Foresthill Bridge shot spans scenic moment for new film

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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The Foresthill Bridge is poised for another appearance on the big screen in a major movie. The span hovers at its highest 730 feet above the North Fork of the American River canyon near Auburn and has already made notable appearances in 2002’s “xXx” with Vin Diesel and “The Phantom” in 1996. This time around, Columbia Pictures’ “The Ugly Truth” is set to be released July 24 and trailers are showing an aerial view of a car crossing the landmark bridge. But don’t expect any footage of “Ugly Truth” stars Katherine Heigl (TV’s “Grey’s Anatomy”) or Gerard Butler (“300,” “The Phantom of the Opera”) strolling through Sacramento or Placer County locations. Butler plays the boorish morning shock jock brought into a Sacramento radio station to boost ratings. Heigl portrays the morning show’s uptight producer. Lucy Steffens, Sacramento Film Commission film commissioner, said primary filming took place in Los Angeles. The main production unit didn’t make a trip to the state capital to do any location shoots, she said. Instead, a second unit rolled cameras in front of the Capitol building in Downtown Sacramento and at the “pyramid” Ziggurat Building in West Sacramento, Steffens said. The crew also filmed some running footage along the city’s J Street, she said. As for the Foresthill Bridge aerial shot, it remains to be seen whether it will be in the final cut. But it did help set the scene in the trailer, popping up at 2 minutes 28 seconds and staying on the screen for a second or so. Steffens said that while “The Ugly Truth” is set in Sacramento, the location isn’t a pivotal one. In one scene, for instance, Butler and Heigl’s characters are at a baseball game, but the home team isn’t the Sacramento River Cats. Beverly Lewis, director of the Placer-Lake Tahoe Film Office, said the aerial shot from above the east end of the bridge appears to be one done “on the go” and her office wasn’t contacted beforehand for a permit or assistance. Even seemingly quick film shoots can prove lucrative for local businesses, Lewis said. She noted a crew filmed from an airplane for a national Goodyear commercial featuring the corporation’s famous blimp. They landed at the Auburn Municipal Airport and Lewis was able to direct the crew of five to the Roseville Galleria for some last-minute Christmas shopping. The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at