The Amazing Spider-Man / MIB3 Press Trip Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Visiting Movie Locations
Posted on Friday November 16, 2012, 11:22 by Ali Plumb in Empire States
As part of the recent Amazing Spider-Man / Men In Black III New York press trip – one that took place literally hours before Hurricane Sandy hit, believe it or not – a lucky few got to trapeze, bungee, helicopter, space shuttle, taxi and parkour around The Big Apple to celebrate the films’ releases on Blu-ray. I was one of that lucky few, and I can safely say that it was one of the best adventures in Abroadland I’ve ever been on.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, I visited a few Amazing Spider-Man / Men In Black III movie locations along the way, checking out The Oscorp Building, which in the film looks like this:
But in real life looks like this:
Hearst Tower, 300 West 57th Street
The genuine article is the Hearst Tower, and you can find it yourself at 300 West 57th and 8th Avenue. Given its foreboding presence in the movie, the exterior was rejigged by Sony’s CGI folk, but the scenes inside were shot in the actual Hearst Tower, which is why Dr. Curt Connors’ scientific digs look so absurdly cool.
As IMDb nerds may already know, a lot of TASM was shot in Hollywood/California – who’d have guessed, right? – which meant that Midtown Science High School (actually a mix of St. John Bosco High School and Taft High School) was off the menu but that didn’t stop us from inspecting Brooklyn Bridge for residual clues of The Lizard and checking out one of Spidey’s favourite ledges on The Chrysler Building.
On the Men In Black Front there was Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, better known even by the locals as MIB’s HQ. Boasting a big ol’ flag over the door, it’s not quite as secretive in reality, but still a genius bit of location work from way back in 1997.
Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel Ventilator Building, Battery Place
But as this is Men In Black III we were in town for, a diner was very much called for, as was pie. To paraphrase Homer Simpson: “Mmm... pie.”
Both films are chock full of New York locations – but then again, New York has never shied away from a big screen appearance. Taking Central Park as a very green litmus test, that alone – off the top of my head / incriminating DVD shelf in front of me – appears on the credits of Little Nicky
, The Fisher King
, When Harry Met Sally
, Home Alone 2
and many, many, many
In total, nearly 300 major feature films have used Central Park as a backdrop, including Taxi Driver
, Raging Bull
, Kramer Vs. Kramer
, The Apartment
, Love Story
and way back in 1908, Romeo And Juliet
, which can lay claim to being the very first movie to have used Manhattan’s handily central tree, grass and lake collection on film.
Then there’s New York’s number one fan
, Woody Allen, who’s used the 843 acre plot in Hannah And Her Sisters
, Take The Money And Run
, Anything Else
and Annie Hall
to name but four. To name but a fifth, there’s Manhattan
– and it’s that particular movie that filled me with a weird sort of fear before heading to New York. A fear that when I eventually made my pilgrimage to famous Manhattan bench it would somehow... not live up to expectations.
Let me explain. I love Manhattan
, as I love many of Woody Allen’s movies. But there’s something about the shot of the Manhattan bench that I love so much that for a very long time I’ve daydreamt about going there and sitting in the same seat Woody sat on.
Until recently, the closest I’d come to doing so was this photograph taken at Madame Tussauds. That’s me on the left.
But when I took some time off from the Amazing Spider-Men In Black fun, I was scared to go to the bench of benches. It wasn’t that it was far away or in a rough neighbourhood – far from it: it’s in affluent Sutton Place
, by the Queensboro Bridge – but that I was nervous that I'd somehow be disappointed.
In my mind, Woody is always there, reading a book, muttering about lobsters, sabotaging a relationship with a girl he’s not sure he really likes. What if getting there and sitting there made me realise that it’s just a bench? What if it was overrun with pigeons or Dirty Mike and the boys had taken up residence? Why did I want to get there so badly anyway?
When I finally made it there, there was a man sitting down on the particular bench, reading a book. From what I could hear, he wasn’t muttering about lobsters, but he was at peace, and he looked like the kind of liberal New York intellectual who gets a kick out of Woody’s work. He wasn’t budging, and I had somewhere to be, so I didn’t actually get the chance to sit on it, but perhaps that’s a good thing. After fantasising about the place for so long, maybe I could only be disappointed.
As it was, I got a huge kick out of seeing someone else enjoy it as part of their daily life. I really hope it’s that guy’s bench now. As in, no-one else can sit there because he’s always there. That would be just right. Thanks to this guy, I'd got over this weird thing of mine. Thanks, random guy.
Do you have any movie pilgrimages that you’ve always wanted to go on? Which movie locations have you been to that have dazzled you? Have you ever been to one and been slightly gutted at how pedestrian it is? Can you work out why there’s such a fascination with visiting these places? Let us know in the comments box below. Men in Black 3 is out now on Blu-ray(TM) 3D, Blu-ray(TM) and DVD. The Amazing Spider-Man is out on Blu-ray(TM) 3D, Blu-ray and DVD 26th November. To make your own way to New York, head to American Airlines at aa.com And for somewhere especially fantastic to stay while you're there, be sure to go to Ink48. For more details, head to www.ink48.com.