Highland Park Family Shares Hollywood Film Experience

By Diane Averill

It all started with a knock on the door.

A movie company’s location scout asked if the owners of the house would consider allowing their home to be used as a movie set. Thus began, at just about this time last year, a rare experience for Mary and Mac Lynch of Elgin Street.

As the parents of four-year-old twins and a toddler, the Lynches had a lot to consider, but many questions and answers later, they decided to take the plunge. In consultation with an attorney, they reviewed the proffered contract, which specified not only financial compensation but also a detailed list of the changes that would be made both inside and outside the house, all to be reversed at the end of the filming. There was serious concern that the house, built in 1901, might suffer damage.

“With a house this old,” Mac said, “you don’t know what you’ll find when you start removing layers.”

The company was “very up-front,” Mac said, and patient with their questions and concerns.

Movie trucks in the neighborhood (that’s Billy Porter, enjoying coffee from La Scola’s).

Shortly after the contract was signed, an entourage of production workers began to come and go, taking numerous photographs and exhaustive measurements, discussing logistics and equipment placement. Among them was actor, singer and producer Billy Porter, who had agreed to direct the film “Anything’s Possible” (working title, “What If”) when he realized that it would be set in his hometown of Pittsburgh. The Lynches said that he was very friendly, even spending time with them just chatting on the couch.

When it was time to hand the house over, the family headed to the beach for a week, then settled in with Mac’s father at his home nearby. Throughout the month of August, they would occasionally drive past their Elgin Street home, but did not stop, unwilling to impose. An invitation came, however, and the family got a tour of the works.

“Some of the rooms were almost unrecognizable,” Mary said. Curtains, furniture, lighting, wall colors and coverings—all were different.

For the children, Mary said the best part of the day was visiting the commissary truck, where they were welcome to enjoy any of the vast array of snacks.

Once filming was concluded, the Lynches said, it was amazing how quickly the production crew restored the house to its pre-filming condition. They agree that the whole experience was interesting and fun.

“But we wouldn’t want to do it every year,” said Mac.

“Anything’s Possible,” a coming-of-age dramedy, is Porter’s directorial debut and his self-described love letter to Pittsburgh. It will begin streaming on Amazon Prime Video July 22. Watch the trailer and read more about the film in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article.