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01 August 2010 @ 01:55 pm
los angeles filming locations  
Hello guys! Over the past few days, I've made it my mission to figure out and visit a bunch of the Los Angeles filming locations for Inception... I know people keep talking about how Nolan shied away from using too many CGI effects, but I was surprised to see how close to real life a lot of the locations are! Comparison pictures and location info (in case you want to find them yourselves!) below:


This intersection (Wilshire and Hope) was used for a lot of the scenes in level 1... as seen here, when they're going over the plan, and behind Saito you can see the steps where they later pick up Robert Fischer in the cab. Also some of the chase scenes:


The intersection actually dead ends on two streets (behind and to the right), which is probably why it was chosen--easy to close it down without inconveniencing TOO many people--and also why you pretty much only ever see it from this one angle.

The Famima (which you can just make out on the left of the photo, but is totally noticeable throughout a lot of the movie) is a little convenience store, and I went in and bought a Coke because I was excited to find it and also because I'm laaaaaaame, in case you were wondering.


A few blocks away at Spring St. and 7th is where I think most of the other "street" scenes were shot. This one is on 7th Street facing east. But I think this location is most memorable for:


driving a freight train through the middle of downtown Los Angeles. (The train is coming north on Spring Street.)


About a mile east on 7th Street at Mill Street, you'll find the "practice" room where Arthur sets up shop to do all their tests. This area was super sketchy (it was right next to the bus station) so I didn't even stop my car, but the windows are the same and you can see the familiar skylights towards the back of the building on the left.

Also sorry for the crappy quality starting now, but I had to turn to somebody's bootleg cam version for screencaps of anything that wasn't in the trailers.


And this was the building that inspired everything! For me at least. I was waiting for a play to start outside the Mark Taper Forum with some friends, and suddenly in midsentence I shrieked, "IS THAT THE BUILDING FROM INCEPTION?" (which I had seen for the third time earlier that day). And indeed it was:


Specifically, it was a part of Limbo. The arches on the left are part of the Mark Taper Forum (in the Center Theatre Group complex at Grand and Temple), and across the street is the LA Department of Water and Power.


A few more of the arches


I am kind of in love with Water and Power (also called the John Ferraro building) now, and upon closer inspection I realized it was used for more of the Limbo scenes as well! There is a moat that goes all the way around the building, so I think all of the Limbo shots with a walkway through water were filmed here. (The childhood homes seem to have been added later, of course... haha.)


The sculpture near where Phillipa and James are playing is also real...

And those are about all of the ones I could find! When I get my hands on the DVD I'll be able to go a little more in depth for some of these, but it was a fun way to spend a day in downtown LA. Hopefully this was interesting for you non-LA people, though!

Oh, and one last thing--I'm sure some of you have also watched or re-watched (500) Days of Summer recently, but I noticed something familiar in the background of one of the scenes...

 
 
 
stylish kid in the riotlapoix on August 1st, 2010 09:04 pm (UTC)
Ohhh, I love this! How weird is it that I looked at the first picture and was like, "I bet this is on Wilshire." LOL.
dark wings: [guillermo] vampireihateclooney on August 1st, 2010 09:39 pm (UTC)
Haha, downtown geography is my weakness, but I was saved by Nolan graciously (and somewhat interestingly!) not CGI-ing out any of the street or business signs... :)
Kat: Inglourious Basterdsarcherstar on August 1st, 2010 09:07 pm (UTC)
I love knowing things like this! I've done the same thing for other movies, where I go around taking pictures of filming locations, so I will definitely have to do this the next time I'm in LA.
protein shakephookie on August 1st, 2010 09:11 pm (UTC)
I loved the architecture portrayed in this film. Nolan has good taste.
dark wingsihateclooney on August 1st, 2010 09:59 pm (UTC)
The reason I noticed the limbo building in the first place was because I spent the whole time during the movie thinking, "Wow, what a cool building! What masterful and creative CGI!" BUT NO! Nolan didn't even need it.
i stepped out of a supernova: harry [gqmf]blue_ant on August 1st, 2010 09:17 pm (UTC)
That's so cool! I can't wait to see what you do when you get the DVD.
Diamond in the (very) Roughdeftonedpiano on August 1st, 2010 09:22 pm (UTC)
I have only seen it once, but seeing these photos (which are super neat, by the way) makes me think about how Limbo doesn't have vegetation in the film (at least that I can remember - it was all architectural), so maybe there's something symbolic about an absence of life.

I don't know - anyone who has seen this more than I have actually seen trees/plants in Limbo?
dark wingsihateclooney on August 1st, 2010 10:04 pm (UTC)
Oooh, interesting! Definitely in the comparison shots here the plants and trees seem to have been very consciously removed...
kissoffools: [inception] - joseph gordon-levittkissoffools on August 1st, 2010 09:32 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is so cool :D
Karenchoco_carebear on August 1st, 2010 09:35 pm (UTC)
I live near downtown LA but I need to go out and scout all of these locations.

