New York Filming Locations: The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

The third Bourne movie ‘Ultimatum‘ also finishes in New York (after stints mainly in London and Tangiers) but concludes the whole story in far more extravagant style than its predecessor. Bourne takes a cab from the airport over Queensboro Bridge (below) on 74 mins and arranges to meet Landy at Tudor City although its just a tactic to distract Vosen and co and break into his safe to get the incriminating Blackbriar information

   

Before you know it Bourne is a few blocks west at Port Authority Parking Lot (above right) where he steals a car from the rooftop which I think is the one seen below right.

 

He is then seen racing down the ramp between West 40th and West 41st Streets at 9th Avenue but without an aerial camera or high vantage point it was pretty difficult to do the screenshot below left justice.

 

The fast-paced chase ends up on South Street which is at the foot of the Manhattan side of Brooklyn Bridge and then its on to one of my favourite Bourne locations.

The training facility of SRD is at 415 East 71st Street which Landy gives to Bourne via coded message. However, this address will not lead you to the place seen in the movie on 68 mins as it was actually filmed outside 60 Lafayette Street with the now-defunct Family Court Building used as the secret Treadstone training place. Naturally fake street signs were used and this location really is a pivotal place in the scheme of things. To quote the main man “This is where it started for me. This is where it ends.”

   

It doesn’t quite end there though as Landy faxes the incriminating evidence on Vosen whilst Bourne encounters Dr Albert Hirsch (Albert Finney) on an upper level and is informed that he volunteered for the programme. Pursued by Vosen and his CIA team he flees to the rooftop which is actually much further uptown at the Hospital for Special Surgery on 535 East 70th Street. Bourne is first confronted on the roof by Paz and after an emotional exchange of words he runs to jump off the roof and as he does so Vosen appears and shoots at him as he plunges into the East River below. A spectacular end brings the Bourne story full circle in terms of him starting in the water in ‘Identity‘ and finishing in it in ‘Ultimatum‘…….until ‘The Bourne Legacy‘ decided to continue the story!! I have never failed to get a shiver down my spine as I see Nicky (Julia Stiles) watching the TV news report about the exposure of Operation Blackbriar in the films closing moments.

New York Filming Locations: The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

“Get some rest Pam, you look tired” are the final words uttered over the phone by Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) on 100 minutes to Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) before Moby’s theme tune kicks in and he is seen walking away from the building where he had been spying on her from. Although the majority of ’The Bourne Supremacy‘ was shot in Berlin which I covered in this entry the second film in the saga ends in New York City. The building below is located on 202 East 48th Street at 3rd Avenue and it was raining quite badly when I went there on my final day in the city.

     

TF Film Review: The Bourne Legacy (2012)

So the Bourne franchise continues without the main man himself and the big question is whether or not Jeremy Renner can fill Matt Damon’s shoes! The tagline for this film is ‘there was never just one’ which does sound good and all that whilst at the same time making me smirk in a ‘you really must be kidding’ type way.

 

This film is a completely new story and nothing to do with the Eric Van Lustbader book of the same name which I read a few years ago. Compared to the original trilogy I think this one starts quite slowly but once it got into its stride it was typical Bourne action with the Manila scenes being the most action-packed albeit similar to what we have seen by way of the rooftop and motorcycle chases which were a part of ‘The Bourne Ultimatum‘ Tangiers package.

Many of the cast from that last film are back if you believe the exciting trailers for the film but in reality its just a very clever edit and marketing ploy to get fans to return to the cinema as Pamela Landy (Joan Cusack), Noah Vossen (David Strathaim) and Dr Albert Hirsch (Albert Finney) roles are more of the cameo variety. The story is centred around Jeremy Renner’s character Aaron Cross and Dr Marta Shearing (played by Rachel Weisz) amid a plot which isn’t exactly easy to follow. The story pretty much begins as ‘Ultimatum’ ended which may sound difficult given how well that went full circle with Bourne starting and ending in the water as the story pretty much closed.

The Bourne Legacy‘ deals with the fall out after Bourne’s exposure of ‘Operation Blackbriar’ and the Department of Defence is trying to cover up their black-ops ‘Outcome’ program which is an offshoot of both ‘Treadstone’ and ‘Blackbriar’. However, it is a bit different as they are using science to provide their agents with green pills to enhance physical abilities and blue pills to enhance mental abilities and for some reason which I forget this is how the two main stars meet up in this film.

