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Any exotic foreign locale in a TV series is, due to budget or danger to the cast, likely to actually be somewhere in California, such as Kirk's Rock. For British sci-fi shows, it's "Quarry Doubling" — any desolate alien planet is usually a quarry (usually the BBC Quarry) within a couple of hours' drive from London — or Doubling For London.
One of the most famous examples of this is in Star Trek (and all subsequent series), in which every planet they land on looks exactly like the deserts of southern California or the redwood forests of Northern California, or the mountains of California (assuming it isn't a studio cyclorama instead). Oh, and from time to time the script might call for a beach. Any ideas?
There is also Vancouver Doubling that is helpful with vast mountain forests, dry deserts and oceans nearby, Toronto has doubled for urban areas such as New York City and Chicago more times than it has actually represented itself, and Utah has been Vulcan, Mars, and the Old West.
The main reason is that a production crew not only includes a cameraman, director and actors; there are usually at least two or three dozen people working on prepping a location, providing the appropriate light and transporting the equipment to film a scene. Moving everyone, especially on a weekly television budget, is sometimes implausible even if said location is willing to permit filming. Other times, the actual location is not an option for security and or political reasons.
Another time that this may be necessary is if the original location (and this is true especially for period pieces) no longer looks like what it did in story. While obviously it might be a bit difficult filming an ancient Rome in Rome itself as the city resembles Caesar's city in name only, even more recent cases might need new areas, the London of today is quite different from the London of Victorian times and the early part of the twentieth century (thanks in no small part to the Luftwaffe), so many East European locations are substituted instead.
Of course, this can lead to Television Geography, as well as It's Always Spring. In many cases, the average viewer may not be familiar with the location in question, but can end up bugging those viewers who have been or actually live in those locations. Also take into account that any production wants to Shoot the Money, and may chose a more scenic place to film instead of the less impressive place it actual is.
This can have a very odd effect the first time one visits southern California. Upon seeing for the first time those scrub-covered hills and twisty roads, one gets a truly unearthly sense of deja vu. Have I been here before, you ask yourself? Then you realize that you have... on TV! For those who live in southern California, it is amusing to point out places one recognizes from TV shows. The most used location is Griffith Park, whose scrabble mountains can be seen in nearly every 1950's "jungle" movie, and Mash.
This can lead to The Mountains of Illinois when the setting is full of Critical Research Failures.
The easiest way to subvert California Doubling is to simply have the setting actually be California (usually Los Angeles/Burbank, which is both near Hollywood and where a good chunk of the television industry is actually located). Indeed, many television shows, especially sitcoms do exactly that.
Contrast with Canada Does Not Exist, where the shooting location actually affects the storyline.
Averted in Dark City. The only real giveaway that the filming took place primarily in a studio near Sydney is the somewhat out of place Australian accent of a young police officer who talks to Detective Bumstead in one scene. Also, the director happens to be from Australia.
Set in the universal American city, Metropolis, all of Superman Returns was filmed in Australia. The Kansas scenes were filmed near Tamworth, a country town. At one point Bryan Singer was worried that the original Kansas farm scenes from the first movie were actually filmed in Kansas; he learned that Richard Donner filmed them in Alberta.
The 1996 version of The Phantom (with Billy Zane in the purple suit) had Warner Bros. Movie World on Queensland's Gold Coast and the city of Brisbane doubling for various US locations.
House of Wax (2005) was shot in Queensland, with areas around the Gold Coast doubling rather unconvincingly for Louisiana.
The Punisher (1989) had the title character pulling up on his motorcycle outside a CES sign, which any Australian of the time would recognize as the Commonwealth Employment Service (the govt organization that handed out dole payments). Ironically the service was privatized some time ago, so anyone watching it on DVD now would likely not recognize it.
Cybergirl was set in a fictitious city named "River City", which was a very thinly-veiled version of Brisbane (the location of River City was never given).
The Marine was mostly shot in Queensland, Australia but set in South Carolina.
The Matrix. The scene in which Neo says "I used to eat lunch there. Good noodles", the car is clearly driving through the Chinatown end of George street in Sydney's CBD. Of course, you also see the Sydney Tower and the Maritime Services Board control tower on the city's skyline.
Parts of The Wolverine set in Japan and Canada were filmed in and around Sydney, Australia.
Part of the upcoming (as of May 2014) movie San Andreas are set in California but being filmed in the Lockyer Valley just west of Brisbane, Australia.
The 1988 TV revival of Mission: Impossible was filmed in Brisbane, and later Melbourne. The Brisbane TV station screening the series ran a competition asking viewers to pick out the local landmarks used. (Averted in three episodes - "The Cattle King" and "The Golden Serpent" parts 1 and 2 - which did involve Australia!)
Farscape filmed entirely in Australia, including Earth scenes that were supposed to be located on the Florida Space Coast. For all that the beaches are decidedly different, upper middle class tract housing can evidently be pretty similar in both places.
Specifically: IASA's HQ shown in "Won't Get Fooled Again" was shot in and around Sydney Olympic Park, in Homebush (a 5min drive from the studio where seasons 2-4 were shot) - ANZ stadium doubles as a launch pad (CGI rocket stuck in the middle of it) and the distinct spiral building seen several times in the background is actually part of the car park near the Acer Arena. The gardens in the "Look At The Princess" trilogy were actually the Japanese gardens in Auburn. The beach in "Scratch & Sniff" was in Maroubra. The dock often seen in Crichton's dream sequences was actually right outside the industrial park in Homebush where seasons 2-4 were shot. The old gun emplacement at Middle Head doubled for several alien military encampments and ancient ruins.
The entirety of The Pacific was filmed in various locations Victoria. It doubles for everything from Guadalcanal and Pelieliu to Mobile, Alabama, and California. It's also averted when the Marines actually go to Melbourne on Liberty.
K9 was filmed in Brisbane, although the show is set in London in 2050.
Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers again. Filming for the movie was scheduled to finish during a break mid-Season 2, but difficulties left the Ranger cast down under longer than expected. To prevent delays for Season 2, their scenes in two three-parters ("The Wedding" and "Return of the Green Ranger") were filmed in Australia. Note, though, that "The Wedding" has a sub-plot with a school trip to Australia (which allowed for scenes making more extensive use of the area), whereas "Return of the Green Ranger" takes place in Angel Grove, California.
Time Trax had the hero "travelling through our world, searching for fugitives from his own," but all of this travelling was done in Australia ("Photo Finish" was a rare episode to be set there).
New Zealand Doubling
New Zealand doubled for Japan in The Last Samurai; the reason being is that there wasn't any wide spaces for the battles in Japan.
Particularly jarring for anyone watching the first battle scene in the forest if they have lived in NZ for some time. There were just too many silver ferns around that have been taught since primary school were native to New Zealand.
The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies were filmed almost entirely in New Zealand, a country which apparently is the closest they could find to limitless untouched landscape, save for the scenes that required a green screen. According to the DVD extras, about the only location they couldn't find was the rolling green prairies of Rohan — a slightly less-mountainous area was used instead.
They've thrown in a few gags, like Piggy getting teleported there and landing in the middle of a herd of sheep.
Much of the theme park in Beverly Hills Cop III were filmed nowhere near Beverly Hills - still in California, but farther north.
Too many to mention have been filmed in Griffith Park, especially 1950's jungle movies. Just keep an eye out for Griffith Mountain.
One of the reasons the studios moved to Southern California in the first place was the availability of so many different locations (mountains, desert, ocean, etc), all within easy driving distance from Los Angeles.
Similarly, UCLA is a very common college stand-in for two reasons: there are lots of brick buildings, which mesh with the stereotypical university aesthetic (although that may have something to do with all the California Doubling...), and it's in Los Angeles.
Also, the Hearst Castle in Central California. The Greek Revival pool, for example, was used to portray Crassus' war camp in Spartacus.
According to Being John Malkovich, the New Jersey Turnpike has palm trees and oil rigs in the background.
The Matrix series again; the beginning of the highway chase battle in Reloaded was filmed on the streets of Oakland and transitioned to a fabricated set in neighboring Alameda by including a quick shot inside the underwater tunnel connecting the two cities.
Spoofed in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me; as Austin and Felicity Shagwell drive through what is ostensibly the British countryside, along a desert highway with the ocean visible in the background, Austin remarks "You know what's remarkable? That England looks in no way like Southern California!" The only concession towards making what is obviously southern California even remotely like England is the addition of a red phone box next to the road, and having them driving on the left-hand side of the road.
Phone Booth is filmed on possibly the only LA street which could plausibly pass for Manhattan. However, the effect is blown in long shots when you can see the skyscrapers ending after a few blocks.
Killing Zoe takes place entirely in Paris, France. With the exception of two tracking shots that plat over the opening/closing credits, it was filmed completely in L.A. Because the movie takes place almost entirely indoors and features a large French cast, it would have been pointless to go to France in the first place.
Stockton CA has been used for a large number of movies and TV, mostly because it doesn't look much like LA/Southern CA. Prime examples, the roadbuilding scene in Cool Hand Luke (Shot just outside of town on 10-mile road) and the "Eastern College" in The Sure Thing (which is actually Pacific University).
Army of Darkness is quite, quite blatantly not shot in whatever quasi-British kingdom it's set in (it was filmed in Bronson Canyon and Vasquez Rocks National Park, both of which are in California).
The movie The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming (a comedy which revolves around a Soviet submarine running aground in Massachusetts) was filmed in California.
The Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941) was filmed in the deserts of Southern California, despite the fact that the first episode supposedly takes place in the jungles of Siam. In fact there seems to be some confusion between Thailand and the Middle East.
In the movie Love Actually, Colin travels to the city of Milwaukee, WI. However, the airport shown has a sign that says "Milwaukee International Airport" (the real one is "Mitchell Int'l"). The bar he goes to has California license plates and prominent Budweiser signs. Milwaukee is the home of Miller brewery, the chance of finding a bar that looks like the one in Love Actually is slim to none.
The outdoor scenes in The Lost World: Jurassic Park have significantly more redwood trees than you'd expect from a equatorial island. This is because they were filmed near Eureka, CA (no, not that one).
Many of the Endor scenes from Return of the Jedi were filmed near Eureka, in a place called Cheatham Grove. The fallen tree that Luke ducks under while flying is still there. Scenes from the 1995 film Outbreak were also filmed in Cheatham Grove (not an example of doubling, though, since Outbreak was set in California).
The Tennessee scenes in Death Proof were filmed in California, unlike the Texas scenes which were actually filmed in Texas.
Older than Television: A map of California from 1927 (current page image) includes locations such as the Mississippi River, South Africa, Spain, Wales, the Nile River, the Sahara Desert, Venice, Kentucky Mountains, and Siberia.
2008's Iron Man was filmed in the Antelope Valley in Southern California, while portraying the Middle East.
Some Gothic films, supposedly set in Europe, actually had their church exteriors filmed in Perris, California.
In Starship Troopers, the airport that Rico and Carmen go to before shipping out is clearly shot from the interior of the LA Convention Center, despite the fact that they live in futuristic Buenos Aires.
Thelma & Louise was set in various locations across the U.S., including Arkansas, Oklahoma City, and whatever lies between Oklahoma and Mexico that's not Texas. Most of the film was shot in various California locations.
The little-seen Vietnam WarMockumentary (played seriously) 84 Charlie MoPic was clearly shot in California, as the budget was so small they couldn't afford to go overseas.
Halloween is set in the fictional town of Haddonfield, Illinois, but filmed around Burbank, California. The palm trees in the background make this more obvious. It's sequel and bothreimaginings from Rob Zombie were also filmed in California instead of Illinois, while 4, 5, and 6 were filmed in Utah and the final original film was shot in Vancouver. Averted with 3 and H20 which were set and shot in California.