On a somewhat relevant note, I did go to the place where they filmed all the bench scenes in 500 Days of Summer! :)
The Architect: movies | inceptioni_m_mrswood on August 1st, 2010 09:37 pm (UTC)
Me too! I took a cheesy picture sitting on it and everything. I love that it has its own little plaque on the back of it.
dark wingsihateclooney on August 1st, 2010 10:05 pm (UTC)
I went to the bench too! :) But there were people sitting on it so I just took a creeper photo of them and left, haha...
:)suprockstar on August 2nd, 2010 03:21 am (UTC)
OMG BENCH.
The Architect: movies | inceptioni_m_mrswood on August 1st, 2010 09:35 pm (UTC)
Awesome post! I totally recognized the intersection in the first picture when watching the movie.

When I get back to LA later this month I definitely want to check out some of these buildings, because this kind of stuff is so interesting to me.
the gd batman: running bomb batmansunnyskittlez on August 1st, 2010 10:17 pm (UTC)
AH I NEED TO GO STAKE ALL THESE PLACES OUT. I live just North of Los Angeles, and this will be a worthy 30-minute drive. <3
dark wingsihateclooney on August 1st, 2010 10:26 pm (UTC)
Definitely! It was a nice way to spend the day and they're not spread out THAT far, so it was totally doable to just park in one spot and then just walk everywhere. I recommend going on the weekend though (the first time I tried I went on a Friday), as there are fewer cars about and the parking is much cheaper :)
Fluffiest Extraodinaresweetestnothing on August 1st, 2010 10:30 pm (UTC)
This is pretty nifty!

Now I wish I lived somewhere full of such awesome
Deutschtard: 'tis me ;; Red Hair ~ RLdeutschtard on August 1st, 2010 10:57 pm (UTC)
dude that is so phenomenal. Next time I'm on my way to LA for a concert, I'm totally gonna go early as shit so I can take geeky snapshots of myself there. xD I swear, I'm going to hole up in my dad's apartment off Hoover and just live in LA soon. I love it so much
Annaqt_2t94 on August 1st, 2010 11:28 pm (UTC)
OMFG YESSS. I love living in LA for this reason *sniffs* I'm going to Downtown on Wednesday and I will for sure be making some detours, thanks OP :P
Megan: jasonddesario on August 1st, 2010 11:41 pm (UTC)
Awesome! I know I've been in/around the first one but didn't even realize it while watching the film.
:)suprockstar on August 2nd, 2010 03:20 am (UTC)
OMG JGL SHOOTING TWO DIFFERENT MOVIES IN ABOUT THE SAME PLACE. THAT IS TOO WEIRD.
RPowellrpowell on August 2nd, 2010 03:32 am (UTC)
My office building is about a block and a half away from the location featured in the first photograph.
hollabarnardo: the man in blackhollabarnardo on August 2nd, 2010 04:23 am (UTC)
A+ very cool post.
サンジャナ: inception - totemgigglepantz on August 2nd, 2010 05:42 am (UTC)
Oh wow this is damn cool *_*
S  K  I  T  T  L  E  S: Inception - Arthur; little black bookspazzyskittles on August 2nd, 2010 07:55 am (UTC)
The first time I saw the movie, I was cracking up because I had gotten lost around that intersection just the week before. Totally turned around in one of the dead ends.
Tama-abi: inceptiontama_abi on August 2nd, 2010 06:20 pm (UTC)
OOOh this is so cool. I feel like going back to LA now and do stupid fangirlism taking shots of the locations !
Eve: gaspard ulliel - glasseskiandra_fire on August 3rd, 2010 01:40 am (UTC)
OMG. These are beautiful! Also, the one time I went to LA (how I miss it!) I got lost around Wilshire! It was gorgeous, though, so no complaints. Museum Row FTW!
chirorichan on August 7th, 2010 12:48 am (UTC)
Awesome! O:
Calysto_1395: jglcalysto_1395 on August 14th, 2010 06:30 pm (UTC)
god I'm watching 500 days right now and that exact scene came up
how strange xD

these pictures make me so jealous
I want to live in the usa
cheerful_earl: smilecheerful_earl on August 15th, 2010 11:57 am (UTC)
Hee! This is awesome.

The day after I saw the movie, I was in downtown LA with some friends and we drove right through the area in the first couple pictures. I kept saying "OMG, guys, it's like we're in Inception! They totally shot right here!" but they wouldn't believe me. Vindicated!
Amyquarterwhore on August 19th, 2010 09:17 am (UTC)
This is fantastic! And so interesting! Thanks for sharing. :D
nishiionishiio on August 24th, 2010 12:51 am (UTC)
This is really cool! =)
Thanks for posting!
tesudust on April 9th, 2011 04:43 pm (UTC)
found your site on del.icio.us today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later