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Globetrotting

News and notes from around the world

PITTSBURGH

TUNNEL VISION
A Hogwarts alum learns to fly without the aid of magic

On a mild May evening last year, Pittsburgh police closed down a portion of Parkway West to accommodate the filming of an oddly lyrical high-speed action scene. In the shot, Emma Watson—a.k.a. Hermione from the Harry Potter franchise—stood in the bed of a speeding pickup, arms splayed, as it roared through the city’s Fort Pitt Tunnel.

The scene is one of the more rousing moments in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the film adaptation of Stephen Chbosky’s bestselling coming-of-age novel of the same name. “Watching that girl fly out of the tunnel,” he says from his L.A. studio, “is one of the greatest things I have seen in my life.”

Local boy Chbosky, who directed and wrote the screenplay for the film (out this month), says he had no trouble persuading the actress to tackle the scene. “Emma was desperate to do the stunt,” he says. The shot took three takes to get right, and although Watson was securely anchored to the truck, it was a lot more challenging than anything Hogwarts had thrown at her.

“Whenever she was having a tough moment [afterward],” Chbosky recalls, “I’d say, ‘You’re the girl who flew through the tunnel!’ and she’d pick right up.”

First published in 1999, Chbosky’s story is set in Pittsburgh in 1991 (when his leading lady was 1). So to give Watson a sense of the city, he took her to his old-time haunts. Between gazing at the skyline from the West End-Elliott Overlook and scarfing cheese fries at the Original Hot Dog Shop, it was, he says, “the best homecoming.” —CRISTINA ROUVALIS

 

BUENOS AIRES

SHORT SHELF LIFE
Introducing a book that won’t go down in history

As book publishers grapple with the fading importance of the printed word, Argentina’s Eterna Cadencia has, along with creative agency Draftfcb, released a book whose selling point is that its words are meant to fade.

El Libro que No Puede Esperar (“The Book That Can’t Wait”), an anthology of new Latin American fiction, uses a modified-pH ink that vanishes two months after the book’s plastic packaging is removed. It’s in its third printing, though no one knows how many of the sales are repeat buyers (i.e., slow readers).

But isn’t a disappearing book, you know, kind of a waste of money? Not at all, argues Draftfcb’s Javier Campopiano. “In the end, all that’s left on the page is a ghost,” he says. “Then the book can become a journal, a sketchbook. Anyone can use it for anything.” —JULIA COOKE

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