It’s pretty sad to go to the cinema pretty much on arrival in a different country but that is what I did today when I saw this somewhere on 42nd Street here in New York which by chance is also where some of the film was set. I will have to see if I can track some of them down! Other locations used include Calgary in Canada, Seoul in South Korea and Manila and El Nido in the Philippines with the latter being music to my ears as I’ve already been there and got the necessary shots!

As a stand-alone trilogy I don’t think the one’s actually featuring Jason Bourne can be beaten and whilst Renner and Weisz do put in very good performances their characters are lacking the interest and complexity of the main man. They’re also fighting against a pretty desperate script and this sequel (extension?) of the Bourne series is quite ok as a stand-alone thriller if you’ve not seen the previous three but as no-one at all is likely to be in that category of viewers it doesn’t add anything much and really has no reason to exist.

Tokyo Fox Rating 7/10

‘Beyond The Movies’ – Behind The Scenes + Full Interview

‘Beyond The Movies’ is the title I’ve been using for the last few years on my Facebook film-related albums which feature mostly shooting locations but also include screenshots, memorabillia, exhibitions, toys, events and anything which takes the reader beyond the surface of that particular movie. These albums include Star Wars, James Bond, Jason Bourne, Terminator, Back To The Future, Mission Impossible, Super Heroes, Tokyo, Kansai, Asia, The USA, Australia, Europe, The UK and so on.

I often (well occasionally) get asked how I find out the details of each shot which I take so here, by way of a recent online interview I did, is a sneak-peak behind the scenes look at how things fall into place at the Tokyo Fox Global Operations Centre in Tokyo.

 

Here is the full transcript of the interview which will no doubt be edited down quite a bit when it finally sees the light of day later in the year.

How did this obsession come about? I’ve always been interested in seeing such locations but after years of travelling and seeing the usual stuff like waterfalls, beaches, churches, temples and so on I became a bit bored of just doing the sights when I visit a place so hunting down these famous filming locations allowed me to see places in different ways whilst getting off the well worn and proverbial beaten track at the same time.

Do you choose your holiday destinations based solely on films shot there? Apart from maybe Tunisia I have never solely gone to a place just for locations but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t play a major part. Its usually a combination of a few things.

What were the first filming locations you went to? The first one I really remember was one of the Fijian islands which was used in the Tom Hanks survival movie ‘Castaway‘ but that was way back in 2002. It wasn’t until a trip to Phuket in Thailand in 2008 with my mate Ethan that I realised I was more interested in seeing the island from the James Bond film ‘The Man With The Golden Gun‘ and the hostel and beach from ‘The Beach‘ rather than your typical usual touristy sights. Of course a couple of those places I’ve just mentioned are sights in their own right but the hostel certainly isn’t and that was fun.

What has been your favourite location? There have been many. Something like Petra in Jordan which featured in ‘Indiana Jones & the last Crusade‘ was great but that’s a famous sight in its own right so I’d have to say that its the Star Wars stuff in Tunisia. Random places completely unknown by locals who have never seen the saga.

 

What’s been the most difficult one to find? Some of the ones here in Tokyo actually. I needed help from a couple of Japanese people to help me find locations from ‘The Grudge‘ as there was nothing in English and my Japanese skills don’t quite stretch to searching pages and pages of information written in Japanese kanji.

Have you ever failed to track down a place? Yes and I’m still a little gutted about it as it was a big important one. My driver and I just could not locate the igloo in the south west of Tunisia which was the exterior of the Lars Homestead in Star Wars Episodes IV and II.

What preparations do you make in advance? I watch the film with a notepad and pen taking notes on the time of the scene and using the pause button regularly. I then draw a rough sketch of the scene I want to replicate. The end credits of the film sometimes give a bit of fairly vague info on the locations or who the producers thank can give a helping hand. Basically I utilise the DVD extras to maximum effect by watching ‘making of…’ documentary, deleted scenes & listening to the directors commentary. Computer-wise I used to copy photos of scenes from the web if they were available and then printed them out for comparison shots. In recent times I have become a bit more modernised and use my iPad or iPhone to store the pictures on which is far better than a badly printed screenshot picture. I have also used my PSP in the past for ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ and ‘Bourne Identity’ stuff but the UMD format is basically a failed one so isn’t going to be so beneficial as very few films were released as a PSP video.

