Lights, Camera, Action: Locations We Love

These three local places are our favorite filming spots.

Shay's Restaurant

Movie: American Splendor Filmed Here: 2002 address: 4007 St. Clair Ave. Why we love the location: In the movie, Paul Giamatti's Harvey Pekar sits in a wood-paneled, stripped-down diner as he shows his friend and cartoonist Robert Crumb (played by James Urbaniak) his idea for a comic book about the everyman. The positive affirmation Pekar receives from Crumb marks the first time the eternal pessimist believes he has the ability to do something of value. It's a turning point for Pekar's working-class hero, who represents Clevelanders' perceptions of themselves, and the push he needs to make a comics series that goes on to become one of the strongest testaments to who we are as a region and as human beings.

St. Theodosius Orthodox Cathedral

Movie: The Deer Hunter Filmed Here: 1977 address: 733 Starkweather Ave. Why we love the location: The Oscar winner for best picture uses the church as the site for Steven and Angela's wedding, a happy moment between friends and family before Steven, Mike (played by Robert De Niro) and Nick (played by Christopher Walken) ship off to Vietnam and its horrors. The 1911 church with its onion domes is a Cleveland landmark that is forever preserved, much like the friendship between the blue-collar friends that — although changed — remains intact after enduring the darkest storms they will ever face.

Underneath the Detroit-Superior Bridge

Movie: The Avengers Filmed Here: 2011 Why we love the location: When it came time to film an evil lair for Loki (played by Tom Hiddleston) in the $220 million The Avengers, the production team chose the dark, dank lower level beneath the bridge's road deck rather than a Hollywood soundstage. Better than anything a set decorator could create, the location echoed the aura of barren disuse that someone bent on world domination would seek out. Other than walking tours and two IngenuityFests, the former streetcar space hasn't been used for nearly 50 years, showing us that even our most desolate spaces are valued.

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