Southland Tales (2006)

The 2006 Richard Kelly film “Southland Tales” tells the story of an alternate timeline in the near future where the United States is descending into chaos and ultimately the end of the world. The film features an ensemble cast with interconnecting stories set against the backdrop of Southern California. The film is largely set along the beach fronts of Santa Monica, Venice, Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach. However, the film also shot brief scenes in Abilene, Texas and Primm, Nevada. This article contains some spoilers for the film.

In the opening scene of the movie, a nuclear attack is shown in the town of Abilene, Texas, through the perspective of home video footage at a children’s party. These scenes really were filmed in Abilene, with the house located at 2143 S 10th St, Abilene, TX 79605.

Throughout the film, Private Pilot Abilene, played by Justin Timeberlake, sits perched at the end of the Santa Monica Pier on the rooftop of Maria Sol restaurant, armed with a military grade gun, which is aimed inland at citizens.

LOCATION: 401 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Here’s closer view of the building, from the pier itself.

Boxer Santaros, played by Dwayne Johnson, awakens on the beach, unable to remember the events prior to the start of the film (those events are told in a graphic novel). He is seen walking up these stairs, which connect Palisades Park to the Santa Monica Beach parking area, as he is monitored by USIDent, which is something of an mock up and extreme version of the Department of Homeland Security.

LOCATION: 34°00’47.5″N 118°29’51.6″W

In Downtown Los Angeles, protesters demonstrate outside of the USIDent headquarters, which was filmed at the Caltrans building.

LOCATION: 100 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Boxer Santaros and Krysta Now, a porn star with psychic abilities played by Sarah Michelle Gellar, hide out with Fortunio Balducci, played by Will Sasso, at this home in Manhattan Beach. It is also under surveillance from USIDent.

LOCATION: 132 3rd St, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Later in the film, Officer Ronald Taverner, played by Seann William Scott, stands in front of the home and looks out toward the beach.

The Sidewalk Cafe in Venice is featured multiple times throughout the film, as several characters meet and discuss various matters. It is connected to Small World Books, which is another location seen later in the film.

LOCATION: 1401 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291

The entrance is seen briefly in the film.

USIDent surveillance shows that Boxer was first found at the California / Nevada state line, with images showing Buffalo Bill’s Resort & Casino in Primm, Nevada (31700 S Las Vegas Blvd, Primm, NV 89019).

Neo-Marxist Cyndi Pinziki, played by Nora Dunn, lives at this apartment above a storefront in Venice Beach, which has been slightly remodeled since filming.

LOCATION: 1307 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291

The Neo-Marxist compound, where Roland Taverner, also played by Seann William Scott, awakens can also be found on Venice Beach.

LOCATION: 909 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291

Later in the film, Roland escapes the Neo-Marxist compound by jumping off the rooftop of the same building. The dumpster jump was a visual effect, but the location is otherwise geographically accurate. In fact, most of the film is geographically accurate in the ways the characters move from one location to the next. This side of the building faces Speedway / Breeze Ave.

Ronald and Boxer go on a drive together as Ronald makes a racist remark, which is captured on camera by Boxer, who is recording for research for an upcoming movie role. The two drive along Culver Blvd, past Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve in Playa Del Rey.

A political ad plays on the USIDent screens, with a little girl standing in front of a church. This was filmed back in Abilene, Texas (518 N 6th St, Abilene, TX 79601).

Boxer follows the mysterious Serpentine, played by Bai Ling, into a book store. This was filmed at the aforementioned Small World Books, which is connected to the beach front restaurant featured multiple times throughout the film. Both the interior and exterior of the store were featured in the film.

LOCATION: 1407 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291

Dr. Soberin Exx, played by Curtis Armstrong, picks up Boxer Santaros in front of this restaurant in Marina Del Rey.

LOCATION: 311 Washington Blvd, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

Bing Zinneman, played by Todd Berger, gets hit by car at this intersection in Venice.

LOCATION: Market St / Speedway, Los Angeles, CA 90291

The actual close-up stunt of the impact, however, was filmed in an alley near Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles, around 337 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013.

On the same street where Bing Zinneman is hit, Ronald Taverner is injected with Fluid Karma, a drug with a variety of effects, depending on which color is taken. Ronald passes out in the street in this area.

LOCATION: 74 Market St, Venice, CA 90291

After Roland awakens from the dumpster he jumped into, he arrives at this area, where he finds Walter Mung, played by Christopher Lambert, parked in an ice cream truck.

LOCATION: 1313 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291

Dozens of caskets draped in American flags are unloaded onto the Santa Monica Pier.

LOCATION: 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401

One of the bodies is transported on a tram to Treer Plaza in Downtown Los Angeles. The tram was a CGI creation, but the surrounding buildings are once again geographically accurate, placing the location at W 7th St / Francisco St. As you can see in the photo, however, new buildings are going up as the skyline continues to change.

LOCATION: W 7th St / Francisco St, Los Angeles, CA 90017 (partial CGI used for the location)

One of the most memorable scenes in the film is Pilot Abilene’s Fluid Karma hallucination, where an impromptu musical sequence ensues to “All These Things That I’ve Done” by The Killers. This was filmed at the Playland Arcade on the Santa Monica Pier, which was renamed the “Fire Arcade” in the film, as a nod to the band Arcade Fire. Both the interior and exterior of the arcade are seen and it still looks largely similar to how it appeared in the film

LOCATION: 350 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Late into the film, the MegaZeppelin prepares to launch in Downtown Los Angeles. This was another CGI creation. However, it is depicted as being located beside the Staples Center, placing it where L.A. Live stands now.

