These Movies Transport us to Different Cities Without Ever Leaving L.A.

These Movies Transport us to Different Cities Without Ever Leaving L.A.

Since the of early days of cinema, when the pioneers of the burgeoning industry moved their business interests from the New York area to Southern California, filmmakers have been using the L.A. region to recreate other cities and towns.

In many cases, before tax incentives initiated by other states and countries began luring productions away from L.A. in the late 1990s and early 2000s, it was cheaper to film here than to travel to a distant location. (And let’s be honest, L.A. had and still has the greatest craftspeople working in the business.) Not only that, but locations found all over the area from downtown to the beach, from the mountains to the high desert can substitute almost any type of American landscape.

“We use L.A. for a lot of things,” says director Joel Schumacher. “Sometimes you can tell it’s L.A., and sometimes it really works.” L.A. Weekly recently visited the locations of a handful of films we believe successfully doubled other cities within L.A.


Jared Cowan is a photographer, camera operator and avid filmgoer living in Los Angeles. In 2002, he graduated from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia with a B.F.A. in film and video production. Special thanks to location managers Douglas Dresser, Ned Shapiro, production designer Bruce Alan Miller, first assistant director John Hockridge, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ Margaret Herrick Library for their assistance.  All location photos by Jared Cowan.  Follow him on Twitter at @JaredCowan1



Since the of early days of cinema, when the pioneers of the burgeoning industry moved their business interests from the New York area to Southern California, filmmakers have been using the L.A. region to recreate other cities and towns.

In many cases, before tax incentives initiated by other states and countries began luring productions away from L.A. in the late 1990s and early 2000s, it was cheaper to film here than to travel to a distant location. (And let’s be honest, L.A. had and still has the greatest craftspeople working in the business.) Not only that, but locations found all over the area from downtown to the beach, from the mountains to the high desert can substitute almost any type of American landscape.

“We use L.A. for a lot of things,” says director Joel Schumacher. “Sometimes you can tell it’s L.A., and sometimes it really works.” L.A. Weekly recently visited the locations of a handful of films we believe successfully doubled other cities within L.A.

Jared Cowan is a photographer, camera operator and avid filmgoer living in Los Angeles. In 2002, he graduated from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia with a B.F.A. in film and video production. Special thanks to location managers Douglas Dresser, Ned Shapiro, production designer Bruce Alan Miller, first assistant director John Hockridge, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ Margaret Herrick Library for their assistance.  All location photos by Jared Cowan.  Follow him on Twitter at @JaredCowan1


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