Queensbridge Houses plays starring role in Pacino film

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Movie magic is coming to Queensbridge and tenants are looking to get in on the action.

“Son of No One,” a film directed by Astoria native Dito Montiel and starring Al Pacino about a boy from Queensbridge who goes on to become a police officer and is haunted by his past, held an open casting call for extras Saturday at the Long Island City housing project.

Brian Bell, the line producer for the film, said Montiel grew up in the nearby Ravenswood Houses and has had his eye on setting a film in Queensbridge.

“This housing area is something that he’s had in mind for this film for some time,” Bell said.

Bell said the film will be shooting in Queensbridge from April 26 until May 12. He said the filmmakers plan to work in a way that will not be disruptive to tenants.

“We designed the film in such a way that we’re not going to have a big footprint ... that’s just not how we roll,” Bell said.

Most of the filming in Queensbridge will be shot during the day, although shooting will take place for a few nights, he said. Along with extras, the film will be hiring four positions on the crew.

Bell said the filmmakers are only looking to hire Queensbridge tenants for the positions. “We want to include the community as much as we can,” he said.

Bell said the extras will receive between $80 and $100 a day.

Ronnie Kupferwasser, the film’s location manager, said the 13 days of filming include shots of the interior of one Queensbridge apartment, a rooftop shot and exterior shots of the housing project.

He said the apartment interior is to be shot in a unit near 41st Road and 12th Street, the rooftop shot will be filmed close to Vernon Boulevard and the exterior shots will be taken along the Vernon Boulevard courtyard near the shopping plaza on 41st Avenue.

Bell said out of the extras being cast, the director has one speaking role in mind — for a Latino boy, 13 to 16 years old, who is a class clown-type.

The movie takes place over two timelines — 1986 and 2002. Bell said if any Queensbridge tenants have civil service uniforms from 1986 or clothes from that era, it would add to the film’s authenticity and give them a better chance of being hired as extras.

Bell said the filmmakers will contribute to the community whether the movie is a success or not, announcing to the housing project’s tenant association Saturday that they are donating to Queensbridge’s upcoming Family Day event.

“Son of No One” is not the first film to draw on influences from Montiel.

The director also wrote and shot the 2006 release “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints,” a coming-of-age drama about a boy growing up in Astoria in the 1980s.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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