LOCATION: 777 Chick Hearn Ct, Los Angeles, CA 90015 (partial CGI used for the location)

Zora Charmichaels, played by Cheri Oteri and Bart Bookman, played by Jon Lovitz, track down Krysta Now in Hermosa Beach. They exit the Municipal Parking Structure, where armed military are present. This same building appears later in the film, as gunfire erupts.

LOCATION: Municipal Parking Structure, 13th St, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

Krysta Now enters the former Poop Deck, which was a real bar and restaurant in Hermosa Beach. It is now known simply as The Deck. Both the exterior and interiors of the restaurant were featured in the film. However, the bathroom scene where Krysta delivers a tape was filmed on a set.

LOCATION: 1272 The Strand, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

Back at the Municipal Parking Structure, which is just around the corner, a military gunman opens fire on Zora and Bart from the top deck.

Krysta Now escapes the scene.

The interior of the MegaZeppelin was a composite of two different locations. It starts inside a restaurant at the Pacific Design Center (8687 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90069), before seamlessly transitioning (via a hidden edit in an unbroken shot) into the ballroom, which was filmed at Skirball Cultural Center (2701 N Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049).

A Los Angeles freeway is seen, with more CGI elements added. This was filmed at W 7th St, overlooking the CA-110 freeway, facing Southbound. Again, the surrounding buildings are geographically accurate.

LOCATION: 34°03’01.0″N 118°15’45.3″W (partial CGI used for the location)

Walter Mung drives his ice cream truck, with Roland inside, towards the erupting riots in the city. A car is burning next to the “Uptown Rocker” public art piece in Downtown Los Angeles.

LOCATION: W 4th St, Los Angeles, CA 90071 (GPS coordinates: 34°03’06.3″N 118°15’10.2″W)

The ice cream truck crashes at S Hill St / W 4th St, where there are riots in the streets.

LOCATION: S Hill St / W 4th St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

As Roland and Ronald Taverner meet one another, the ice cream truck ascends into the sky in front of the US Bank Tower in Downtown Los Angeles.

LOCATION: 633 W 5th St, Los Angeles, CA 90071

Related articles: Donnie Darko (2001)

The Social Network (2010)

The opening of David Fincher’s 2010 Facebook drama, “The Social Network,” takes place at the Thirsty Scholar Pub in Somerville, Massachusetts, just north of Cambridge, where Harvard University is located.

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LOCATION: Thirsty Scholar Pub, 70 Beacon St, Somerville, MA 02143

In the opening scene, Mark Zuckerberg, played by Jesse Eisenberg, is dumped by Erica Albright, played by Rooney Mara, helping set forth the events of the film.  The layout inside of the pub looks slightly different than how it appeared in the film, but the back windows remain the same.

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A poster for the film, signed by some of the cast and crew, can be seen above one of the restroom doors inside the pub.

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After the 1970 film “Love Story,” Harvard University banned nearly all commercial production on the grounds, due to disruption to students and damage to property.  Their anti-filming policy still remains today, thus the majority of the Harvard scenes for “The Social Network” were instead filmed at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.  However, a few shots of the real Harvard and surrounding Harvard Square can be seen in the opening credits of the film.  The producers sidestepped Harvard’s policy by filming on top of the Cambridge Savings Bank at Harvard Square (the bank was also used for a robbery scene in the 2010 Ben Affleck film “The Town”).   Portions of the Dudley House at Harvard Square can be seen in these opening credit shots.

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LOCATION: 1351-1443 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

Mark walks past the Out Of Town News, located at the real Harvard Square, before the scene seamlessly shifts to him walking through John Hopkins University in Baltimore for the remainder of the opening credits.

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LOCATION: 18 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA 02138

Later in the film, Eduardo, played by Andrew Garfield, is seen being initiated into the prestigious Phoenix Society, citing the three lies about the John Harvard statue.  Once again, the real Harvard University was not cooperative in allowing any filming at the real statue.  This scene was instead filmed at Phillips Academy in Andover, MA (180 Main St, Andover, MA 01810), about 25 miles north of Boston.  Below is the real John Harvard statue at Harvard University, which was recreated for the film.

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LOCATION: 1 Harvard Yard, Cambridge, MA 02138

Several scenes in the film were actually shot around the Los Angeles area, far away from the grounds of Harvard.  Once such sequence involved the Winkelvoss twins discovering Facebook has begun allowing registration in the UK, which finally prompts the twins, played by Armie Hammer, to sue Mark Zuckerberg.  While this scene is supposedly set in England, it was actually shot at the Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills.  The scenes were shot inside the Breakfast Room, which was also seen from the opposite side in “The Big Lebowski,” when The Dude looks at photos of the Little Lebowski Urban Achievers.

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LOCATION: Greystone Mansion, 905 Loma Vista Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Mark shows up to a business meeting with prospective advertisers wearing a robe (seen below) on the steps of the Aon Center in Downtown Los Angeles.  The same steps show up in “Inception,” where Leonardo DiCaprio picks up a man in a taxi and kidnaps him.

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LOCATION: 707 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90017

We leave you with one of the robes worn by Jesse Eisenberg, which can be found on display as part of the Sony Pictures Studio Tour.

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LOCATION: 10202 W Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

Some props from the film could also be found on display at Sony Pictures Studio.

Related articles: Seven (1995), The Game (1997), Fight Club (1999), Panic Room (2002), Zodiac (2007), The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (2008), Mank (2020)