Community Voices of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Now that the “Three Rivers” pilot that was shot in Pittsburgh in March and April is not airing as the first episode of the series, star Alex O’Loughlin and a small crew returned to town for a quick shoot Sunday morning at Bigbee Field in Mt. Washington.
The episode begins with a camera panning up from some flowers on the side of Bigbee Street to reveal a rugby team on a field below that overlooks Downtown Pittsburgh. After shooting the scene from a camera positioned on Bigbee Street, the crew moved equipment down to the field for close-ups.
During the transition time, O’Loughlin fans approached the star to get him to sign “Three Rivers” posters and photos they brought with them
Amy Villalba of Baltimore and Faye DiGiovanni of Philadelphia met on a “Moonlight” fan site — “Moonlight” was O’Loughlin’s previous CBS series where he played vampire Mick St. John — and became friends.
The pair figured out where the filming would take place and came prepared. Villalba credits her interest in O’Loughlin in saving her life. She scheduled a mammogram for a day she knew he’d appear on a morning news show, April 21, 2008.
“I would not have gone [for that exam] until fall,” Villalba said. After she watched O’Loughlin on TV, she had her exam and the cancer was caught early and is now gone.
Villalba and Digiovanni asked O’Loughlin why his “Three Rivers” character, Dr. Andy Yablonski, is playing rugby.
“It’s a little homage to my home country,” said the Australian native. “A little shout-out.”
O’Loughlin was less eager to greet four reporters who came out to interview him, putting us off for five hours and through several breaks in filming when he could have given interviews. He ended up giving a five-minute group interview following a one-on-one with CBS owned and operated KDKA-TV. (The script of KDKA’s report ripped off a cutline in the Post-Gazette, right down to the language about the location of the fictional hospital in “Three Rivers.” No surprise, I suppose, since TV stations “borrow” from newspapers all the time.)
Diane Delmer, a 30-year resident of Bigbee Street, also watched production on the scene from the “Three Rivers” episode titled “Tick-Tock.” “We have the view and it’s not crazy like Grandview Avenue, except on [July] 4th,” Delmer said. “People find us then.”
She was a “Moonlight” fan, too. “We were so disappointed when they took that off the air. I’m here for Mick,” she said, referring to O’Loughlin by his “Moonlight” character’s name.
The production team spent from 8:30-to-11:30 a.m. Sunday filming the rugby scene, which opens the Oct. 4 series premiere. In the scene, Normal 0 O’Loughlin’s Dr. Andy Yablonski runs down the field in a scene that ends with a resentful rugby player shoving Yablonski and declaring, “You may work across the river now, but I know where you came from. Remember that!” The character Yablonski grew up in Mt. Washington and works as a transplant surgeon at the fictional Three Rivers Regional Medical Center, which in the show’s universe is situated on the North Shore roughly between Heinz Field and PNC Park
“I wanted to start with a large vista of the city so everyone knows immediately where we are located,” said director/co-producer Rob Bailey. “It’s a chance to meet Andy in his home neighborhood where he came from and hangs out in bars and spends a lot of his time back home.”
In addition to the rugby scene, “Three Rivers” also shot some additional scenes to insert in future episodes that depict Yablonski jogging through Mt. Washington streets and running up to the fence on Bigbee Field, as shown in this video:
- I don’t recall this scene on the video, of Alex running, ever making it into the show. It would have been nice to see more of Dr Andy’s leg and his cute running shorts butt …… 😛 (and a pity the woman on the video blocked the view most of the time 😦 )