  

What resources do you use to help you? Having decided where I want to go to on a trip I cross-reference that place with ‘The Worldwide Guide to Movie Locations‘ (Tony Reeves) book and website which is the grandaddy of filming locations information. Furthermore, I search Wikipedia, YouTube and the net in general where other movie fans have posted their stuff online but its not always so easy as certain ones, particularly the ones here in Japan, are not detailed well. Imdb can sometimes be as vague as just saying the country name but its filming locations section occasionally if I’m lucky goes much further in detail and even gives addresses. I also search out books and programmes with Mark Dermul’s Star Wars books in particular assisting me for finding the exact points which George Lucas used.

You appear in a lot of your photos so who takes them for you? Apart from a few trips with friends the vast majority have been taken by myself using a tripod and timer. For the record I appear in my pictures to stop people wanting to steal them off the internet and pass them off as their own…and of course because I’m very vain! haha!

Where does the name Tokyo Fox come from? Well my team Leicester City, who play in the league below the Premier League, are nicknamed the Foxes and I live in Tokyo so there you go.

What kind of person looks at the Tokyo Fox website? Good question! Apart from my parents, who themselves probably skim over all the film stuff, I know of very few of my family or friends who regularly look at it. I get a lot of hits for the Star Wars, Bourne, Back to the Future, James Bond, Terminator locations in particular from like-minded fans scouring google in search of these places which have played a part in movie history. Of course theres other stuff on there about Japanese life and travel etc which is quite popular too.

Do you have any plans to release a book? Well I’ve certainly considered it a few times and did start work on a Japan filming locations title but as ever these things get put aside while other things in my life take over. I’d like to pull my finger out one day and get something published but whether it will happen I don’t know. Watch this space…

 

What locations would you like to see in the future? Hmmm, not too many must-sees left but I am going to New York next month which has more films set there than anywhere else. Other than that then maybe Guatemala to do a Star Wars shot and maybe some of central america may be of interest. I still have places to see in London and it would actually be nice to travel my own country a bit more in the name of shooting locations.

Paris Filming Locations: The Bourne Identity (2002)

The first of the Bourne trilogy was filmed mostly in Paris with a few scenes done in the Czech Republic which appeared in last years ‘Prague Pt II’ article. The action soon moves on to the French capital with Jason and Marie arriving from “Switzerland” in her red mini at night where they sleep in the car at Quai de la Tornelle (below) on 36 mins.

  

 

They arrive at Bourne’s apartment (below) on 38 mins which is 104 Avenue Kléber and not 104 Rue du Jardin as portrayed in the film. Trocadero is the nearest Metro station and this was my first port of call back in January. Its here that Bourne learns someone wants him out of the way and after an exciting fight which leaves Marie shocked they both exit his apartment on 47 mins. Featured below are the various screenshots and views which we see during those brief movie moments. The lower right photo is the view we see of Bourne from the inside of the apartment minus the metal door frame getting in the way.

 

 

The Treadstone safehouse (below) on 47 mins where Nicky gets her instructions following the altercation at Bourne’s place is 2 Place du Marché St Catherine.

 

Far easier to find (obviously!) was the Gare du Nord (below) which is Europe’s busiest railway station and my final destination as it was where I was to get the Eurostar back to Britain. Bourne leaves Marie outside pondering whether to stick with him or not while he goes inside the station to deposit his red bag (full of his many identities and national currencies) in one of the lockers. It appears on screen after 49 mins and also pops up again briefly in ‘The Bourne Ultimatum‘.

   

Unlike the 007 films the Bourne franchise doesn’t like to take place amid a places most famous landmarks but it does often feature them in the distant background. One such example of that is where the Eiffel Tower is seen in the screenshots and my comparison photos below which are of Wombosi the dictators mansion. It is seen on screen after 63 mins when he is assassinated by The Professor. The address is 11 Place des États Unis and is a short walk up the road from the aforementioned Bourne home.

 

 

Next up is Hotel Regina at 2 Place des Pyramides (below) on 64 mins which is where Bourne fills Marie in on his detailed plan for her to go inside and get information concerning his alter ego John Michael Kane. Marie enters the hotels grand lobby which I was surprised to notice was almost identical to that seen in the film even down to the tree in the corner.

 

   

Jardin des Tuilerres is across the road from Hotel Regina (below) and appears on 66 mins when Marie knocks on the phone box (a fake set piece by the way) and surprises Bourne and tells him that she ignored his detailed planning and had just got Kane’s phone records from the reception desk. Subtle humour and a kind of swipe at the usual elaborate ways of acquiring such information in films.