In Home Alone 2, all the scenes that take place at Kevin's uncle's house in Manhattan were shot in Hollywood, CA, while the scenes with Kevin's family in Miami were shot in Malibu.
Dawn Patrol, a World War One movie set in pancake-flat Belgium and northern France, has some very anachronistic and easily recognizable Southern California hills in all of the flying scenes.
The Hopalong Cassidy B-Westerns of the 1930s and '40s were set in just about every Western state, with visits to Argentina and Arabia. All these places looked curiously similar, because they were all shot in the same stretch of California's Sierra Nevadas.
Gunga Din, an adventure film set in Northen India, used the exact same locations as many Hopalong Cassidy movies. Supposedly, even some genuine Indians were tricked into thinking the movie had been filmed in India.
Charlie Chaplin made California double for Germany and France in his 1917 movie Shoulder Arms, taking place during World War One. This may be one of the earliest examples of this trope, and has two visual giveaways: The mountains around Hollywood, and cars running in the background. Germany in the 1910s didn`t have motorways yet, but California clearly had some in the greater Los Angeles area.
In Speed, the freeway depicted as I-10 was actually part of the then-unopened I-105 with the signs changed.
Tess of the Storm Country (1914) features the cliffs of the California coast doing a hilariously bad job doubling as the Finger Lakes of upstate New York.
Happy Days is set in Milwaukee, but was shot entirely in Hollywood, California. The same can be said about it's spinoffs.
Both Matlock and Profiler were set in or around Atlanta, GA. Were it not for establishing shots, dialogue references, and the opening credits of 'Matlock', no Atlantan would know this.
24: Redemption features several African jungle scenes set in what are clearly eucalyptus groves — while the eucalyptus tree is unknown across all but a few regions in Africa, it grows wild in much of California. The show's seventh season takes place in Washington, DC, but the (partial) California Doubling becomes obvious when you see palm trees and dry brown hills.
Alias did this practically every episode. So often in fact, a DVD featurette was called "From Burbank [home of a number of studios in LA] to Barcelona".
Angel had a few episodes supposedly set in places like Rome and U.K. For the U.K. one, they went to a forested area of northern California but were still disappointed at how little it looked like the English countryside. Minutes before they were to film, however, a fog bank rolled in and gave the setting a much more UK feel.
The fourth-season premiere of Bones was set and filmed in London. However, the show set in Washington, DC, with special locations such as Washington State, Las Vegas, and New Orleans, has NEVER left California to shoot any of those episodes. An episode set in Baltimore, complete with Baltimore accents ("Welcome to Bawlmer"), but the opening scene was clearly filmed at the Sepulveda Dam.
Castle is set in New York. Only the pilot was actually filmed there. The episode set in Los Angeles takes advantage of that fact.
Cold Case has occasional location shots in Philadelphia, but has many scenes clearly filmed in LA: the architecture that is supposedly "Germantown" or "the River Wards" has no business anywhere that gets harsh winters. The LA Metro has stood in for the Broad Street Subway at least once, as well. Any scene involving the cops standing outside their workplace is a bit strange since it's the same building that the FBI's LA bureau uses in NUMB3RS, shot from below the bridges.
Combat!, while set in WWII France, did most of its non-backlot shooting in Griffith Park, specifically Bronson Canyon.
Some insert shots from a few season 4 episodes actually were shot around Loire, France, but they're very much the exception.
Community takes place in Colorado, which apparently has palm trees and a rather mild winter.
Cougar Town is set in Florida. Some of suburban Florida superficially resembles the Southern California, but the palm trees are actually quite different. Remember, there are two mountain ranges, multiple river valleys, a few hundred miles of ocean, and a desert between Florida and LA.
Criminal Minds (set near Washington, D.C.) is filmed in California, and the one episode that averted this was one set in San Francisco.
The CSI franchise is famous for this with all three of its shows doing the majority of their filming in Cali, only filming in the actual places they're set in (Las Vegas, Miami and New York City) when they have to. An early episode had the Japanese American National Museum doubling for a police station, but didn't bother editing out the sign over the gift shop a more recent episode had Grissom and (I think) Katherine walking through Universal City Walk subbing for The Strip.
Another failure occurs when a corpse is being exhumed from under a bridge by the LVPD, while a clearly-marked Metrolink train passes over the bridge.
Another episode featured a gun range in the episode... this gun range is in Burbank near the Empire Center.
Dexter took place in Miami, but was filmed mostly in Long Beach, CA.
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman substituted Southern California for the Colorado mountains... poorly. Especially with such sights as the cast climbing the gentle, rolling slopes of Pike's Peak, lush with the dry brown grass of summer.
A horrifying example of California Doubling in the United States was the short-lived Fox series, Drive. The series started in Florida, going through Georgia, and through the desert of southern California every step of the way. Florida has no mountains, period, end of discussion.
Firefly takes advantage of this phenomenon, as the show has a Western feel to it, so it is entirely appropriate for every outlying backwoods planet to look like Old West California.
Despite the fact that it had a comparatively higher budget than the TV series, the movie sequel to it, Serenity, nonetheless has a planet that, CGI aside, is represented by a local high school campus. The chase scene around the Companion Training House seems to have been similarly filmed in local woods, with the rest of the landscape around it having been filled in with CGI and basically all of the other settings being either soundstages, the Universal lot, or CGI.
Assuming this is a good example of California Doubling, Fresno, a miniseries that parodied Dallas and shows like it, was mostly filmed in Los Angeles, CA. The first 1 1/2 days, however, were spent filming in the actual city of Fresno. However, due to the extreme 100-degree heat, production moved 205 miles down south.
Friends was set in New York City, but was filmed in Burbank, California. However, the fourth season finale was shot on location, in London. On the other hand, "The One In Barbados" was more like "The One In Hollywood."
A Gilmore Girls episode in which Lorelai and Rory visit Harvard includes scenes of the "campus" which are actually filmed at UCLA and Berkeley. Also, USC was Yale for Rory's graduation.
Greek: Set in central Ohio. Filmed in Southern California. You can tell because It's Always Spring, and winters in Ohio have been known to kill people.
A multiple part episode of Growing Pains had the Seavers traveling to a Europe that at one point conspicuously resembled Catalina Island.
According to Maura Tierney (who was on the show at the time) they were actually due to film in Europe, but Kirk Cameron - there's a shocker - vetoed it. (In his defence, he cited a fear of flying, but it can't have helped his popularity with the cast and crew.)
Heroes does a pretty good job of making Los Angeles locations double for New York, Las Vegas, India, Japan, etc. It's helped by frequent use of CGI backgrounds.
Though it is worth noting that anyone who actually lives in Odessa, TX, will laugh hysterically at the idea that said city is anywhere near as green and hilly as it's seen on Heroes.
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has plenty of scenes (and brief introductory shots) from Philadelphia, including both well-known recognizable sights and neighborhoods that only a native would be able to distinguish from another city. But many of the interiors - and even the exterior of Paddy's Pub! - are filmed in soundstages in California.
JAG A series about the lawyers in the Navy & Marine Corps, takes mosly place (when state side) in the greater DC area, but most of the location shooting is done in LA. The episodes show the cast wearing proper seasonal uniforms (at the time of airing) and did a remarkable job at averting this trope. Most ship scenes were filmed aboard actual US Navy ships in San Diego or on museum ships.
Knots Landing is an interesting case. The series is actually based in Los Angeles, but the home cul-de-sac, Seaview Circle, is depicted as being near a coastline. The actual cul-de-sac used, Crystalview Place, is in Granada Hills in the San Fernando Valley, 25 road miles from the nearest shoreline.
The more recent seasons of Leverage film in Portland, OR but are set in Boston.
Particularly ridiculous in Little House on the Prairie which is set in Minnesota, a state not exactly known for its mountains or its long stretches of lush green summery weather.
The "Korean" setting of Mash is actually a section of Malibu Creek State Park in California, which was then the "Fox Ranch". Other scenes were shot in Griffith Park.
Monk is set in San Francisco and filmed in Culver City. There are buses with the word CULVER written in five-foot-high orange letters that went through the end of the cult episode. One episode has Monk wander his way to the train station after three nights of sleep deprivation. The station used for the shot was clearly the LA Union Station, leading the audience to wonder just how far Monk had wandered off.
So I guess that would be California doubling for...California.
The first season was produced in British Columbia, which is why all the minor roles are filled by very Canadian-sounding Californians... eh?
Lampshaded by Mike in the MST3K episode Beginning of the End which ostensibly takes place in Illinois, but has many scenes taking place in mountainous terrain.
Mike: Guys, this is so not Illinois.
Murder, She Wrote was set in New England, but filmed in Mendocino County, California, which often meant the ocean was on the wrong side.
NCIS is set in Washington DC and filmed in California. When they had to go to Arizona in an episode they were still in California, surrounded by the unmistakable rock formations near Simi Valley.
The Office (US) had one episode taking place in Winnipeg, but shot in California. In fact, while they have occasionally filmed exteriors for the U.S. version at real Scranton, Pennsylvania locations, most of the show is filmed near L.A.
Pretty Little Liars is set in the fictional Pennsylvania town of Rosewood and filmed on location... in California. (Unlike many, many examples of this kind, this is actually mentioned on the show's end credits.)
Roswell heavily featured Kirk's Rock for the wilderness scenes, while the town itself was actually Covina, CA.
As alluded to in the opening, it's pretty rare for Star Trek to shoot outside of California. All the TV shows have been filmed entirely in California and no Trek production has filmed outside the United States. Much like Vasquez Rocks, Griffith Park has been used many times as many planets over the years. Only five of the eleven films have filmed any scenes outside California. These are the only exceptions to California doubling in the entire series:
Star Trek: The scene where young Kirk drives his stepfather's car into a quarry was filmed in Vermont.
Inverted in Teen Wolf, the show takes place in Northern California, but is shot in Atlanta. Effective Season 3, though, principal shooting will actually move back TO California; the show won a lottery that will reward it tax credit for shooting.
Ugly Betty is set in New York but was shot in LA for it's first two seasons (except the pilot, which was shot on-location). The first episode of season three after they moved filming to New York simply reveled in shooting outdoors.
Another case of California doubling for California in Zeke and Luther, where Torrance, CA doubles for Gilroy, CA. The fact that the show is set in Gilroy is mentioned at least every other episode, but anyone who has ever actually been there will spot the lie right away.
Seemingly averted by The Middle. They seem to have found a neighborhood of ranch houses which could plausibly be in Indiana, and have shown similar discretion in finding other locations. They have also been able to make those exteriors seem like winter or autumn when need be (largely by limiting the scope of the shots), and the footage shown in the background when they're driving also looks like Indiana.
However, in "The Concert", during the third season, one plot thread takes place by the side of a road, where the surrounding landscape looks a lot more typical of California than central Indiana.
Inverted in the HBO miniseries version of Mildred Pierce, where New York doubles as Depression-Era California. Fortunately many LA buildings were modeled on ones in NY, and there's even some California-style bungalows built so CA-based actors could feel at home — all they needed was a sunny day and a greenhouse's-worth of tropical plants!
Seinfeld was filmed almost entirely in LA, and with the exception of Jerry's apartment (an LA building with visible earthquake retrofitting) used Stock Footage of New York where appropriate. Sometimes, they slipped up. note If you can't tell, that's a California license plate on a New York cab
Same goes for How I Met Your Mother and, like Seinfeld, the street scenes are clearly filmed on Southern California movie lots, not actual streets. Another TV series that frequently shows off its New York City pride (and hate for New Jersey) in its scripts but that is entirely produced in California.
