An independent movie with a Hollywood-hot lead actor aims to capture Columbus and especially its trademark architecture during three weeks of filming.

In fact, some of the city’s best known, architecturally acclaimed buildings form the backdrop and much of the framework of “Columbus,” which began shooting Sunday and will continue through Aug. 20.

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“The architecture is almost like another character,” said Aaron Boyd, one of the Los Angeles-based producers for the low-budget film.

A Korean-born director who uses the name Kogonada wrote the screenplay about two young people one summer discovering their purpose and future — and finding themselves amid the Midwestern mecca of design.

The story follows the character of the Korean-born Jin (played by Korean-born John Cho, currently starring as Sulu in “Star Trek Beyond”), 29, who recently left the University of Cambridge without a doctorate in literature and now is translating books for a publisher in Seoul.

He suddenly finds himself stuck in Columbus, where his architect father lies hospitalized in a coma after a visit here to study noted structures.

Jin waits and secretly hopes for his father to die. In contrast, Casey, 19 (played by Haley Lu Richardson of ABC Family’s “Ravenswood”), a blue-collar, worldly and bright young woman, wants to stay in Columbus with her mother, a recovering addict, instead of pursuing her own dreams. The two eventually spend summer’s final weeks together.

The cast also is populated with actors such as Michael Cera from the TV series “Arrested Development,” which originally aired on Fox.

The Nashville, Tennessee-based Kogonada, interested in Modernist architecture and cinema since college, first heard of Columbus a few years ago via a New York Times story about the town’s noted design. A later National Public Radio piece further fueled his interest, and spurred a visit here with his wife.

“I was so fascinated,” he said of the city. “It didn’t take long for me to realize that I want this to be the location of a film I wanted to write and do.”

For more on this story, see Friday’s Republic.

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5672.