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L.A.'s Park Plaza Hotel: The Backdrop to Your Favorite Movies


The Park Plaza Hotel at MacArthur ParkThe Park Plaza Hotel at MacArthur Park

“If there was a list of usual suspects (and there probably is) for film locations,” says veteran location manager, Richard Davis, Jr., “the Park Plaza would have to be in the top five.” The famed building, with its iconic angel statues, located on the edge of once glamorous MacArthur Park, opened as Elks Lodge 99 in 1925. Some years later, the Elks sold the building and it became one of L.A.’s most luxurious hotels. No longer a hotel or residence, the Park Plaza’s Neo-Gothic corridors, magnificent lobby, and expansive ballrooms echo bygone days, which is why the building is mainly used today as an event space. But it has also been a popular filming location for decades, setting the stage for films like Drive, Wild at Heart, Tango & Cash, Gangster Squad, Less Than Zero and many more. (Two crews scouted the building while we were there.) Davis, who used the Park Plaza in 1993’s What’s Love Got to Do with It, says, “The place was a treasure trove of possible locations.” We saw all of those possibilities when we toured the legendary building from the vantage point of the many films that have shot there.

All photos by Jared Cowan. Follow him on Twitter at @JaredCowan1.

The Legendary Park Plaza: 607 S. Park View St., Los Angeles, (213) 381-6300, parkplazala.com.