Say It Isn’t So… Movie Location Secrets Revealed

Edited by @Gillianfx. Source: Daily Variety

In movies like Oscar ® contenders Zero Dark Thirty and Argo, location is crucial to selling the movie to the audience. The problem lies in the fact that in some parts of the Middle East filming by foreign crews is strictly prohibited. Both these films are based on events taking place in those countries. So how does production get around this predicament? Read on.

Argo posterThe kudo-fest goes to the amazingly creative geniuses of the production crew. Location managers spend months tracking down the location “doubles” in the earliest stages of production. According to location manager extraordinaire Chris Baugh, Istanbul doubled for Tehran in the movie Argo. Out of the 14 weeks scheduled for filming, 11 weeks were shot in Los Angeles. A Veterans Administration building in the Northridge area doubled for the Tehran embassy interiors. LA/Ontario International Airport doubled as Tehran’s airport.

In Zero Dark Thirty, production designer Jeremy Hindle and line producer Colin Wilson revealed that Jordan doubled for Zero Dark 30 posterPakistan and the CIA’s Langley headquarters was actually shot at a building outside London! The interior of the headquarters were filmed at an engineering school in India. (One “location” and 2 stand-ins in different countries. Am I the only one who thinks this is way cool?). Even more amazing, the Bin Laden compound was actually first built as a 3D model by a video effect (vfx) house in London called Framestore, then flown to Jordan where the compound was rebuilt to scale in the desert matching every detail. Hindle said that vegetation was planted months in advance of principal photography (shooting) around the property, so by the time they were ready to shoot the fields around were green. (Clever isn’t it?).

So now you know. If this doesn’t make you want to see the movie or see it again I don’t know what will. I look forward to your comments below. Cheers!


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