New York, New York: Some Big Apple alternatives
New York has always been a thriving hub for filming, however if it’s not accessible for your production here are some alternatives that could possibly suit your needs.
1. Bulgaria - Nu Boyana Film Studios has recreated numerous streets and alleys, from Soho and the Cast Iron district to Chinatown and Brooklyn. All the buildings are a staggering 194 ft. high, some of them offering up to 4th floor visual shooting and some practical interior sets.
The ground floor and upper storey facades, with window-dressings and a litany of interiors can be transformed into galleries, pubs, restaurants, cafés and shops that can replicate New York City. The set also includes a fully operational traffic light and subway entrance.
Features such as 2009’s Ninja have filmed there.
2. Toronto - Due to a similar landscape, a lot of movies that are set in New York are actually filmed in Toronto. Favourably known as a ‘Baby New York’, Toronto has been home to some mega budget productions looking to take advantage of Ontario’s strong film tax incentives whilst getting the New York backdrop they desire. Notable films to have shot there include X-Men, American Psycho, Get Rich Or Die Tryin, The Incredible Hulk and Kick-Ass.
3. London - With London’s world-class studios readily available to adapt to different environments, several productions have decided to call London home, and use replicas of The City That Never Sleeps. With well-known NYC scenery, people are always surprised to hear that Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut was actually filmed at Pinewood Studios, as was Joe Johnston’s Captain America: The First Avenger, which also used Shepperton.
4. Vancouver - Another major Canadian city that has masqueraded as The Big Apple is Vancouver. With its cityscape and comparable weather, it’s not hard to see why. 1995 film ironically called Rumble In the Bronx starring Jackie Chan was filmed entirely in Vancouver, as was Tim Story’s 2005 adaptation of The Fantastic Four and the more recent Watchmen.
5. Los Angeles -The epicentre of film was of course going to get a mention as a library of television shows and feature films have, and continue to be, shot on the huge New York sets available at the city’s various studios. Renowned NYC show Castle is filmed at Raleigh Studios, while Paramount has an enormous NYC set that is constantly booked and has been home to productions such as Mr & Mrs Smith and Along Came Polly. Warner Bros.’ replica backdrop has a solid reputation as a grittier New York, with films such as The Minority Report, Road To Perdition and a plethora of Batman films having graced its stage.
6. Rome - Cinecittà Studios. The old European hub of the spaghetti western. Most of Cinecittà Studios’ sets were painstakingly designed by Dante Ferretti, who worked on Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York, entirely filmed at Cinecittà. On the subject of the iconic Italian studio, Leonardo DiCaprio was quoted during filming the Scorsese epic as saying: “With these great sets of the past, it was a very stirring experience. The sets were so moving that you really felt in a 19th century New York.”
7. New Zealand – Not a place you would first think of when considering a location to portray New York; however Wellington was famously used by Peter Jackson to film the complete latest incarnation of King Kong.
8. Atlanta - A well-known bustling city, Atlanta was used for Anchorman: The Legend Continues. Its skyscrapers and vast downtown core are considered a great match for New York’s bustling metropolis.