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Filming in San Diego Trivia

Did You Know...

  • Scouting for Birkenstocks and Volkswagen vans, the producers of Almost Famous found the look and feel of the 1970s in the community of Ocean Beach.   Many locals worked as extras, wore their normal clothes and used their own vehicles for background.
  • The radio station in the film Almost Famous, KPRI, was actually an Allstate Insurance office.  The two characters played by Patrick Fugit and Phillip Seymour Hoffman are seen walking up Cortez Hill and the scene cuts to the characters eating in the Sun Cafe, located in downtown San Diego.
  • The San Diego Sports Arena was transformed into the 70s hub of rock n roll for over a weeks worth of filming for Almost Famous.
  • The feature Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy was originally set in Portland, Oregon.  However, the San Diego Film Commission worked with the production company sending location information and pictures which eventually convinced them that San Diego was a better fit. The project found our own City Hall the perfect look for their 1970s backdrop.
  • The producers of Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy found the consultant for the film right here in San Diego - Jack White, who worked as an anchor for Channel 10 News for many years. In fact, when watching the movie you can see a picture of Jack White hanging on the newsroom wall.
  • Locations for the film Antwone Fisher included a large warehouse off of Morena Blvd. which was used as  the  production office as well as a set, which included a complete reproduction of the inside of a naval ship.
  • Parts of the feature Antwone Fisher were also shot in North Park, the County Administration Building, Embarcadero, On Broadway and Busters Restaurant.
  • Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, produced by Four Square Productions, filmed entirely in San Diego including at the Star of India.  This movie spawned three sequels: Return of the Killer Tomatoes, Killer Tomatoes Strike Back and Killer Tomatoes Eat France.  There are still rumors that a fifth film will be made.
  • Bring It On filmed at seven local schools such as San Diego State University, University of San Diego and Eastlake High School. The national cheer competition in the film took place at the bandshell in Oceanside.
  • Bruce Almighty, starring Jim Carrey, was scripted and shot in Buffalo, New York.  After finishing in Buffalo the Director, Tom Shadyac, decided he needed to shoot another scene and they couldnt afford to take the entire crew and talent back to New York.  So San Diego doubled as Buffalo and they shot for over a week in November of 2003 on Harbor Island.  Since it was a night scene, the Film Commission had to work with the downtown hotels to turn off all the holiday lights so that the continuity would match what was already shot.
  • K-9 starring Jim Belushi and of course, Jerry Lee - the German Shepherd dog, filmed downtown San Diego and actually used four dogs to play the part of the one seen on screen.  Each dog had a specialty that made that dog crucial to the character.  
  • Jim Belushis character in K-9 drove around San Diego in a red convertible with the dog trainer suspended on the hood of the car directing the dog to converse with Jim.
  • The Police Station in the movie K-9 was located on the second floor of the Carnation Building which was an abandoned warehouse.  The art department cleaned and dressed the interior to serve their purposes.
  • Lords of Dogtown purchased a used ferris wheel listed on Ebay and used it to build its replica of the Pacific Ocean Pier in Imperial Beach.  
  • For The Lost World: Jurassic Park, the Film Commission scouted desert vistas, lunar landscapes, forests, cliffs and waterscapes.  During this process of presenting photos of San Diego to the producers, the third act of the story was re-written and San Diego became the final destination for the T-Rex.
  • The front of City Hall became the FBI Headquarters in the movie My Blue Heaven and you can also see the fountain in front of the Westin Hotel prominently displayed in the film. 
  • In My Blue Heaven, starring Steve Martin, Rick Moranis and Joan Cusack, there was a scene in front of City Hall which called for rain, and of course San Diego is famous for its great weather and few rainy days.  The production company set up rain towers, including water trucks, to stage some rain. Just as the cameras started to roll Mother Nature kicked in and it really started to rain.  They still needed the rain towers, however, so they could control the rain and ensure continuity.
  • The San Diego season of Real World was filmed in a designer house off of Harbor Drive and was one of the highest rated Real World in years.
  • Lorenzo Lamas, star of the 6-year running TV series Renegade, could be spotted on his motorcycle all around San Diego portraying his character.  Some of the most popular locations for the show were at the US Grant Hotel and the Sun Cafe.
  • The film Scorpion King shot on location in Borrego Springs, which appears in the opening sequence as well as in other parts in the feature.  Borrego doubled as Mesopotamia 3000 B.C.
  • The Film Commission staff was on set to supervise the filming of  Scorpion King and was fortunate enough to notice the Rock (aka Dwayne Johnson) wearing the Commissions lip balm tied to his loincloth.
  • San Diego played as Palm Beach in Silk Stalkings, a TV series that filmed full time in San Diego for more than eight years in the 1990s. The most well known actors of the series were Mitzi Kapture and Rob Estes, who played detectives for the Palm Beach Police Department. Some of the primary locations  used  in the series  included private homes in Rancho Santa Fe and La Jolla, streets in the downtown area, an office building off of Aero Drive which doubled as Police Headquarters, the Embarcadero and local beaches. Silk Stalkings employed more than 5,000 San Diegans as crew and talent during its eight year run.
  • The Film Commission worked to find over 30 locations to play as San Diego and Mexico for the film Outta Time.  Mario Lopez crossed the border at San Ysidro, fell out of a helicopter over Lake Murray, ran for his life down the streets and alleys of North Park and attended college in Balboa Park.
  • How hard is it to blow up a car in the middle of downtown?  The Film Commission made that and other stunts happen for the blockbuster film, Traffic, starring Catherine Zeta Jones, Michael Douglas, and Benicio Del Toro.  Coordinating with local public safety  agencies, notifying building owners and occupants, working with the San Diego Trolley and providing 24/7 problem solving was part of the Film Commissions job when working with Traffic.
  • The usually peaceful Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park was used to stage an explosion during the film Top Dog starring Chuck Norris.
  • Top Gun, featuring Tom Cruise, was filmed in locations including the former Naval Training Center, Miramar Naval Air Station, Jims Airways, the Kansas City Barbeque, city streets and a beach cottage in Oceanside.
  • The popular television drama Veronica Mars followed the life of a teenage detective. The series shot entirely in San Diego and utilized many downtown locations. From the Ball Park District to the Courthouse to Balboa Park this series showcases the variety of looks the City has to offer.
  • The X-Files ninth season came to an end in San Diego County. The cult classic TV show filmed the series finale in our eastern desert.  The Film Commission found a state owned off-road vehicle park outside of Borrego Springs where the art department could build a life-size "Anasazi" village.  The special effects team could then blow it up, which included using helicopters and sidewinder missiles.