We’ve all seen TV shows/movies set in city X but obviously(sometimes hilariously) shot in a different city. You know what I’m talking about. “Live Free or Die Hard” passing off Baltimore for DC. Vancouver sitting in for (name any city).
What cities have you seen egregiously misrepresented on screen(include an example)?
Jackie Chan chasing the bad guys across the Bronx (Rumble In The Bronx) with the snow-capped peaks of outside Vancouver in the backdrop. That version of the Bronx also had only artfully placed “rubbish,” and a whole lot more Caucasian gang members, vis a vis the original.
This was going to be my pick. My all-time favourite.
A close second is all those Vancouver-shot episodes of the X-Files standing in for a host of American cities such as a dreary, overcast Phoenix, or a dreary, overcast suburban Dallas or a dreary, overcast and rainy LA.
Or the tragically short-lived Wonderfalls TV show that ALMOST got the city right by setting it in Niagara Falls, NY. Unfortunately, all of the filming took place in Niagara Falls, ON. So close, yet so far.
The fact is that Vancouver and Toronto have stood in for so many American cities in Hollywood flicks that it’s more of a challenge to find those cities playing themselves in an American movie. I know I’ve seen a few but I honestly can’t think of any examples.
Even though they do a pretty good job of it, I can spot a few giveaways in the original Halloween that it’s not Illinois. A few palm trees snuck in, outdoor lockers at the high school, and that scene where Loomis is talking on the payphone on his way to Haddonfield, with a big ol’ honkin’ mountain range in the background (although I think that scene wasn’t in the original theatrical cut).
And speaking of passing off California as Illinois, Wayne’s World 2, when he’s driving around looking for the church. It’s like they didn’t even try.
The most ridiculous example I can think of at the moment is The Kid From Left Field, where Gary Coleman is made manager of the SD Padres, and they try to pass off San Diego (Qualcomm) Stadium as every park in the National League, including Wrigley Field with a few pathetic strands of ivy hanging off the outfield wall.
I think that was the third, with Mario Van Peebles as the villain, Kane. Yep, I was right.
The TV series, IIRC, was nominally set in Seattle, early on, but filmed in Vancouver (when not in Paris…which was actually filmed in Paris)…they eventually just canonically renamed the city to the fan nick-name Seacouver.
The Boondock Saints is supposed to be set in Boston but was filmed in Toronto. There are two giveaways to this. First, when Rocco is heading into the Lakeview Lunch, a TD (Toronto Dominion) bank is clearly visible in the background. Second, when Connor busts onto the roof with the toilet in his hands you can see the CN tower in the background.
All Saints Day was also filmed in Toronto and Hamilton but disguised a little better. But the special features on the DVD show that the rooftop dream sequence with Rocco was filmed pretty much in the shadow of the CN tower!
The Enterprise episode “Carpenter Street” was supposed to be set in Detroit but a shot near the end of the episode shows great big mountains nearby… the kind typically found within filming distance of Southern California.
24 continues to crap all over geography this season, with LA filling in for NY. Last year it was LA filling in for DC.
The Frighteners was supposed to be set in a small US town but was filmed in NZ- you can see the road markings and signs are set up for driving on the left hand side of the road, but the cars are driving on the other side in the film.
Port Washington, WI is very misrepresented on the show Step-by-Step. The part in the opening sequence where they drive by a “Port Washington, WI” sign is actually a street in Pasadena. The amusement park is a joke. It’s shot at Six Flags Magic Mountain, but they “disguise” it to make it look like it’s on Lake Michigan by superimposing a very fake-looking lake over where the parking lot would be.
It was filmed not all that far from where I grew up, so I couldn’t suspend my disbelief (I know Lyttelton pretty well), in much the same way that I can’t help but notice the similarities between Middle Earth and the South Island of New Zealand.
Chicago in The Dresden Files, both the books and the TV series.
Books? “How can you misrepresent a city in a book,” I hear you ask. It was little things that told me that Jim Butcher didn’t know Chicago. The one I can always remember was a line in which a character took the “JFK Expressway” to the airport. Around here it’s “The Kennedy,” or possibly “90”. Never, “The JFK.” Similarly, him placing warehouses along docks on the lake. There just aren’t any in Chicago, at least not anywhere near where the action takes place.
The TV series was another of those set in Chicago but filmed in Vancouver, and for the most part I don’t mind that. I thought that, in general, they did a reasonable job of creating the “look” of Chicago, especially mixed in with some B-roll of actual Chicago exteriors. One scene, however, began with text identifying the locale as the “West Side District.” Sorry, we don’t do “districts” here. I also liked a scene that was supposed to be up in the north suburbs (which, granted, are hillier than the city) where you can see snow-capped mountains in the background.
Having said all that, I’ve already got the next book on pre-order. What can I say - I’m Jim Butcher’s bitch.
Grey’s Anatomy is set in Seattle and many exterior shots are filmed there (most notably the opening aerial sequences). But the hospital used for filming is in Sepulveda, CA (as I prefer to call it). So while shots like from the helipad show SG-MW is located in the shadow of the Space Needle which is a heavily built up area, the shots done in Sepulveda show a lightly built up area (and no surrounding mountains of course).
The worst dissonance lately was a driving scene where palm trees could be seen in the background. Egad.
In the movie “Major League” Milwaukee’s County Stadium was a reasonably close facsimile of Cleveland Municipal Stadium. In “Major League II”, they gave up trying to make the ballpark look like Cleveland’s and just filmed at Baltimore’s Oriole Park at Camden Yards.