In Roots: The Next Generation, The Los Angeles Arboretum doubles for Gambia in Africa. Most of the scenes used are acceptable to the untrained eye until the Queen Anne Cottage starts showing up in the background of a village made up of grass huts.
And the secretive S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy in "Seeds" is apparently located in downtown Los Angeles, with City Hall visible in the background.
California has doubled for the moon: certain rocks there contain the same minerals as the moon, and the astronauts did some training in Death Valley. There are even conspiracy theories claiming that California doubled for the actual moon landings.
Likewise, FNC also used footage of protests in Athens in a report on similar protests in Moscow. An item on the equally fair and balanced (!) Russia Today Channel helpfully pointed out that the street signs in the report were in the Greek alphabet, not Cyrillic.
The deserts of California are apparently a close match for Iraq, so the US Army stages its National Training Center out of Fort Irwin.
Mean Girls: As Roger Ebert put it, "She enrolls in Evanston Township High School — which, like all American high schools in the movies, is physically located in Toronto"
Another Lindsay Lohan movie, Confessions Of A Teenage Drama Queen, uses Toronto as a stand-in for many of the film's locations. In one particularly egregious scene, two characters walk by a restaurant that prominently displays the green "Pass" sign issued by the Toronto Board of Health to indicate a restaurant that passed its health standards test with flying colours.
The Incredible Hulk film (starring Edward Norton) was shot in Toronto, doubling for Harlem, New York. The climactic rumble in The Incredible Hulk was shot on a stretch of Yonge Street in Toronto, running from the intersection of Yonge & Dundas to about a block north. The Zanzibar strip club is a dead giveaway, as are the spinning records on the side of Sam the Record Man.
Shoot'em'up is also clearly shot in Toronto: They don't even try to hide the CN tower
Resident Evil: Apocalypse features several things to make Torontonians grin. Perhaps the most obvious of which is the nuke that just so happens to explode right on City Hall (the recognizable dual curved towers). Other fun features include the fact the film makers neglected to airbrush out the CN Tower, numerous logos on buildings on the Bay St. area and the Toronto Sun logo on the sides of several paperboxes.
In the remake of Hairspray the movie was set in Baltimore, but was filmed in Toronto.
You'd think a movie named Chicago would be shot in the eponymous city, wouldn't you? Nope, it's mostly Ontario.
Short Circuit 2 was set in New York City, but obviously shot completely in Toronto and environs (including scenes at the Eaton Centre and World's Biggest Bookstore, two famous Toronto landmarks). You can even see the CN Tower in some shots if you look closely.
An interesting side-effect of Toronto doubling is that there's a certain amount of spill-over to Hamilton. Various scenes in, for example, The Incredible Hulk movie mentioned above, were actually filmed there instead of Toronto. Basically, Hamilton is doubling (tripling?) for Toronto in these cases.
Toronto stands in for Boston a few times in Good Will Hunting, but it was shot primarily in Massachusetts, and most of the Toronto scenes were interiors (U of T dorm rooms, local bars, the novelty shop etc).
Likewise, the Santiago Calatrava-designed galleria at BCE place appears in a number of science fiction films, notably Gattaca.
...and the distinctive curved City Hall buildings that appear in Toronto's flag appear time and again as futuristic government, military, or corporate buildings in a host of different science fiction films.
The movie Don't Say A Word was filmed in an abandoned subway station in Toronto filling in for a New York City station. The station (Lower Bay) has filled in for NYC and Chicago stations so many times that the Toronto Transit Commission asked that the movie set be donated to them, giving them a selling point for future location shoots.
In Score! A Hockey Musical, the establishing shot of the Brampton Blades' home arena is actually a shot of the Port Credit Arena in Mississauga, Ontario (which makes this a case of California Doubling between two Canadian municipalities!).
The Boondock Saints: Both films were made in Toronto, with the exception of overhead establishing shots in Boston. The CN Tower can be seen, as well as a Toronto Dominion bank.
Kick-Ass had both Hamilton and Toronto double for New York. Badly (as many instances of Canadian road signs, flags and trademarks still appear often).
When Kick Ass and Red Mist first meet, as they drive along in the Mist Mobile it is clearly Yonge Street. They drive past HMV's Flagship store, the Eaton Centre, a Toronto Sun newspaper box and Sam the Record Man (unlike in the above mentioned Hulk, however, the records are not lit).
This is again obvious in the sequel: when Kick Ass and Dr. Gravity are ambushed the first time they go on patrol together, they are across the street from a Mr. Sub, a submarine sandwich shop found solely in Canada.
In the scene where The Motherfucker robs the convenience store the street sign reads "Grosvenor St", the actual scene taking place at the intersection of Yonge and Grosvenor.
Red had Toronto double for many major cities (such as New York, Chicago, Washington and Cleveland) while New Orleans doubled for several cities as well (such as Kansas City).
Stanton's speech and the ensuing raid are all shot in various parts of the Royal York Hotel in Toronto; Victoria's limo even lets her out in front of Toronto's Union Station.
The vampire rock band road trip comedySuck had Toronto double for Buffalo, Chicago and New York.
Silver Streak has Toronto standing in for Chicago (because the producers weren't able to find an American train line amenable to having one of their trains going out of control and crashing into a station for the climax).
Live Action Television
Cop procedural Night Heat filmed in Toronto and took place in a generic American city.
The short-lived action show FX: The Series doubled for New York.
The Canadian TV series Due South, although ostensibly set in Chicago, was mainly filmed in Toronto. While most of the first two seasons featured establishing shots of the Chicago area, the distinction of scenes shot at recognizable Toronto landmarks became more noticeable in the last two seasons. On the other hand, the episode where the characters go to Toronto was filmed in... Chicago. The streetcar tracks are a dead giveaway, in just about every exterior scene, as Chicago doesn't have street-running trolleys anymore. Not to mention the periodic occurrence of street signs saying things like "Centre Street".
Tracker was filmed in Toronto while being set in Chicago.
Lampshade Hanging: The North American version of Queer as Folk (which was filmed entirely in Toronto, especially in the city's Gayborhood: Church-Wellesley Village) once had its characters point out the similarity of a Toronto street to a street in their hometown Pittsburgh.
While Monk used the California Doubling For Itself variant for the most part, season 1 was filmed in Canada. The pilot was filmed in Vancouver, but the rest of the season was filmed in Toronto. Starting in season 2, the filming all moved to Los Angeles. One difference that results is that the police station set and the set for Monk's apartment change significantly.
As noted above, RoboCop: The Series and later, RoboCop: Prime Directives were set in Detroit like the movies they're based on, but were filmed in Toronto. Then again, none of the movies were actually filmed in Detroit, either.
The American version of Skins was filmed in Toronto with the setting left ambiguous so American viewers could imagine it in their city. Unfortunately, they didn't bother to cover up some local signage on bus stops.
The pilot for Against The Wall opened with loads of footage of some of the most famous Chicago landmarks (with "Sweet Home Chicago" playing in the background). But once the music stopped, it quickly became clear that most of the show was filmed in Toronto (aside from occasional uses of stock footage). During the pilot, the crew took the trouble of replicating Chicago Tribune newspaper boxes but didn't bother to disguise the street signs. Streetcar tracks are visible in a few downtown scenes, and the 'L' train tracks are noticeably absent (save for aforementioned stock footage).
Warehouse13 is filmed in Toronto and the surrounding area, and they barely attempt to hide it. In the third season finale, there is a Valu-Mart which is supposed to be in Elk Ridge, South Dakota. Valu-Mart is a grocery store that doesn't exist outside of Canada at all. Union Station in Toronto doubled for Geneva, Switzerland in the second season premiere as well.
Not to mention the first season episode set in Chicago, even though streetcar tracks and a streetsign for York Avenue (neither of which exist in Chicago) are visible.
There's a later episode with scenes set in Victorian London. This looks fairly authentic except for the inclusion of an American-style street clock on a pole.
In Wonderfalls Toronto and environs double for upstate New York. Scenes in which the falls are actually visible are shot on the Canadian side - in some scenes the American Falls are clearly visible on the opposite bank, while the Horseshoe (Canadian) Falls are on the right, not the left.
Toronto doubles for Los Angeles in The LA Complex with a mix of location-shot establishing shots and yellow filters to make the sun look brighter.
The Jackie Chan movie Rumble in the Bronx is shot in Vancouver rather than New York City. This becomes especially apparent during a beach scene when the lofty majestic volcanic Cascade Mountains can be seen in the background...
In the X-Men movies, Xavier's School For Gifted Youngsters in upstate New York is actually in Vancouver (except for the first movie, which was filmed in Toronto).
The exterior of the school and most of the more "normal" corridors above ground were filmed at Hatley Castle in Victoria, British Columbia - at least for the second and third movies. There was a common joke on set about the "magic elevator" that took you from Victoria to Vancouver (Which in the movie took characters to the labs below - filmed in Vancouver).
For X-Men, the mansion interior was filmed in Casa Loma, a Toronto landmark.
In X-Men: The Last Stand, the scene with the protest outside the cure clinic was not in front of a massive skyscraper, but a very nondescript two-floor building.
Jean Grey's childhood home is in the Vancouver suburb of Tsawwassen.
Rural Alberta can also Vancouver Double for any number of outdoor locations, depending on the particular area, with the Badlands of southern Alberta being used for numerous Westerns over the years. Famous examples include Unforgiven, Brokeback Mountain, and Shanghai Noon.
Winnipeg has also Vancouver Doubled for 21st century Minneapolis and 19th and 20th century Kansas City, Chicago, and St. Louis, due to the hundreds of Victorian and Edwardian buildings still remaining in the downtown core.
Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever weirdly inverts and subverts Vancouver Doubling by be set in Vancouver without using any notable landmarks to make it look like Vancouver (except for Library Square), and doing things like having the city police driving black cars and otherwise looking nothing like their real-world counterparts.
That's not the only thing that didn't make sense in the movie...
Blade: Trinity is very obviously set in Vancouver, to the extent of not changing signage, using major and distinctive features, etc.
Fantastic Four has Vancouver Doubling for New York. The ground-floor entrance of the Baxter Building is the Marine Building (which was also in Blade: Trinity), and the intersection in the scene with the flipped cop car was made to look like New York with fake (and highly confusing) subway entrances and the hiding of an enormous Canadian Flag and the signage of a CIBC bank.
Shoot To Kill both plays this trope straight and averts it; most of the film was shot in British Columbia, but the film's set on the West Coast of the US... until the characters cross into B.C. for the final act. It still finds time to play it straight - in a case of Vancouver itself being doubled, the climactic underwater fight just off the coast of the city between Sidney Poitier and Clancy Brown was filmed in the Bahamas!
The plot of Godzilla (2014) mainly takes place on the West Coast of the United States, but was filmed mainly in Vancouver. Hilariously, Seamus McGarvey, the cinematographer, accidentally stumbled on a nearby lakeside set for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes that looked very similar to the one for Godzilla, and it took him a while to realize he was in the wrong place.
Live Action TV
Though supposedly set in the US, the fact that 21 Jump Street is shot in Vancouver is made by the fact that the extras/bit parts were hired locally and thus do decidedly non-US things like say "grade 3" instead of "3rd grade" and write graffiti with words ending in "-our" instead of "-or". And the "Hastings" bus in the credits. (Hastings is a well-known area of Vancouver)
The western Canadian province of British Columbia has profited greatly from the various American and TV film productions shot there, including but not limited to The X-Files for most of its run.
For the second X-Files movie, they trucked in huge amounts of real snow to decorate several blocks of Vancouver, which was highly surreal.
Some locals have a "Don't go into STANLEY PARK!" gag because before the move to LA, almost every single forest scene on the show was filmed inside said city park (which is big enough to have a rather sizable community of Park People). For many years, the white X that Mulder spray paints on the side of the road in the pilot was still visible, too.
