranged adult children. As the dark comedy unfolds, the son, played by Hoffman, and daughter, played by Laura Linney, are faced with the legacy of their upbringing and the realities of family responsibilities.

In Buffalo's last appearance on the big screen, in 2003, the city served as the backdrop to Jim Carrey's "Bruce Almighty," but the stars never stepped foot in Western New York. This time, both Hoffman and Linney will be here to shoot scenes.

While the majority of the movie will be shot in New York City, several key scenes will be staged here. The movie's scouts are said to have eyeballed exteriors of city hospitals, residential neighborhoods, a North Buffalo pizzeria and local roadways. The crews also toured a site near the American Falls.

"We look forward to accommodating the needs of Fox Searchlight and the crew of 'The Savages,' but there's a necessary level of privacy that's required to ensure their work here is not interrupted," Clark said.

Hoffman, a suburban Rochester native, won the best-actor Oscar earlier this month for his portrayal of Truman Capote in "Capote." Linney was nominated in the best-actress category in 2005 for her work in "Kinsey."

The film will be directed by Tamara Jenkins, whose debut film, "The Slums of Beverly Hills," drew critical praise. Jenkins and other representatives of the film visited Buffalo last summer, meeting with former film commission chief Mark Stricklin, Erie County Executive Joel A. Giambra and Clark.

In addition to putting Buffalo and Western New York back on the big screen, the production will bring work to a number of local film industry professionals. A Buffalo-based crew has been assembled to assist with the shoot.

The area's film resume also includes: "The Natural," (starring Robert Redford and Kim Basinger, 1983); "Best Friends" (Goldie Hawn and Burt Reynolds, 1982); "Hide in Plain Sight" (James Caan, 1980); "Planes, Trains & Automobiles" (John Candy and Steve Martin, 1986); "Buffalo 66" (directed by Buffalo native Vince Gallo, starring Gallo and Christina Ricci, 1997); and "Manna From Heaven" (produced by Buffalo's Burton sisters, 2001).

Several television series, including last fall's finale of "The Amazing Race," have been shot here. MTV, the Travel Channel, the Food Channel, the Discovery Channel and Home and Garden Television also have spent time here in the past couple of years.

e-mail: slinstedt@buffnews.com

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