 

 

La Defense Grand Arche (below) pops up on screen after 69 mins for a brief second as Bourne follows the lead given to him by Marie. The place he’s going to is called ‘Alliance Securite Maritime’ and was nearly missed by me altogether as for some reason I didn’t have it in my notes or on my iPad google map page. Luckily I saw this scene on my PSP copy of the movie which I was using for the match-ups and took the metro out to the western side of Paris to see this gigantic hollow cube.

  

Bourne sets up a meeting with Treadstone Chief Alex Conklin on Pont Neuf (below) after 95 mins but as ever he’s on top of things and notices all the extra people dotted around the area keeping an eye on things and promptly flees the area. Rain had been hanging in the air all day whilst I was in Paris and on the whole I got quite lucky but the weather was awful while I was in the vicinity of Pont Neuf and the Samaritaine building seen in the background below.

     

The Treadstone operation is closed down at Rue de Jarante (below) on 108 mins when Conklin meets his maker. The aforementioned Treadstone safe house is actually behind this street.

 

   

Bourne crosses the Pont des Arts (above) walking away from Treadstone and mysteriously disappears on 109 mins. Of course he reappears a few minutes later as he tracks Marie down in the ‘Little Venice’ area of Mykonos in Greece where she is running a motorcycle rental shop. The excellent ‘Extreme Ways’ by Moby then kicks in and the end credits roll. Should I have put a spoiler alert on here?!!

You can see my Berlin ‘Bourne Supremacy’ locations here.

11 Filming Location Trips For 2011

2011 has been quite a productive year for hunting down filming locations in the likes of The USA, Jordan, Germany, England, Belgium, Turkey, Czech Republic and Japan. Click on the links below to see more.

1. Back To The Future (Click here)

2. The Bourne Supremacy (Click here)

3. Lolo Rennt (Run Lola Run) (Click here)

4. Star Wars (Click here and here)

5. Memoirs Of A Geisha (Click here)

6. In Bruges (Click here)

7. Terminator (Click here)

8. The Last Samurai (Click here)

9. James Bond (Click herehereherehere and here)

10. The Karate Kid (Click here)

11. Indiana Jones (Click here)

Other 2011 locations for the films listed below can be found here

Los Angeles Filming Locations: Universal Studios Special

As mentioned in the prelude I did go to Universal Studios in 2002 (I also went to the one in Osaka in 2005) but I wanted to return as of course things do change. On my birthday (8/8) myself and Ethan both re-vistited the studios amid sweltering heat. We went to the lower lot first and The Mummy ride was an unexpected thrill which we immediately rode again. The Jurassic Park ride followed which saw us get a good soaking from the squirting dinosaurs and the rides culmination which saw us take a “treacherous plunge straight down an 84ft vertical drop waterfall.” The NBC Universal experience was a minor pit-stop but I was delighted to see the red mini which was used in ‘The Bourne Identity’ in 2002.

   

Having ascended back to the upper lot (via stairs for exercise) I was disappointed that the ‘Back To The Future Ride’ was no more but equally interested to go on its replacement; ‘The Simpsons Ride’ which was a thrilling virtual rollercoaster ride. As a fan of that show I was also excited to see reconstructions of Comic-Book guy’s shop and the Kwik-E-Mart.

   

After a long, long wait in burning sunshine we took the Studio Tour which lasted longer than normal as there was some kind of problem with our train so we had to wait for a replacement one to be brought to where we had halted. After that we saw sets from ‘Jaws’ (below left), ‘Psycho’ (lower left), ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ (lower right), ‘Desperate Housewives’ (below middle right), ‘Jurassic Park’, ‘The Fast & the Furious: Tokyo Drift’ (below middle left), ‘The Mummy’ and the huge outdoor airplane crash set built for ‘War of the Worlds’ (below right).

     

Other parts of the studio tour included a flash flood, an 8.3 earthquake, an old west town (including a saloon and sheriff station) and King Kong 360 3-D which is the world’s largest 3-D experience and having put on our special glasses was good fun and probably the best example of 3-D I have witnessed. That’s not saying too much though as I am generally not a fan of the recent rise in films being made in 3-D.

I was so tired that I couldn’t even stay awake in the Shrek 4-D ride but managed to recover in time for our final attraction which was the Terminator 2: 3-D ride. As much as I enjoyed experiencing this again it probably is a bit outdated now given the time that’s lapsed since its incarnation as well as the aforementioned rise of the 3-D format in recent years. There was just enough time for a quick photo-stop or two on the way out at the book shop from Notting Hill and the Universal Studios globe at the entrance both of which I was photographed at nine years earlier.