Supernatural, which is supposed to be set across the United States, is filmed primarily in and around Vancouver. If the episode in question takes place in your native state, it can be hilarious.
Lampshaded in "Hollywood Babylon", an episode set in Hollywood. One character complains, "Does this seem like swimming pool weather to you? Man, it's practically Canadian."
Spoofed when an archangel's spell sends the Winchesters into our world, where their adventures are the TV show we all know and love. They tell a guy to drive them into town, and are surprised when they end up in Vancouver.
Smallville, Kansas sure has a lot of geography that would be more like somewhere in the Pacific Northwest (with thick forests and mountain lakes) than in Kansas.
One episode was set in Seattle with Clark hunting down a Phantom Zone escapee. He spent most of the episode snooping around the docks.
Another episode has a part of Vancouver called Gastown masquerading as Paris.
Lampshaded in Stargate SG-1 when Jack O'Neill, emerging from the gate, asks "why do they always look like Canada?"
Averted in one episode of Stargate Atlantis, which had a scene actually set in Vancouver.
And justified in many cases, as most of the planets the Atlantis crew visit were originally terraformed by the Ancients, who probably just set everything up the way they liked it. On every planet.
It can get pretty hilarious watching the previous three shows (Smallville, Supernatural and Stargate SG-1) and realising that everywhere in the United States, not to mention almost every planet in the Milky Way galaxy, looks exactly like the Smallville countryside, or Metropolis.
The highway motorcycle scene in the episode "Memento" cuts a frame or two too late to avoid showing a road sign indicating how far it is before you reach Surrey.
Lampshaded in The L Word, (a show which films Vancouver for LA), when one character proclaims "It's no use, Vancouver just can't look like LA."
Also lampshaded in Highlander: The Series. The episodes that take place in North America show cars with Washington license plates, but a city is not named. It is filmed in Vancouver, so the fans started calling it Seacouver. This name later appeared in the series a few times, such as on a newspaper.
An episode of The Sentinel, which was set in Washington, had a scene in one episode by a big bell. With 'RCMP' stamped on it.
Fringe is set in Boston, and has shot there for the first season (as Boston is trying to make the city more hospitable to film and TV shoots). However, the creators have admitted that filming had to move to Vancouver in season 2 for budget reasons.
After moving there, it resulted in moments that could inspire massive rage in Bostonians, like a evergreen-filled suburban neighborhood being identified as Beacon Hill◊
The show has been mocked constantly in Boston for shots like this. It's a little baffling since they keep insisting on citing specific Boston landmarks, instead of just not mentioning the setting very often.
The Alternate Universe Fringe Division is based in the (very cool looking) Vancouver Public Library.
Psych is filmed in parts of British Columbia, including Vancouver, though the show is set in... southern California.
This occasionally leads to the hilarious scene of Shawn, Gus, and the other main characters walking around in southern California garb whilst random people in the background are clearly wearing parkas.
Human Target is set in San Francisco, but filmed in Vancouver. It's quite a good match in terms of terrain & climate, but still looks subtly off.
Amusingly enough, In an episode where Chance must escort someone to Seattle, the Seattle scenes at the end look perfectly plausible because of the essentially identical landscape.
The show Eureka takes place in the fictional town of Eureka (which is not the same as the actual city of Eureka, CA), but is filmed in a variety of locations outside Vancouver.
Hellcats has the good city of Vancouver playing Memphis.
This trope is lampshaded in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip when Danny says they can't afford to make a movie without a bond and Matt responds "We make some budget cuts, we shoot in Vancouver." (Danny refuses, because "Vancouver doesn't look like anything. It doesn't even look like Vancouver. It looks like Boston, California.")
On Once Upon a Time the east coast town of Storybrooke, Maine is played by Vancouver (as are the Enchanted Forest and its environs).
Explicitly acknowledged and lampshaded in The Dresden Files RPG. The GM's section describes what the makers call "The Vancouver Method" of city design - in other words, just making stuff up as an alternative to doing all the research required to produce an accurate recreation of a city. The lampshading comes in the margin notes written by Harry and Billy.
Harry: I don't buy it. They couldn't do a TV show based around Chicago in Vancouver.
Billy: You'd be surprised.
Parodied in one Wonder Woman comic. When the titular heroine is watching a hypothetical film based on her life, one of her many, many complaints is how much Paradise Island shamelessly resembles Florida.
Little Sweetheart is based off of a book set in France, is a UK film with mostly American actors, was filmed in Florida and is set in Texas. Why they didn't just set it in Florida, seeing as they used an entire real Florida town, is beyond us.
Field of Dreams has Dubuque, Iowa filling in for most of Non-Fenway Park Boston, and Galena, Illinois filling in for Chisholm, Minnesota, both of which being withen a 50 mile radius of the farm that served as the Kinsella home.
Spy Game had segments set in Beirut and Vietnam which were both filmed in Morocco. Likewise, Budapest stood in for Berlin, and Oxford, England became Suzhou, China.
Some Like It Hot had its two musician protagonists run away to Florida to perform with their mutual Love Interest's band; the actual beach and hotel they were at was really on Mission Beach in San Diego. In fact, if one were to visit the hotel there, you could find photos of the cast and parts of the movie in the hotel's lobby.
The Matrix itself is supposedly doubling for Chicago, the hometown of the directors.
Cold Mountain was filmed in Romania but set in Western North Carolina. The director stated that the reason for shooting there was a lack of old growth forests and period buildings in WNC. It could also have been the prevalence of cell towers in the area.
Terms Of Endearment: Some scenes set in Texas were actually filmed in Lincoln, Nebraska where the bulk of the film is set.
In addition, the scene where the station wagon crosses the "Texas State Line" was actually filmed just outside Cortland, NE.
The "L" train battle, and following train-stopping scene in Spider-Man 2 was filmed in Chicago, despite the fact that the movie takes place in New York. (While there are L trains in the Big Apple, they're all located in the less-photogenic outer boroughs rather than in Manhattan.) Really, only the overhead shots were filmed in Chicago — most of the rest was CGI. Loved the Chicago "L" stock with fake New York line names/terminals, though.
The James Bond series has several "Other country doubling":
In Golden Eye, Cuba is actually Puerto Rico, the Russian dam from the opening is in Switzerland, and many St. Petersburg externals are in London.
In Casino Royale, Madagascar is the Bahamas, and Montenegro is the Czech Republic.
Most subaquatic scenes since Thunderball were shot in the Bahamas (doubling for the Adriatic, Mediterranean and Caspian Seas).
Die Another Day: North Korea and Cuba are communist nations who understandably wouldn't want to be involved with the Cold Warrior, so they used Hawaii and England for the former and Spain for the latter.
Diamonds Are Forever mostly averts this as a good chunk of it was actually filmed in Las Vegas. However the scene where Bond is riding the elevator to Whyte's penthouse was filmed in Pinewood Studios. And the first scene with Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd which took place in the South African desert was shot within the Vegas city limits.
Defiance (the Daniel Craig Holocaust movie) is mostly shot in Eastern Europe relatively close to the area of Belarus where its set. However parts of the movie are also set in rural Manitoba, Canada and local plant life like red willow and Manitoba hardy roses are visible in many shots. Interestingly one of the reason the region was initially settled by a lot of Eastern European immigrants is that it apparently looked a lot like home to them as well.
Hawaii doubles for a Central American island in Jurassic Park, the Amazon in both the first and fourthIndiana Jones movies and The Rundown (the crew of the latter planned to film in Brazil, but gave up after getting robbed there), Okinawa Island in The Karate Kid Part 2 (although some scenes were filmed on-location), and Africa in Tears of the Sun.
Indiana Jones does this a lot. Egypt from Raiders was really Tunisia, the primary shooting location for Tatooine in the Star Wars films. Temple of Doom is set in India, but shot in Sri Lanka, due to both the locations being very apart in India (but close to each other in the island) and the Indian government getting offended by their portrayal. The first act of Temple of Doom, set in 1935 Shanghai, was filmed in Macau.
In A Perfect Getaway, Hawaii is played by Puerto Rico. The nutty part is that the area of Hawaii being replicated is the above area that doubles for everywhere else.
The film Dog Soldiers featured Luxembourg doubling for the Highlands of Scotland.
Full Metal Jacket has Vietnam played by the (then derelict) London Docklands, and Parris Island played by both Bassingbourn Barracks in Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire, and RAF Swinderby in Swinderby, Linconshire, as well as Epping Forest, Essex.
Inverted in the film Crash, which was set in LA, but filmed many of its exterior shots in Germany. There's also an upcoming Crash series, which is continuing the tradition by using Albuquerque for LA.
The film's location is because it was German-financed. See also The Machinist which was set in LA, but filmed in Barcelona, because it was made with Spanish money.
This, by the way, is why the film's title is in Spanish on IMDB
The Bourne Ultimatum had a scene set in Moscow during the events of The Bourne Supremacy (which was filmed in Moscow during that film). To avoid having to get an entire crew to Moscow again, they created a snowy Moscow in East Berlin, which was mostly rebuilt by Stalin and so looked much like the architecture of Moscow.
In Maverick, the climactic poker game is set on a riverboat steaming the Mississippi River south of St. Louis. Anyone familiar with the area knows that the exterior scenes of the riverboat were shot somewhere very, very different from the Mississippi River south of St. Louis (probably on a river in the Pacific Northwest).
Not to mention the bizarre detour through Yosemite National Park. Seriously, the scene takes place right under Half Dome.
Interestingly, the makers of Doctor Zhivago actually tried to get permission to film in the Soviet Union. You wouldn't think they'd have bothered, seeing how the original novel was already banned in the Soviet Union, but maybe they wanted to be sure.
The producers of Fiddler on the Roof scouted locations across Eastern Europe but finally settled on Yugoslavia (largely because they couldn't get permission to film in other countries.)
The Unbearable Lightness Of Being, set in the Prague Spring, was filmed in France and Switzerland as communist Czechoslovakia still existed at the time. Ironically, the Czech Republic would later become a frequent target of this trope.
A rare, pre-glasnost exception is a 1976 adaptation of The Blue Bird, which was the first ever International Coproduction between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. The movie was filmed in English, on location in Moscow and Leningrad (present-day St. Petersburg). It was quite a Troubled Production due to the language and culuture barriers. Also, Jane Fonda annoyed the Russian crew by following them around and constantly talking about communism. To add insult to the injury, the film bombed disastrously at the box office.
This was inverted by Amadeus, which is set in Vienna, but was filmed in Prague. This is because the film is a Period Piece and Prague was somewhat behind the times due to the wonders of communism.
The Kite Runner filmed in Kashgar, China for Afghanistan; The Power of One filmed in Zimbabwe for South Africa (this was before the fall of apartheid); Thailand has been used for Burma, Cambodia and Vietnam; Malaysia was used for Thailand in Anna and the King. And movies set in Tibet have been filmed in the mountains of Argentina and Morocco.
There is a Russian reversal of the trope. In the USSR, films set in Western European cities were filmed in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Western Ukraine (which have a lot of Gothic and Baroque architecture). Films about the Middle East used Central Asia or Azerbaydjan as stand-ins. However, the most glorious example is the Crimean peninsula, with its uniquely diverse natural and cultural landscape. It was, and still is, a perennial favourite of Soviet/Russian film crews and stood for almost everything under the sun; in fact, in Russia the trope would have been named "Crimea Doubling".
Despite being set primarily in Scotland and New York, Highlander was filmed in Scotland and London.
Highlander III: The Sorcerer has a scene set in a New York airport. One of the signs visible in the background reads "Bienvenue à Montreal".
