Don’s Diner, a staple in Pittsburgh’s Woods Run neighborhood, is featured in a new Showtime series called “American Rust” in southwest Pennsylvania.
The series plays veteran actor Jeff Daniels.
Not only is the 25-year-old restaurant known for its food, it’s also a staple of Hollywood when it comes to appearing in movies and network TV shows.
According to owner Marcie Kemmler, Don’s Diner has been part of around 10 productions over the years. These include the films “Warrior” and “American Pastoral” as well as the TV series “Mindhunter”.
A lifetime movie, music video, and college documentary have also shot scenes in the diner.
“A scout from the South Side walked in and said you were on the list,” Kemmler told WPXI-TV how the Showtime production teams found Don’s Diner. “They loved the structure, they loved the bridges, the trains, the lots to put their things on.”
The Showtime crew set up for the shoot a few months ago, swapping some lights and a doorknob, and filmed scenes in the diner this week, Kemmler said.
“It’s amazing how they’re transforming it,” Kemmler told WPXI. “The size of this place doesn’t matter. When you see it on TV, it looks ten times bigger. I love it!”
Kemmler described the filming as chaotic, but said the benefits in terms of promoting their business far outweigh the inconvenience.
“It will really help us when people see us on the screen,” she told the station. “People will say, ‘Oh, I want to go there. I know where that is. ‘”
It’s a welcome boost for the company, a two-person operation run by Kemmler and her stepfather.
They couldn’t afford to pay anyone else during the pandemic.
State Covid-19 restrictions have limited the total number of customers to just six people at a time.
“I just can’t thank them enough for always being with us through these difficult times, and I really appreciate them all,” said Kemmler.
About the show
Daniels plays in “Rust” as Del Harris, the chief of police in a fictional town in southwestern Pennsylvania.
After his girlfriend’s son of ex-high school soccer star is accused of killing an ex-cop, Harris must decide how far he will go to protect the accused.
The series is based on the novel of the same name by the author Philipp Meyer from 2009, which takes place in the fictional town of Buell in the Mon Valley in Fayette County.
Maura Tierney (“The Affair”) plays Grace Poe, a clothing factory union organizer and Harris’ love interest. Alex Neustaedter (“Colony”) plays Grace’s son Billy.
“American Rust” is expected to be shot on location until mid-August and will air later in 2021 on Showtime.
Paul Guggenheimer is a contributor to Tribune Review. You can contact Paul at 724-226-7706 or firstname.lastname@example.org.