Movie production will detour NFTA rail
by James Fink
Inbound and outbound riders of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority’s Metro Rail line may have to adjust their schedules for two days because of a movie being filmed in near the Hyatt Regency Buffalo.
NFTA officials agreed to close down a portion of the Metro Rail’s run on Dec. 16 and Dec. 17 in order to allow the filming of the Keanu Reeves’ movie “Harry’s Crime.” The filming will take near the Hyatt and the M&T Center at the corner of Main and Huron Streets. The M&T Bank branch, with its distinctive gold dome, is serving as a backdrop in one of the key scenes of the movie.
“Harry’s Crime” is being shot in the Buffalo Niagara region, as well as New York City, beginning next week. The movie is based in Buffalo.
Lawrence Meckler, NFTA executive director, met with Reeves’ production team and Tim Clark, executive director of the Buffalo Niagara Film Commission, to work out the details.
The filming will take place between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. both days, which happen to fall in the middle of the work week. Because of the production schedule, the NFTA will be shutting off Metro Rail to its Lafayette Square station.
Meckler said the NFTA will utilize the same procedures it uses during the “Thursday at the Square” concerts. Riders will be shuttled, via mini-bus, between the Fountain Plaza and Church Street stations.
Originally, the producers wanted a longer shut down period, but Meckler was able to negotiate the limited 12-hour schedule.
Some NFTA commissioners said they hoped the shut down would take place on the weekend when Metro Rail ridership is not as busy as weekdays. Meckler said he would ask the movie producers, but didn’t think that was a likely scenario.
“We were able to pare down to a schedule that has the smallest impact,” Meckler said.
With the Metro Rail running every 20 minutes, it would be difficult to shoot the necessary scenes with trains rambling by the scene.
“We realize this may be an interruption of service, but it could help put Buffalo on the map,” said Henry Sloma, NFTA interim chairman.
The NFTA will issue repeated warnings about the temporary change in service for the Metro Rail.
“I don’t think anyone will complain,” added NFTA Commissioner Peter Demakos.