The outdoors scenes of Los Angeles in the original Total Recall were actually Mexico City; ostensibly because the design, cleanliness and architecture of Mexico City's subway stations have a futuristic look to them. Many other exterior shots were filmed in public roadways and plazas. The rest of the movie was filmed in Estudios Churubusco soundstages.
The 2012 film on the other hand was obviously filmed in Toronto. the subway at one point is supposed to be the London Underground, but is blatantly the Toronto subway system.
For Richer or Poorer was the first in a growing number of Baltimore Doubling. Notably outrageous though as the much of the movie takes place in Lancaster PA, which is not that far from where the film was actually shot.
Parts of the Czech Republic and Poland often double for parts of Austria or Germany. They stick up German language street and shop signs.
Prague and some other parts of the Czech Republic apparently also stood in for Paris and France in general in Les Misérables (1998).
The first two live action Chronicles of Narnia films were filmed in predominately Czech Republic and Poland, with some work being done in Slovenia and New Zealand as well.
Nearly all scenes of Eurotrip were filmed in or near Prague. No scene was set in the Czech Republic itself, though Slovakia, which was unified with it as Czechoslovakia until 1993, is featured.
Spaghetti Westerns were filmed with a variety of European locations doubling for the American West. The semidesertic province of Almería in Spain, with its wide-open spaces that evoked an untamed frontier (and extras who could more or less pass for Mexican), was probably the most common.
Seeing typical Mediterranean vegetation on typical karst rocks in what is supposed to be wild west or Mexico is quite amusing ("Wait a minute! This could actually be that hill where we use to go to weekend trips.")
The same location was used as well in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and the prequel TV series, standing for Greece, the Hatay republic (now in Turkey), Egypt and Mexico. The Mexican episode was later recut and released as a TV movie with additional scenes in the American SW that were really filmed in the American SW, and it is quite amusing to see how the vegetation and terrain suddenly change as soon as the main character crosses the frontier. Grass Is Greener here indeed...
Lawrence of Arabia was also partially filmed in Spain, in addition to Morocco and Jordan. Only Jordan lies in the region the film is depicting.
One of the most egregious examples was Battle of the Bulge being filmed in Spain - in particular, the flat, arid, sunny, relatively tree-free part. Note that the actual Battle occurred in the Ardennes - which is hilly and heavily forested - during winter.
Many historical films in the 70s were filmed in Spain - including The Three Musketeers (1973) - because the labor was cheap, the terrain was varied, and, frankly, Franco's government was incredibly susceptible to bribes.
The Departed is an odd example. It's set in Boston, and some scenes (two weeks' worth) were filmed there, but the majority was filmed in New York. Due to the success of the film, one of the first bills signed into law by Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick was the creation of a massive (25%) tax credit for filmmaking in the Commonwealth. Subsequent films set in Boston have been filmed there.
An odd Inversion: What a Girl Wants was filmed entirely in Britain, except for the flashback in Morocco. Yes, Britain stood in for America in the bookend scenes. Amanda Bynes' home in Chinatown, New York was really Borough Market in London.
The Bridge on the River Kwai is set in Thailand, but was filmed in Ceylon (present-day Sri Lanka), a distinction the publicity of the time didn't see fit to make clear. Instead, it raved about the movie being shot in Ceylon in a way which implied the real-life River Kwai was located there.
The Searchers made spectacular use of Utah's Monument Valley. These scenes were supposed to be set in Texas.
Most of John Ford's Westerns were shot in Monument Valley, including the Cavalry Trilogy, which was set mostly in Arizona, and Cheyenne Autumn, which took place in Oklahoma and Wyoming.
Doomsday uses mostly South Africa to stand in for post-apocalyptic Scotland.
RoboCop takes place in Detroit, but none of the movies were actually made there. The first was made in Dallas, the second in Houston, and the third in Atlanta. The 2014 remake only has estabilishing plates shot in Detroit, with primary locations in Toronto.
Did You Hear About The Morgans? is about a couple who are put into the Witness Protection Program and sent to Wyoming, which is actually New Mexico subbing for Wyoming. I guess they didn't want to be accused of copying.
Winnipeg has found itself to be an excellent substitute locale for a number of other places, frequently Chicago.
Shall We Dance was filmed here, going so far as using the legislative building's bathrooms for a scene. (Hey, they look nice)
One of the funniest examples is My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which was born of a one-woman play written by and starring Nia Vardalos, a Winnipeg native, set in Winnipeg, about her wedding (in Winnipeg) and her crazy (Winnipeg-based) family, was filmed in Winnipeg, with many Winnipeg landmarks frequently visible, and all the extras (save her real-life husband Ian Gomez) being Winnipeg natives... and the movie was set in Chicago, because apparently an American audience needed an American city to enjoy the movie.
Steven Spielberg's Munich, scenes set in Tel Aviv, Beirut, Cyprus, Athens and Rome where filmed at Malta, and scenes set in London, Rome, Paris, New York City and a German airport were filmed in Budapest.
Speaking of Malta, it was used for Rome (well, the Colosseum) in Gladiator. Additionally, a forest in England was used for the opening battle in Germania and Maximus' first gladiator battles were fought in Morocco.
Practically any movie set in the Middle East is filmed in Morocco for political and security reasons. In addition to ancient or medieval history films, Black Hawk Down has used Morocco to double for war-torn Somalia.
The outside shots of New York in Velvet Goldmine are clearly filmed in London, given that everybody is driving on the left and red double decker buses are driving around with advertisements for Les Misérables.
Virginia has done its of doubling as well, both for itself and for other parts of the Eastern US:
In Deep Impact, the traffic jam of people leaving Virginia Beach was actually shot on a newly-built freeway note specifically VA 234/Prince William Parkway between VA 28 and I-66 in Manassas, 150 miles away. The terrain is the giveaway; Virginia Beach is on the Atlantic Plain and almost perfectly flat, while Manassas (like most of the DC area north and west of town) is on the not-so-flat Appalachian Piedmont.
In Evan Almighty, the village of Crozet (about 10 miles from Charlottesville) doubled for the much more urban Northern Virginia suburbs.
A good chunk of Dirty Dancing was shot at the Mountain Lake Hotel near Roanoke. The movie was set in the Catskills in The Sixties, but since most of the actual Catskills resorts had shut down (or were in no shape to shoot a movie) by then (1987), another location had to be found.
Batman Begins and The Dark Knight took place in the fictional Gotham City, of course, but many outdoor scenes were filmed in an extremely recognizable Chicago. To the extent that some fans take it for granted that Gotham City is the Nolanverse's equivalent of Chicago. Much of the first film was also filmed in England (the fields surrounding Wayne Manor and what's left of it after it's burned down are clearly not in the US).
Elements of Gotham City from both films (and presumably the third) were also built in the massive disused airship hangars at RAF Cardington, Bedfordshire, England, in a weird case of this trope.
In The Dark Knight Rises, parts of Pittsburgh stood in for Gotham City. In particular, Heinz Field, the home stadium of Steelers, doubles as the home stadium of the Gotham Rogues.
In the same film, the Highlands of Scotland doubled for Uzbekistan, of all places (the Scenery Porn during Bane's plane heist). This was incredibly obvious to anyone who lived nearby or who vists regularly. Not that anyone is complaining.
Even more, most of the movie was filmed in New York City due to the mayor at the time of production being a fan of the series. Notably, Bane's attack on the Gotham Stock Exchange was filmed at the New York Stock Exchange; and the final battle that takes up most of the film's final act has locations such as Saks Fifth Avenue clearly visible during car chases revolving around a jury-rigged nuclear bomb.
The Universal Studios Backlot tour has a corner of buildings that can stand for any old city in Europe with just the wave of a flag.
A rather odd, yet strangely hilarious, inversion: Zombieland has quite a bit of its running time set in Hollywood, including a major movie star's mansion and a theme park. So both of those scenes were, quite naturally, filmed in Georgia.
The Wind and the Lion was filmed in Spain, with Spanish locations being used to portray the Moroccan desert, Tangier, Washington, DC, Oyster Bay, Long island, and Yellowstone National Park. Railroad buffs will notice some obviously European railroad cars in the background when Theodore Roosevelt is giving a whistle-stop speech; otherwise, it's a pretty convincing job.
All Wrong Turn films are set in West Virginia, but first two movies were shot in Canada and the third one was shot in Bulgaria.
Vienna and the countryside around it doubles for Paris and the French countryside in The Three Musketeers (1993). It is somewhat jarring for a native to see Fleur de Lis in imperial Austrian buildings, or neo-gothic profane buildings being used as gothic cathedral stand-ins.
Sex and the City 2 was filmed in Morocco, doubling for Abu Dhabi. The filmmakers had asked permission to film in Abu Dhabi (and Dubai before that), but were denied both times.
Quite bizarrely, Youth In Revolt is set in various California locations (Oakland, Ukiah, Berkeley, Santa Cruz) but filmed entirely in Michigan! Of course, it doesn't look remotely like California. With California so easy to film in already, one wonders why Michigan was chosen...tax credit, perhaps?
Wasn't due to excessive air traffic - the producers just didn't want to risk a lack of snow in Chicago.
Bollywood film Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna is supposed to be set in New York City. However, the trains are prominently labeled as SEPTA trains; the regional rail system of Philadelphia.
The Indian film Fanaa is a really peculiar example of this, as it uses the Polish Tatras to stand in for the Indian bits of the Himalayas (!). As weird as it sounds, according to the producers, this was a cost and logistics saving measure.
The battle scenes in Braveheart were largely filmed in Ireland (a literal Scotireland, no less), possibly because rural Ireland is less heavily developed than the rural Scottish Lowlands, or as inaccessible and impractical as the Scottish Highlands. The Scottish filming took place in Glen Coe and Glen Nevis, which, depending on how strictly you hold the film to history, can be taken as doubling for other parts of Scotland.
Prophecy is based on Maine, when it was actually shot in New Columbia of Canada. It also popularized the Canada Doubling.
St. Louis doubled for several cities in Up in the Air (including Milwaukee, where most of the third act takes place). Oddly enough, Missouri does not have a tax-incentive program (an exception was made for the production though).
St. Louis (mostly East St. Louis, but some on the other side of the river) also doubled for New York on Escape from New York as parts of the area had suffered enough damage to make for a convincing post-apocalyptic setting. A number of the shooting locations have since been restored or rebuilt.
Averted and played straight in The Mechanic. Averted that some scenes were filmed on location in New Orleans. Played straight when New Orleans also happened to double for Chicago, Houston and Colombia.
Battle: Los Angeles was set in... well, look at the title, but was filmed in Shreveport and Baton Rouge.
Racing Stripes has South Africa playing Kentucky. (In the 1980s quite a few movies shot in South Africa omitted to mention this on the credits, for obvious reasons.)
Adrift, the in-name-only sequel to Open Water, is a real hodge-podge - a German production filmed in English with an almost completely American cast, set off the coast of Mexico... and filmed in Malta.
In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, though the film takes place in New York and Ancient Japan, many scenes are actually filmed in China's Hong Kong and in Astoria, Oregon. Back in the previous two movies before the third one, many scenes were shot in both New York and North Carolina (a fact not missed in MAD's satire "Teenrage Moolah Nitwit Turtles," the first panel of which mentions "The North Carolina State Building" - guess which city MAD calls home!), though both films take place in much of New York, anyway.
The snowy scenes in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince were actually filmed in Norway. This includes the characters walking to and from Hogsmeade as well as the Hogwarts Express traveling across the snowy countryside. This is the only time the Harry Potter movies have filmed outside of the U.K. and Ireland.
Hogwarts is meant to be located in Scotland, but the series was filmed almost entirely in England. Hogwarts environs were sometimes filmed on location in Scotland and sometimes not. The Forbidden Forest and the Black Lake are located within short distances of each other in-universe, but they were filmed in Buckinghamshire and Highland respectively.
