The L.A. area hosts dozens of shoots a day, and location managers work hard to make sure the sites they select aren’t already familiar to millions of filmgoers. Harry Medved and Bruce Akiyama’s new book “Hollywood Escapes: The Moviegoer’s Guide to Exploring Southern California’s Great Outdoors” is full of anecdotes and local spots serving as far-flung locations. These spots get more work than Nicole Kidman, and appear fresh each time.
Terminal Annex has become practically a ministudio since the main L.A. post office moved to south L.A. in 1994. On the outside, the Hollywood Locations-managed building is Spanish mission style, but the versatile interior doubled as the San Francisco Chronicle office for David Fincher’s “Zodiac,” the Shanghai computer room in “MI3” and an insane asylum for Sissy Spacek’s character in “The Ring 2.” The building practically served as headquarters for the “Alias” crew, playing a Swedish nightclub, a Paris CIA outpost and a safehouse in Prague.
550 S. Hope, Downtown
This 28-story office building, also managed by Hollywood Locations, hosts high-profile stunt work, whether it appears as a rooftop nightclub for a helicopter stunt as in “Crank”; as Brad Pitt’s swanky apartment for a Heineken spot; or a challenge on TV’s “Heist,” in which a woman BASE jumped from the tower to the street below.
The 1928 Doheny mansion was a quiet Beverly Hills residence until the American Film Institute moved in. One of the mansion’s first shoots was then-student David Lynch’s “Eraserhead.” Since then, the East Coast-style traditional manse, owned by the city of Beverly Hills, has hosted a spate of superhero projects, serving as Willem Dafoe’s mansion in “Spider-Man,” Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters in the “X-Men” franchise, and a mansion in “Batman and Robin,” as well as dozens in of other mainstream pics.
Club Ed isn’t a Hollywood nightspot, as the name might sound, but a versatile collection of decrepit desert relics left over from the 1991 Dennis Hopper pic “Eye of the Storm.” Desolate desert locations are in high demand for horror shoots like Rob Zombie’s “Devil’s Rejects,” a Jessica Simpson musicvideo, or pics such as “Joe Dirt” and “Torque.” Club Ed offers a variety of settings including a store, a bar and a motel.
In the deepest mountains of urban Beverly Hills, the Franklin Canyon lake is generic enough to play just about anywhere. The location has been a favorite all the way back to “It Happened One Night” and doubled as Korea for the original “Manchurian Candidate.” More recently, it played a Georgia pond in “Big Momma’s House” and served as the site for the ominous home in “When a Stranger Calls.”