How was Lady Gaga able to film at Hearst Castle over movie/TV studios?

This is a baffling question, the only movie that’s ever been filmed at Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California is the original Spartacus (1960) where the outside Neptune Pool was shown for a total of 1.5 seconds, when Crassus (Laurence Oliver) walks past it quickly. As a movie I mean a story not involving William Randolph Hearst.

And then suddenly they let Lady Gaga film this music video there:

Why is that? With such an incredible filming location and view, why would they let her film there over movie/TV production companies? Who probably have considerably more access funds to pay for the right to film at nearly any place they want?

I could easily see Hearst Castle used in a Post-Apocalyptic movie or show and many other kinds of stories etc.

It seems Lady Gaga knows how to appeal to the State of California, which owns & runs the Hearst property.

Why a television or movie company couldn’t do the same, I can’t say. Maybe it didn’t occur to them but it occurred to Lady Gaga. Or, less likely, maybe the state asked previous applicants but she was the first willing to do it.

The website for Hearst Castle says, “When Hearst Castle was donated to the State of California to operate, it was accompanied by a gift deed, which restricts its use to educational, interpretive, and philanthropic purposes that benefit Hearst Castle directly.”

Perhaps her filming qualifies in a way (particularly the “interpretive purposes” bit) that filming of a commercial movie does not?

More relevantly Lady Gaga is a friend of Joe Lonsdale, an entrepreneur and a member of the Hearst Castle Preservation Foundation’s advisory board.


Thanks for that. The article also mentioned that after the estate was given to the state, “the Hearst Corp. retained some rights, including the authority to approve or deny commercial projects.”

Thanks I guess this is a prime example that connections are vital in the business!

Honestly this isn’t really an answer though, she probably really wanted to film a music video there so that’s why she donated the money, to get on their good side. Her money is not any different than money from a movie/TV studio, whether it’s being donated or being paid to have the right to film there, it’s still funds that the property is receiving.

Let’s move this to Cafe Society.

General Questions Moderator

What makes you think any movie/TV production companies wanted to film there? Do you have any evidence that anyone else tried?

What kind of question is that? Have you seen what the Neptune pool looks like and that view? Without any other houses in sight? I have been there on tour and it’s incredible. The indoor pool and the intricate blue walls.

Do you have no imagination? I could think of many reasons how it could be used.

It’s the kind of question you should ask before making assumptions. Just because a location is unique doesn’t make it ideal or even desirable for a movie scene.