Like plenty of films, “The Best and the Brightest” was shot in Philadelphia thanks to significant tax incentives to lure productions to the city. But Josh Shelov didn’t just pack up, take star Neil Patrick Harris with him and weave our brownstones into his New York-based story, never to be heard from again.
“It was a significant financial savings to shoot in Philadelphia, but it was also a fantastic place to shoot,” says Shelov, who is in town premiering the film at the Philadelphia Film Festival this weekend for what he calls a “homecoming.” “We had such a personal touch with the Film Office, and there’s much more of a family atmosphere with the film community.”
“The Best and The Brightest” stars Harris and Bonnie Somerville as wannabe yuppy elites (cue the Rittenhouse brownstones) trying to nudge their children into an exclusive New York kindergarten. It’s a subject Shelov — a New Yorker and father of three — is all too close to.
“It’s absurd. There just aren’t enough schools, and it taps into a particular strain of hysteria; your own sense of self-worth is so tied up with this,” he says. “So it’s just prime for farcical material, this very deep, ridiculous sense of ego.”