American Rust movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was American Rust filmed?

2021

About American Rust

American Rust is a television series broadcast on Showtime set in Pennsylvania, and much of the filming takes place around Pittsburgh.

Although the series is filmed in Pittsburgh, the actual setting of the series is a fictional town called Buell (also set in Pennsylvania). Therefore, most of the scenes are filmed on location in Pittsburgh, which is known for its role in the steel manufacturing industry.

The idea behind American Rust is the realization - or perhaps one’s failure to attain - the American Dream. The city of Buell was once a bustling town with multiple factories that employed many of the townspeople. Now those factories are shut down, or jobs at steel mills are difficult to get.

The title of the show reflects an area of the United States called the Rust Belt. The Rust Belt is a region between New York State and the Midwest where the Industrial Revolution helped multiple towns and cities flourish. However, with those steady factory jobs now gone, the cities are settling into ruin.

American Rust is based on a novel of the same name written by Philipp Meyer, who published the book in 2009. At that time, The Great Recession was in full swing - factories were shuttered and “rusting” from neglect. Many people lost their homes and jobs were scarce. Both the book and the television series depict for viewers what life was like for people in Pennsylvania during The Great Recession.

The television series American Rust is a depiction of the life of a police chief named Del Harris. And through Del’s interaction with the townspeople, we get to view the lives of others in Buell. The book, however, revolves around a character named Isaac English, who loses his mom and must care for his sick dad while his only sibling is away at college.

City Locations

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Location Types

American, House, Industrial, Miscellaneous, Warehouses

Location Styles

American, Contemporary, Modern, Buildings/Offices, Police, Warehouses

American Rust Locations

Native Pennsylvanians were happy for American Rust to begin filming in their state for multiple reasons. Filming for season one took place in mid-to-late 2021, about eighteen months after the pandemic and COVID-19 began to wind down. People were ready to start getting back to normal and having cinematic royalty like Jeff Daniels (Dumb and Dumber, the Divergent series, The Martian, and countless others) only added to the positives of hosting filming crews in the state.

While Pittsburgh is the chief filming location of American Rust, at various points of filming, multiple locations in Western Pennsylvania were utilized as film shoot locations. Buell is set in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. The base for filming and production is 31st Street Studios, which is located at 77 31st Street in Pittsburgh. There are at least eight film soundstages at this location.

One location in Pittsburgh that was utilized time and again for filming purposes is the Carrie Blast Furnaces, which is a National Historic Landmark. The Carrie Blast Furnaces were once the home of Homestead Steel Works, which is now defunct. This landmark can be found at 801 Carrie Furnace Boulevard.

A studio backlot located at 1310 Beulah Road outside Pittsburgh is the home of a trailer and a cabin that double as the homes of Grace and Del. Monroeville, Pennsylvania is also extensively utilized as a filming location for American Rust.

The my name is Billy scene in American Rust

Carrie Blast Furnaces, 801 Carrie Furnace Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA

Isaac, who is a main character in the American Rust book, is on the run in the fourth episode of Season One of American Rust. Isaac decides to change his name to Billy in an effort to elude the police, including the Chief of Police, Del (Jeff Daniels).

This episode is chiefly filmed around the Carrie Blast Furnaces, but there are also lots of short scenes filmed around Pittsburgh proper. Viewers get a glimpse of places around the city that have fallen into neglect and disrepair.

Another pivotal character active in this scene is Grace Poe (Maura Tierney). Police show up during this scene to look for “Billy.” They go through his things, and Grace contacts the chief (Jeff Daniels) to let him know about this. (Del, in fact, does not know.)

The Carrie Blast Furnaces are a great place to go for history buffs or those who simply want to visit American Rust locations. You can take a taxi or private car there, and depending upon traffic, you will get there in less than one hour to see the National Landmark.

There are multiple, year-round events at the Carrie Blast Furnaces. Not only that, but visitors can also take industrial tours of the facilities. Don’t forget to take a look around at the Monongahela River, which is nearby the historical site.

The forgive us our trespasses scene in American Rust

Harris residence, 1310 Beulah Road Pittsburgh, PA

Del is continuing to do police work, with finding the eyewitness to the murder of a man named Norvick his chief objective. During this scene, viewers learn a great deal about Norvick, his past drug abuse, and Norvick’s connection to Grace (they happen to be family members).

Del learns in this scene that the eyewitness he’s been looking for is named Bobby. Bobby is a salesman, and he’s been seen with a local named Pete. Bobby has his reasons for running - much like Billy/Isaac- and he’s determined he won’t talk to the police.

This frustrates Del quite a bit, and the scene ends with Del and Grace around a campfire outside the cabin (remember, the cabin is on the lot on Beulah Road). Del talks about leaving Pittsburgh to move to the fictional Buell. He’d been working on a big case, and he thought he was escaping the pressure of the big city. However, things are even more hectic in Buell.

To get a good look at where part of the American Rust production took place, tourists can get to Beulah Road by bus or by private car. This is just outside Pittsburgh.

The happy returns scene in American Rust

31st Street Studios, 77 31st St, Pittsburgh, PA

In this scene, viewers get to see the dark side of the lead character, Del Harris. Del is the police chief, but when he finds a pill near the dead body of Pete, he picks it up and puts it in his pocket rather than turning it in for evidence.

However, some critics posit that maybe Del is holding the pill so he can determine if Billy might be guilty of killing Pete. Del knows how the town will react, and he may be trying to determine the truth before he takes Billy in for the murder.

Del seems to see a lot of himself in Billy. He goes as far as giving Billy money and telling him to destroy evidence. Viewers tend to feel some compassion for Billy, just as Del does. Most viewers didn’t like Billy’s love interest, Lee. A wedding takes place, and viewers learn of a love triangle between Del, Grace, and Virgil.

If you are interested in looking at this American Rust film scene location, you can reach it by bus, cab, private car, or rideshare service. The bus lines that run to this area include numbers 2, 86, 87, 88, and 91 as well as P-1, CL-8, M, and P10.

Conclusion

American Rust is a television series based on a book of the same name. One season has been shown via Showtime, and the series was in danger of being canceled for a brief time.

Visiting Pittsburgh and its suburbs gives tourists a hands-on look at an Americana locale where the closure of businesses, particularly factory jobs, hasn’t exactly improved the area. Pittsburgh is home to other industries, professional sports teams, and institutes of higher learning, so the city continues to survive.

Pittsburgh is definitely a part of what is now called the Rust Belt, and that’s due to the dilapidated, rusty buildings in the area where bustling factories once employed many Pittsburgh natives.

Most of the film locations of American Rust are easy to travel to, chiefly in a private vehicle or by bus. Visitors to Pittsburgh will truly enjoy the Americana atmosphere of this historic city.