30 Minutes or Less

553 Michigan St NE Grand Rapids

Written By VAMONDE

Digital Storytelling and Visitor Analytics for City and Cultural Institutions

“30 Minutes or Less” is a 2011 comedy starring Jesse Eisenberg (who played Mark Zuckerberg in “The Social Network” and Lex Luthor in the recent Superman films) as a pizza delivery guy who gets kidnapped by thugs who strap a bomb to his chest and force him to rob a bank. It also stars Aziz Ansari (“Parks and Recreation”) as his buddy, and Danny McBride (“Pineapple Express”) as one of the thugs. The director, Ruben Fleischer, also worked with Eisenberg on the 2009 horror/comedy “Zombieland.”

The comedy takes place in Grand Rapids and references it frequently in the dialogue. The cast and crew spent four months here in 2010, a big production that involved about 250 people and closed South Division Avenue for a car chase. Their base of operations was Vito’s Pizza, which appears in the film as the main character’s workplace. Vito’s also provided meals for the cast and crew, who gave the restaurant a face-lift and left behind some memorabilia.

”When I first got a call about shooting a movie at Vito’s, I thought it was just a Grand Valley State University project. Then a guy from Sony Pictures called me, and I still kind of blew it off. When a bus showed up with 40 or 50 people on it, and they swarmed the place like ants, measuring every nook and cranny of the place, I knew they were serious.” - Steve Grinwis, owner of Vito's Pizza

Other locations included the roof of Brass Works Building downtown— in the film, Eisenburg’s character races across the Sixth Street Bridge to meet a love interest there. In another scene, the bad guys celebrate their scheme with tacos at local favorite Taco Boy.

Cover image: Poster for “30 Minutes or Less,” 2011, Columbia Pictures.

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