Whereas Boogeyman was set in the US but filmed in New Zealand, the sequels were set in the US and filmed in Bulgaria.
Despite being set in New York and showing Toronto's skyline, much of Kick-Ass is filmed in Hamilton.
The two German-produced The Three Investigators movies, The Three Investigators and the Secret of Skeleton Island and The Three Investigators and the Secret of Terror Castle, had California be played by South Africa. This trope was partially averted in the first movie, however, most of which is indeed set in or off the coast of South Africa.
Although the 1983 film The Lords Of Discipline, about elite military cadets and racism in their ranks, is set in the Southern US, most of the film was shot in England.
Away We Go depicts a sort of road trip across the United States, but was almost wholly filmed in Connecticut — which doubled for Colorado; Madison, Wisconsin; and Montreal.
Rock of Ages takes place in Los Angeles and Hollywood but was shot in Miami. Inverted, one could say.
In the Missing in Action movies, Vietnam is played by the Philippines in the first (which was actually the second) and third movies, while Mexico and the Caribbean island of St. Kitt's took the "role" in the second (which was the first).
In the Poirot film, Murder on the Orient Express, scenes that were supposed to be in the French countryside were actually shot on the preserved Nene Valley Railway near Peterborough, England.
The location is also used in a surprising amount of British period shows/films that involve railways in some way, Wansford Station having doubled as many fictional ones due to it still having the (now unused) old station buildings and a number of steam and diesel engines on location.
The countryside of the Czech Republic doubles for Southern England in Dark Blue World, which would have been all right if it weren't for the conspicuous forested hills and snowy mountains in the background.
The Washington Sentinels in The Replacements played their home games in Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium. Also, the Sentinels' only road game in the film was shot at FedExField, home of the Washington Redskins.
Haywire, which otherwise averts this trope (the movie's Ireland and Spain settings were indeed filmed there), has New Mexico playing New York State.
Major League, the popular 1989 comedy about the Cleveland Indians baseball team, was not actually filmed in Cleveland but rather in Milwaukee. Milwaukee's County Stadium acted as a stand-in for the Indians' then-home, Cleveland Municipal Stadium. However, since the two ballparks were relatively close in age and architectural style, it was a plausible alternate. Such was not the case, however, for the movie's sequel, Major League II, which also was not filmed in Cleveland but instead in Baltimore. That movie was shot in the fall of 1993, which just so happened to be in between the seasons that—in real life—the Indians moved from their old home at Cleveland Stadium to their new home, Jacobs Field. Producers used the Baltimore Orioles' home ballpark, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, as the Indians home stadium. Oriole Park was built just two years before Jacobs Field and featured the same architects and neo-classical style as Jacobs Field, so one would think that producers would have used the stadium as a stand-in for Jacobs Field. However, producers instead inexplicably dressed up Oriole Park as the Indians' old stadium, Cleveland Stadium, despite the fact that the former was 56 years newer than the latter and bore no physical resemblance to it. Producers were so sloppy with the stand-in that one can notice numerous advertisements for local Baltimore businesses left conspicuous despite the film supposedly taking place in Cleveland.
The opening of Heaven's Gate showed the characters graduating from Harvard. Director Michael Cimino couldn't get permission to film at Harvard University itself. So he decided to film the scene at Oxford University in England despite that fact that Oxford looks nothing like Harvard.
Also, the "World's Oldest Roundabout" in the film really is that.
World War Z is LOADED with this trope. Having been filmed almost entirely in Europe with (to name a few) Glasgow doubling for Philadelphia (The square with the red pavement is George Square), La Valletta doubling for Jerusalem and various towns and cities in England doubling as Canada, South Korea and Wales (despite Wales also being a filming location for other scenes).
Saving Private Ryan was filmed in Ireland and England, such as Ballinesker Beach, Curracole Strand, County Wexford, Ireland, stood in for Omaha Beach (noticable by the fact it's only about ten or twenty yards long, as opposed to the 700+ yard long Omaha Beach), the former British Aerospace factory in Hatfield, Hedfordshire, England, was Ramelle, and Thame Park, Thame, Oxfordshire, England, was the machine gun nest, all shots of large fields and where the halftrack is ambushed, with some scenes filmed in London and Calvados, France.
The Pink Panther and its series avert this most of the time (i.e., filming on location), but A Shot in the Dark was specifically filmed in Borehamwood at MGM's British Studios. The biggest evidence of this is a scene where Inspector Clouseau runs through a room, out the window and into the Seine — which was just a large tank filled with thousands of gallons of water.
Where The Heart Is mostly takes place in Oklahoma, with one scene in Maine, but was filmed entirely in Texas. Baylor University stood in for Maine's Bowdoin College.
Roadtrip is supposed to be set in Ithaca, New York; however, the film was mostly shot in Georgia primarily around Atlanta and Athens on the campuses of Georgia Tech, Emory University, and the University of Georgia. One of the college tour scenes was filmed in Sanford Stadium with UGA's "G" logo visible on the field.
A bizarre inversion in Youth in Revolt. The film is set in various California locations- Oakland, Clearlake, Berkeley, Ukiah, etc. Yet it was filmed entirely in Michigan, with some reshoots in Louisiana. Obviously, Michigan looks nothing like California, though it could be said that the exact setting of the story is unimportant.
In X-Men: First Class, Englefield House in Reading, UK serves as the exterior for the Xavier mansion. The small island near Cuba in is actually Georgia's Jekyll Island with some palm trees.
For X-Men: Days of Future Past, the Paris scenes were actually filmed in Old Montreal, and parts of the Pentagon (like the area where we see visitors touring the building, and when Charles and Logan are walking alone in a basement corridor) are from the Arts Building at McGill University.
In Godzilla (2014), San Francisco International Airport doubles for Honolulu International Airport.
Double subverted in We Were Soldiers. Northern California is made to stand in for the Ia Drang Valley... which in turn looks suspiciously◊ like◊ northern California.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is set in San Francisco and its surroundings, while being primarily shot in both the already mentioned Vancouver, and Louisiana.
Now And Then was set in Indiana, but shot entirely in Georgia in Savannah and Statesboro.
Sea Of Trees is set in Japan within the infamous suicide forest at the base of Mt. Fuji but filmed in the appropriately named Purgatory Chasm State Reservation and other locations in Massachusetts.
In Interstellar, the unspecified countryside of the US Midwest was shot mostly in southern Alberta and other neighbouring Canadian prairie provinces. Iceland's glaciers, highlands and coastal shallows were used for filming the different environments of the three extrasolar planets visited during the course of the storyline.
The cover art for Ciem: Vigilante Centipede and its tie-in playlist uses downtown Grand Ledge, MI as a double for downtown Evansville, IN. There are parts of Evansville that do match with parts of the greater Lansing area, but it can still be difficult to make one a convincing double of the other. The author/photographer chooses Grand Ledge/Lansing as a double anyway, largely to save on gas.
Lampshaded in Stephen King and Peter Straub's The Talisman. Given Jack Sawyer's experiences in Hollywood, as well as his moter's reputation as Lily "Queen of the B's" Cavanaugh, Jack spots similarities between New England and the ominous Point Venuti in Northern California, remembering that if any scenes on the beach needed to be filmed in the Northeast climate called for in the former, places like the latter would be employed.
Live Action TV
In The Tomorrow People: "Worlds Away", on arriving for the first time on an alien planet, one character warns the others, "This isn't just some wood in Surrey," which is Lampshade Hanging by the writers — the scene was indeed filmed in a wood in the British county of Surrey.
The ever-dependable BBC Quarry somewhere in England or Wales, doubling for an alien planet or rocky desert, was a filming staple in the classic era of the show. To the point it was given a Leaning on the Fourth Wall lampshade once or twice.
As the new series is being produced by BBC Wales, Cardiff has California doubled for London several times. Cardiff quayside is nearly always the setting for any urban filming.
Ironically, in the third episode, Victorian Cardiff was California Doubled by Swansea, a smaller city nearby — this was due to Cardiff being heavily bombed in World War II, so not many Victorian buildings survived.
The 2012 Christmas special "The Snowmen" had various parts of the 19th century old town in Bristol stand in for parts of 1890s London. This was both due to the more convenient distance and due to the fact that most of contemporary London lacks the late-Victorian street look and even continuity of Victorian buildings that Bristol still has in a few places.
Some of Series 8's coastal or beach scenes (which occur in a few episodes) were filmed at different parts of the Welsh coastline. Funnily enough, one of these beaches is supposed to be located on an alien planet colonised by humans in the future. One Bristol-centric episode set in the present day was mostly filmed there, but has railway-related scenes that were shot elsewhere in the The West Country.
Also in Series 8, CGI-augmented shots of volcanic mountain plains on the island of Lanzarote double for the surface of the Moon. Since Lanzarote was used for filming the planet of Sarn for an 1980s episode, many pre-broadcast rumours posited that what turned out to be the Moon-based episode would be a revisiting of Sarn. Naturally, the showrunner and crew were eager to exploit and troll the curiousity of fans over this...
As Sherlock is also produced by BBC Wales, Cardiff has doubled for parts of London in that show as well. However, location shoots requiring distinct London or Devonshire scenery were shot in the corresponding places, averting this trope. (The Devonshire village seen in one episode is still actually Welsh, though.)
LOST features Hawaii Doubling, with the help of CGI backgrounds (primarily from Sydney, Korea, and London).
Alan Dale's scenes in the season 4 finale were actually filmed in London. He was appearing in Spamalot at the time, so he couldn't make it to Hawaii. This was the first time the show filmed outside the US.
And a real relief they actually had to film Alan Dale's scenes in London, as a previous episode with Desmond in 'London' had to have had some of the shoddiest backgrounds and doubling ever. Even more bemusing considering the 'Sydney' and 'Korea' scenes have always looked fine.
The BBC have been using Ireland for the UK in a couple of productions recently, clearly for the tax breaks.
Dublin, which has neither skyscrapers nor (surviving) Tudor buildings, has pretended to be New York for the recent film version of The Honeymooners and 16th century England for numerous episodes of The Tudors. In films Dublin has also doubled for Liverpool (Educating Rita and An Awfully Big Adventure), London (Peaches) and Boston (Far and Away).
"St. Louis, Missouri" in the Supernatural episode "Skin" looks very Canadian, with pine trees along the highway that is supposedly outside St. Louis (which does have some pine trees, but the deciduous trees dominate them, since their numbers are far more vast). Also, with "Home," Kansas isn't nearly that leafy, and Cape Girardeau is not the racist small town that "Route 666" would have you believe—it's actually a college town, since Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO) is in Cape Girardeau.
Sharpe's Rifles had Ukraine doubling as Spain. In fact pretty much all the Sharpe series were filmed in either Ukraine or Turkey. Presumably labour is cheaper there.
That's actually pretty much true. In a mostly unknown 'making of' documentary for the series, they talk about the awesome Ukranian stunt men who are cheap, plentiful and absolutely insane. Given that the core cast is actually pretty small (6 riflemen, 2 wives, Wellington, Hogan plus a handful of speaking villains du joure) and that any part of the Europen countryside (where all the battles are fought) looks so similar it makes no odds, it makes a LOT more sense to move the production to the stuntmen, rather than transporting and accommodating 200+ psychopathic men and horses to wherever they were needed.
The NBC Sitcom Ed was set in Ohio. All outdoor scenes were filmed in Westfield, New Jersey.
The Volusia County Courthouse and environs, during the 90s, was frequently used as a courthouse or other corporate/municipal building in futuristic shows.
The 1989 TV series Doctor Doctor was supposedly set in Providence, Rhode Island, but was filmed in Denver, Colorado. This explains why you could occasionally see the Rocky Mountains in the background; the highest point in the actual state of Rhode Island is only 812 feet above sea level.
