Where Were Your Favorite Movies Actually Filmed?

by Staff & Contributors on July 25, 2017

in Gaming, Movies

Author Sara Sheridan once said, “There is something particularly fascinating about seeing places you know in a piece of art – be that in a film, or a photograph, or a painting.”

But while some moviegoers may think they are seeing places they know, other eagle-eyed viewers have spotted that many movies meant to be set in iconic locales are actually filmed elsewhere. Costs of filming, filming permits, aesthetics and logistics can contribute to filmmakers choosing to use a “stand-in city” to substitute for the desired setting.

Here, we take a look at some movies who have utilized stand-in magic to create the illusion of a film’s location.


My Big Fat Greek Wedding

The 2002 smash hit rom-com was notably set in Chicago, but filming actually took place in Toronto. The city’s Greektown district (also called Greektown On the Danforth) was used to give the film a “Greek” feel during filming, with the movie’s climactic wedding eventually taking place in St. Nicholas Ukranian Church located near Trinity Bellwoods Park.


The Hunt For Red October

While it’s true a great deal of the action takes place underwater in submarines, there are some above-ground shots that are meant to be in Cold War-era Moscow. However, it turns out that which wasn’t filmed in a studio backlot was actually shot in Liverpool.


Sunshine on Leith

Speaking of British settings, you’d think the name of this Scottish musical would be something of a giveaway when it comes to locations. That said, while a few shots do take place around Leith (namely The Shore), the vast majority of the on-location shooting happened in Glasgow.


The Incredible Hulk

Filmed in 2008, The Incredible Hulk was set in New York City, but filming actually took place in Toronto, Ontario. Top shooting locations include the Eaton Centre and portions of Yonge Street, and the movie’s fictional Culver University is actually none other than the University of Toronto.


Brokeback Mountain

This Academy Award-winning film may have been set in Wyoming, but filming took place throughout the Canadian province of Alberta for financial reasons. Scenes were shot almost exclusively among the famous Rocky Mountain range.


Gangs of New York

With a title such as this and director Martin Scorsese attached to the project, surely filming would take place in New York, right? Wrong – the movie was in fact shot in Europe, in Italy’s Cinecitta Studio to be exact.


Good Will Hunting

The product of Boston’s favourite movie sons Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, Good Will Hunting is in many ways synonymous with it’s setting in the  Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. However, many of the scenes set at MIT or Harvard are actually found in U of T, notably University College and the McLennan Physical Laboratories.


The Great Gatsby

Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 adaptation of The Great Gatsby may have been set against the scintillating backdrop of 1920s New York, the film was actually shot on studio lots in Sydney, Australia.

Can you think of any others we’ve missed? Leave us a comment and let us know!

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