The Back-up Plan Movie Shootings

Though electing to shoot the majority of The Back-up Plan in Los Angeles, the production filmed for two weeks in New York. While only in New York a short period of time, Alan Poul and his team utilized those two weeks to the fullest to ensure New York itself was adequately represented on screen. They shot at a wide variety of locations around the city including on Fifth Avenue along Central Park, in the Tribeca Farmer’s Market, on Park Avenue, along the brownstones of Greenwich Village, and at Gray’s Papaya on Sixth Avenue.

Shooting in New York was invaluable and the filmmakers made certain they didn’t lose that quintessential Big Apple look when shooting in Los Angeles. They were determined that the sets wouldn’t read like Los Angeles for New York. “We tried to keep it as authentic as possible so when we ultimately do end up in New York, the look is seamless,” says Black.

The filmmakers traveled to New York a couple times in the preparation process to identify key details of the areas they were about to portray. They, then, strategized on how they would recreate the areas in Los Angeles. “It’s really about choosing locations very carefully,” notes Poul.

The Warner Bros backlot provided the perfect slate on which to build the diverse areas of Manhattan represented in the script. “It’s unique among the backlots around town,” says renowned production designer Alec Hammond. “You can actually look in every direction and see buildings – buildings that have the right amount of eclectic architecture to really feel like New York.”

The Warner Bros backlot’s versatility was due in part to the fact that it was a controlled environment. Lighting could be manipulated, color pallets could be customized and one ‘street block’ could be re-dressed to represent different geographic parts of the city depending on the scene. Creative design detail would also help Poul and Hammond achieve, as Hammond puts it, “a magical look to New York.”

A number of other LA-area locations served as New York including a farm in the Santa Monica mountains that doubled for Stan’s farm in Upstate New York and Pasadena’s Pasadena Elks Lodge which served as the interior of Nana’s Shady Brook Retirement Center in Queens.

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