The TV miniseries The Lost Room has a scene set in Las Vegas. In one take, an Albuquerque bus drives past; in another, the Sandia Mountains - what Albuquerque has instead of a skyline - are clearly visible.
The Good Wife is set in Chicago and filmed in New York. It's hid pretty well by the fact that much of the filming is in done the outer boroughs. The writers clearly didn't do much research regarding Chicago geography, but that's a whole other trope.
They did find out the executions of Death Row prisoners are often carried out in Indiana, though, because Terre Haute, IN has a Federal execution chamber, and so Death Penalty appeals lawyers pleading cases in Illinois are often from Indiana. That was a nice touch of Doing the Research.
Due to the major German television broadcasters producing most of their stuff in Cologne, there is certainly much Cologne Doubling to be found in German tv. One show got caught red handed: While the dialogue established the scene to be in a different city, the cars had Cologne license plates.
The pilot episode of Justified was shot in Western Pennsylvania, doubling for Kentucky. Subsequent episodes have the more common Southern California doubling, though this was averted for one episode that actually took place in Southern California.
Season 2 of Leverage is set in Boston and filmed in Portland, Oregon. (Season 1 averts the trope for the most part, being set and filmed in Los Angeles.)
Outside of a few exterior shots, the bulk of Memphis Beat was shot in New Orleans.
Tropical Heat/Sweating Bullets was a primarily Canadian production; the three seasons were shot in Mexico (for tax reasons), Israel, and South Africa. It was set in the fictional Florida Keys town of Key Mariah.
The TV movie Spring Break Shark Attack, set in Miami, was filmed in Cape Town, South Africa. Which explains why Florida suddenly has mountains...
In the first episode of The Event, Sean and Leila's "Caribbean" cruise actually took place off the coast of Hawaii.
Similarly, the Made-for-TV MovieBlue Lagoon: The Awakening is mostly set on an island off the coast of Trinidad, but was actually filmed in Hawaii.
Less Than Kind is an aversion (since it was both filmed and set in Winnipeg) but there's an odd in-city example - in the episode where Sheldon, Miriam, and Danny are taking an art course at "the university", the outdoor shot shows the Winnipeg Mint.
Sometimes Getting the Accent Right can distract the viewer from the wrong setting. Cagney & Lacey was set in NYC, but filmed in California, yet still felt right, because everyone in the cast sounded like they lived in NYC. Contrast with CSI: NY where almost no one sounds like an East coaster at all, let alone a New Yorker. Of course, because the Law & Order shows were filmed there, even the extras with one line sounded like New Yorkers. It's also one of the few shows where Sesame Street regulars pop up in cameos, because Sesame Street is also filmed in New York.
Not to mention that Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless, in real life, don't sound anything like they do on the show.
Hungary is also the location for Cadfael, presumably since most of England doesn't have that undeveloped medieval look any more.
In Robin of Sherwood England doubled for England, just not the same bits of it. Sherwood Forest was mostly represented by a wood outside Bristol, Nottingham Castle by various northern castles and Wells Cathedral, and other locations were scattered across the country, mostly in the north and west.
Aylesbury Young Offenders Institute (prison for 18-21 year olds) gets work as Generic Prison Gate, with the orginal Victorian gatehouse, complete with wicket gate in the huge double doors.
Fun with Morse - see if you can spot the real Oxford locations (usually the famous bits) and which are Stevenage in North Herts.
Beaver Falls is about three British teenagers who get to work at the title summer camp in California. There are at least three real places in the US called Beaver Falls, exactly none of which are in California - and in the case of the camp, California was played by South Africa (and most of the "Americans," this being a British-Canadian-South African co-production, weren't played by actual Americans).
The TV movie The Deadly Tower, about the Charles Whitman snipings, was filmed in Louisiana because the University of Texas (where the killings took place) understandably wouldn't let production take place there.
The Highwayman (a Glen A. Larson series) was set around America but filmed in Arizona; LeeGoldberg wrote of the episode "Send in the Clones," "Phoenix badly, and obviously, stood in for New York locations (with palm trees in Central Park!) in this sloppily shot pilot."
The pilot for The Lying Game was filmed on location in New Mexico; production for the series shifted to Texas. The series is set mainly in Phoenix and Las Vegas (with stops in Los Angeles).
The Girls episode "The Return" has Hannah go back to her family in what purports to be East Lansing, Michigan. This bit was actually shot in Mamaroneck, Westchester County, New York, a suburban area just a bit north of New York City; it certainly looks like nothing like East Lansing (for one thing, it's too hilly).
Like the first three movies in the series (well, not so much the second), Home Alone 4 was set in Chicago. Unlike them, it was filmed in Cape Town.
The fifth entry Home Alone: The Holiday Heist is the first to not involve Chicago at all (it's set in Maine) and the first to be filmed in Canada (specifically Winnipeg).
Necessary Roughness is set in Long Island, New York but filmed in Atlanta; the Georgia Dome, the Falcons' home field, serves as the stadium for the New York Hawks.
While Gossip Girl normally averts this trope, there are a few exceptions: New York State played Connecticut in "New Haven Can Wait" and "The Townie," and Europe in "The Return Of The Ring" (for the ending in Monte Carlo) and "Gone Maybe Gone" (for the pre-credit scenes in Monte Carlo and Italy).
Nashville also averts this trope except when it leaves the title city - in "I'm Sorry For You, My Friend" Nashville plays San Diego (thus taking California Doubling to its logical conclusion), Atlanta, Austin and itself. (Even here there's an exception, as noted in the Aversions folder.)
Drop Dead Diva inverts the trope, with Atlanta doubling for Los Angeles.
An interesting example from Full House. The show is set in San Francisco, but anytime they do on location filming it's apparent they filmed in Los Angeles, where the show was filmed. This is averted in the season eight premiere where they actually filmed on location in San Francisco.
John Adams takes place in various parts of colonial United States, including Philadelphia and Boston. However, the entire mini-series (save the European scenes) was shot in the state of Virginia. This troper was even an extra, and in one day filmed scenes that took place in BOTH Philadelphia and Boston, while the filming itself was done in Williamsburg, VA. However, the scenes taking place in Europe were shot on-location.
Was also an extra in the TV movie "Killing Kennedy", which was also shot in the Richmond VA area, despite the scenes taking place mostly in Dallas, TX circa 1963. Richmond also doubled for New Orleans, Washington DC, Russia, and Mexico City while stock footage was used for key aerial shots.
Graceland takes place in California, but is actually filmed in Florida, creating a strange inversion of this trope. You can see this in many shots, when there are no mountains where there should be some.
Doc Martin: The fictional Portwenn is played by Cornish village Port Isaac.
The 1990s version of Sheena, set in Africa, was filmed in Florida.
House Of Cards Remake is set in Washington, with parts in exotic locales like China, St. Louis, New York, Kansas City and California. But due to high costs of filming in Washington, nearly all location shots (and some interiors like restaurants and hearing rooms) are done in the Baltimore area, which is cheaper to shoot in and much closer to the show's sets in Joppa, northeast of Baltimore City. The British series it is based on also indulged in doubling, using Manchester Town Hall for The Houses of Parliament internal shots. This was half because the town hall was designed to be a perfect replica of parliament in some areas, and partially because getting permits and time to film in the actual parliament buildings is problematic at best.
Averted in the second season when one plotline does take place in Joppa.
AMC considered filming the series in North Texas; however, AMC already has crew in place in Atlanta for The Walking Dead, and Georgia has more generous tax breaks for TV/film production than Texas.
Parodied by The Fast Show in the Shore Leave sketch. The sailors start singing that they are in New York in what is clearly Newcastle.
In the Heat of the Night was set in Sparta, Mississippi, but was filmed in Louisiana for the first season, and then in Covington, Georgia for seasons 2-6.
Under the Dome is set in Maine but is filmed in Southport, Wilmington, and Burgaw, North Carolina.
Constantine has the titular character going all around the United States to quell paranormal activity. The series is filmed in Atlanta, and Constantine's base of operations is set in an old millhouse outside Atlanta, averting the trope in part. Metro Atlanta has doubled for nearly every location Constantine visits, including Chicago and New Orleans.
An odd web comic exists in Ansem Retort. For some background, it's a sprite comic based off Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. For the most part, backgrounds for that game are used for scenery. There are two instances of a background being repeated:
The Destiny Islands background has been used as both the scenery for Mexico and the scenery for Hawaii.
The background for a room in Alice in Wonderland was used for both an undisclosed location in Eastern Europe and a hotel room in London, England.
The Simpsons: In the episode "Marge and Homer Turn a Couple_Play," the show-within-a-show "Hunch" is set in New York, but filmed in Lethbridge, Alberta.
Raccoon City in the 2nd and 3rd games of the Resident Evil franchise is supposed to be designed after a typical small town in the United States, but in the games, you can see most of the streets are too narrow to allow traffic to go in both directions and there are a ton of alleyways; narrow streets and numerous alleys is something that is common in Japan and Capcom, the creators of Resident Evil, is located in Japan.
Capcom also produces the Ace Attorney franchise, whose games are supposed to take place in the United States, yet many locations are based on Japanese structures and cultures and the court system is based more off of the Japanese courts than American courts. It also doesn't help that the Japanese version of the games are written to take place directly in Japan, which makes many of the settings and characters fit better.
World of Warcraft had an official patch trailer depicting Kel'thuzad journeying to Northrend and joining the Scourge. However the trailer was made back in the vanilla version of the game, where Northrend hadn't been programmed into the game yet. So they had Kel'thuzad wander around Winterspring instead.
The Internship mostly averts this as it's set and filmed in the San Francisco Bay Area though Georgia Tech doubles for Google's Mountain View Campus interiors. The exteriors were actually filmed outside the actual Google Campus.
Getting Even With Dad was actually filmed in and around San francisco. Even the theme park is in the San Francisco Bay Area, which was funnily enough doubled for a fictional theme Park in the Los Angeles Area in Beverly Hills Cop III.
Averted in David Cronenberg's The Fly (1986), which really is set in Toronto, and makes no effort to hide the CN Tower. In fact, this is the case for most (if not all) of Cronenberg's films. See also Videodrome and Crash.
The same for Atom Egoyan, most egregiously in the film Chloe, where practically every scene is set at a famous Toronto landmark or another.
Also, many M. Night Shyamalan films are filmed and set in Philadelphia or the surrounding area.
When The Whole Nine Yards started production in Montreal, the script was rewritten to have the story take place in Montreal too.
The Coen Brothers movie Burn After Reading is both set and filmed in and around Washington, D.C. and its suburbs in Virginia and Maryland, including many parts of the city (such as Georgetown) not often seen in movies.
Although some of the Georgetown scenes were filmed in Brooklyn.
Averted in the 1960s film The Great Escape after they initially tried to plan filming in California. After being frustrated finding remotely acceptable grove of appropriate-looking trees (let alone appropriate-looking forests), they decided to film the entire movie in Germany because "Germany looks like Germany," resulting in a film with visuals so rich it at times bordered on Scenery Porn.
Averted in The Jackal, which had an extended portion filmed, and somewhat arbitrarily set, in Montreal. However, in the climactic chase scene at the end, the Montreal metro stood in for the Washington metro.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen has scenes set at the Great Pyramids in Giza, Egypt. It is the first production in decades to get permission to actually film on-site, thanks to the official in charge of that decision being a fan of the series.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon filmed its climactic battle in Chicago and they actually had entire portions of Chicago blocked off for filming. Played straight for the scenes on the moon though.
Ocean's Eleven and its sequels, for the most part, were filmed in Las Vegas, Italy, and France at least for all the major locations.
Blade 2 never hides the fact that it's set and filmed in Prague.
Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever was filmed in Vancouver and acknowledges its setting as Vancouver, yet all of the characters are American and it makes little sense for them all to be in Canada.
What Lies Beneath was both set and filmed in Vermont.
Indiana Jones, which normally played this straight, averted it at least once. That really is Venice in Last Crusade (well, some of it is anywway).
Averted in Paper Moon - Both interior and exterior shots were filmed on location in central Kansas and western Missouri.
Averted in the film Ronin; the director, John Frankenheimer, spent a number of years in France. Shot on location, even the license plates are right.
When Clint Eastwood was working on Mystic River, the studio wanted him to shoot in Canada. He refused, saying that it was a Boston story, and Boston isn't in Canada. Most of the film was thus shot in Massachusetts, although some was shot in Los Angeles.
Gran Torino was also both made and set in suburban Detroit (Highland Park, Michigan to be specific. But... 1972 Ford Gran Torinos like the titular car were made in Lorain, Ohio.
Steven Soderbergh on possibly every movie he's ever made. The guy seems to love traveling.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was both set and filmed in Toronto - almost a requirement, because both the film and the graphic novels it's based on showcase popular Toronto landmarks like Casa Loma, the Toronto Reference Library, and Sneaky Dee's. Though some of those locations were actually too small to film in so replicas's had to be built. There is, however, in-universe Toronto doubling, with Lucas Lee's movie featuring a fake New York skyline... and a castle...
Most of Tyler Perry's movies avert this (they all take place mostly in Atlanta), probably because he himself is from Atlanta and owns a studio there. In fact, Madea's house in the films is an actual house that he owns in Atlanta.
Averted with the Direct-to-DVD sequel to Blue Crush, which was both shot and set in South Africa.
The Amazing Spider-Man downplays this, but doesn't fully avert it in that a lot of scenes are filmed in Los Angeles, though some scenes were filmed in New York.
I Am Legend was shot in New York, with $5 million being spent on closing the Brooklyn Bridge for 5 consecutive nights.
An Officer and a Gentleman plays a bit with the trope. The Navy Aviation School is situated in Pensacola, Florida, but the film was made at an abandoned Air Force base in Washington State. There are, however, no attempts made to make Washington look like Florida, and a lot of things, including local slang, are slightly altered to make us believe and feel you can become a Navy Pilot on an island west of Seattle.
Thor is set in a small town in New Mexico. Where is it filmed, you ask? Why, a small town in New Mexico. (Well, mostly Albuquerque made to look smaller than it already is).
Thor: The Dark World is also set in England, and shot there - including the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich.
Every movie from the The Bourne Series was shot on location in Europe, as well as Goa, India in The Bourne Supremacy, and New York City in The Bourne Ultimatum.
Averted with Hawaii in Godzilla (2014), but at the same time played straight in that Hawaii doubled for the Philippines at the beginning.
Under Suspicion (2000), set in Puerto Rico, was entirely filmed there - although given most of the movie takes place indoors the producers (including stars Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman) could have just played this trope straight!
The Norwegian city of Røros (on the World Heritage list) is so well preserved from the seventeenth century and onwards that several productions are shot there. Most blatantly the 1969 movie Ann-Magritt which is based on a book with all the action from the place. Hence - the crew went there and shot the entire film. The city has also been used in other productions.
Probably one of the most notable aversions for live televisions was Walker, Texas Ranger, which was actually shot in Texas, particularly in Dallas where the majority of the show is set. However, when the rangers went to other locations, like Houston, they shot there as well. The show paid special attention to make sure you knew they were actually using Texas by having many shots of the Dallas skyline. Many scenes even used locals as extra's or one-liners.
Sort of averted in the Law & Order franchise, all of which are set in and filmed in New York City (and recently Los Angeles). Many of the outdoor scenes are actually shot at or near the supposed location shown in the card. Exceptions (supposed criminal hangouts like whorehouses and drug dens) are given fake addresses. At one point the actors for the main Law & Order actually took a pay cut in order to keep the show filming in New York City.
In some cases, things were filmed in New Jersey like some scenes at a train station that were actually filmed in Hoboken. After 9-11 some exteriors were filmed in Downtown Brooklyn filling in for the court and government buildings in Lower Manhattan which were inaccessible.
The Wire was actually filmed in Baltimore, but used different sections of East Baltimore exclusively (obvious non-inclusions would be when they needed to film the ports or other locales not found in the inner city).
Most of the high-rise housing projects in which the Barksdale crew operates in the early seasons were actually torn down before the start of the series (this is eventually shown in Season 3). During the first season digital fakery is used to put some high rises up in the background of scenes set in The Pit.
However, see under the California heading - a lot of the interiors and some exteriors are filmed in California.
Without a Trace set and filmed parts of one episode in Tokyo. Anthony LaPaglia was heading to Japan to watch an Australian soccer team he co-owns participate in a tournament, so he suggested filming an episode there at the same time.
The fictional 55th precinct on the show was supposedly "uptown" Manhattan, but they filmed extensively in the outer boroughs with the exteriors for the firehouse and precinct house being in Long Island City, Queens.
The Sopranos was set and filmed mostly in New Jersey. According to the creator, when he was trying to pitch the show to networks, various executives would often lose interest when he said that he wanted it filmed in New Jersey. He was later contacted by a producer from HBO, who was interested in the show specifically because the creator wanted it set in Jersey. (When Tony went to Italy on business, the show went there for real as well.)
Averted in Flashpoint which is set, for once in a generic Canadian city. Although all the Toronto scenery and extras wearing Toronto police uniforms and driving Toronto police cars and Toronto EMT vehicles and reading a fictional newspaper called the Toronto Interpreter sort of ruin the whole "generic" bit.
30 Rock averts this in that it is both set and filmed in New York City. However, anytime a scene is set somewhere else, it is, of course, doubled by a New York location. For instance, in the pilot, there is a flashback of Tracy running down a California freeway on which all the cars have New Jersey plates. The first Season Finale rather pathetically tries to pass off an obviously suburban neighborhood as a hillbilly town.
Internal scenes set at NBC Studios on the titular 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan are actually filmed at Silvercup Studios in Queens.
Sons of Anarchy is filmed in central California, and actually takes place there. While the town of Charming is up closer to Stockton and San Francisco, however, the show has occasionally doubled in LA County neighborhoods, with Charming's "main street" looking a lot like parts of Tujunga.
Arrested Development is set in Newport Beach and Balboa Island, but is filmed primarily in Culver City and Marina del Rey. The use of Culver Ciy locations that are less frequently used in other shows and their similar geography (both in Southern California, in neighbouring counties) make for some fairly effective doubling, only appearing especially jarring to some Newport Beach natives.
Averted on the 60s spy show I Spy which actually filmed the real locations an episode was set in: Hong Kong, Rome, Greece, Mexico, etc (although studio work was also done in Hollywood).
Lampshaded fictional aversion in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. In the pilot episode Danny fails a drug test and cannot make a movie in California, and Matt suggests filming in Vancouver. Danny refuses, saying that "Vancouver doesn't look like anything, it doesn't even look like Vancouver. It looks like Boston, California."
The Fox cop series The Good Guys is both set and filmed in Dallas, also using local talent in small roles.
The original averted it so much so that those episodes which weren't "Filmed entirely on location in Hawaii" (like the two-parter "Once Upon a Time") don't carry that credit.
Double subverted in the opening scene of the remake's first episode, which is set in South Korea, but filmed in Hawaii.
And then again in "Ua Hopu", where the scenes with Steve and Wo Fat set in Japan (with the exception of the aerial shots) were filmed in, you guessed it, Hawaii.
Exteriors for Father Ted were shot in Ireland. (However, the studio interiors - and audience - were in London).
Gossip Girl is the master... er, mistress of averting this trope; the series is set and filmed in New York, the episode/backdoor pilot "Valley Girls," mostly set in LA, was actually filmed in LA, and when Serena van der Fanservice and Co. went to Paris those episodes were also filmed in the City of Lights. Miss van der Fanser-Woodsen spends the end of season four and beginning of season five in La-La Land, and her storyline's filmed there as well. (That said, there are a few exceptions - see above.)
The Beast and The Chicago Code were both set and filmed in Chicago. The former used some of the lesser-known Chicago landmarks to interesting effect, and both took full advantage of the 'L' train tracks that run through downtown.
The Doctor Who producers are on the record as being relieved that the spinoff series Torchwood could (for its first two series) be set in Cardiff, so they don't have to pretend that recognizable landmarks are actually somewhere else.
As Honest Trailers puts it, "Journey to scenic New Mexico, because state tax laws make it cheaper to shoot there than Los Angeles." That's because the show was originally set in Los Angeles and was scheduled to shoot there before the company received a generous tax break from the city of Albuquerque. The production team eventually decided to change the setting to Albuquerque because the scenery was so distinctive.
The sitcom The Ugliest Girl In Town (an American production) was both filmed and set in London.
Smash is both set and filmed in New York City - but like 30 Rock above, scenes set outside NYC are doubled (when Karen flies to her home state of Iowa in "Enter Mr. DiMaggio," the Hawkeye State is played by a New York suburb).
Glee usually plays this trope straight by filming an Ohio-set show in LA and it shows. You could play a drinking game the number of times a palm tree is in the frame, the characters are wearing too little clothing for the time of year, or when travel times from Lima to other Ohio cities are ridiculously short. The scenes in The Big Applesauce, however, are filmed on location.
Not only did McCloud, set in New York, do a lot of location filming in the Big Apple (and New Mexico, where our hero was from), but the episode "Night of the Shark," where McCloud went to Australia in pursuit of a criminal, was indeed filmed there.
The Columbo episode "Dagger Of The Mind," set in London, also partly-averted it; some of the episode was filmed in Hollywood, but some of it was indeed filmed in London (providing a rare chance to see Bernard Fox actually in the UK!).
Unlike other series set in Tennessee (Memphis Beat, Hellcats), Nashville is indeed filmed there; while scenes set outside the city usually play this trope straight, in "All Or Nothing With Me" scenes set in Fort Campbell - located on the Tennessee/Kentucky border - were shot on location.
Elementary is another show both set and filmed in New York City, though it's not a complete aversion— for reasons that even Lucy Liu herself finds confusing, Harlem is used to represent Brooklyn).
One Tree Hill is set in a fictional town called Tree Hill, North Carolina and the show was filmed in the real North Carolina city of Willmington.
The Mentalist averted this (mostly) for the first six seasons, setting the show in California as well as filming there. Now that the show has moved to Austin, it's no longer averting the trope.
Baywatch was mostly set on LA County beaches, where most of if was actually filmed.
Oddly enough, while Monk tended to play this straight by having Los Angeles, Vancouver or Toronto double for San Francisco, there were some notable aversions in the episodes comprising the second half of season 4. Two different foot chases were filmed on location in San Francisco - the first is the one in "Mr. Monk and the Big Reward" where Monk and Natalie are chased to the police station by three bounty hunters seeking to know what Monk knows about a stolen diamond; the second one is the opening to "Mr. Monk Gets Jury Duty" where Captain Stottlemeyer and Lieutenant Disher chase wanted fugitive Miguel Escobar on foot through Chinatown. The MacMillan Museum in "Mr. Monk and the Big Reward" is in Pacific Heights, while a scene in "Mr. Monk and the Captain's Marriage" where Monk and Natalie tail Karen Stottlemeyer was filmed in Union Square.
The Walking Dead is set and filmed within Georgia and scenes set in Atlanta were filmed the city proper; however, there are cases of Television Geography for locations in other parts of the state. The Cobb Energy Centre doubles as the CDC headquarters, and the town of Senoianote pronounced "Seh-noy" by locals doubles for the town of Woodbury.