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California Doubling

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"They really should change the name of Toronto to Fake New York For Use In Movies Only."
James "Kibo" Parry

Any exotic foreign locale in a TV series or film 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, the redwood forests of Northern California, or the mountains of Central California (assuming it isn't a studio cyclorama instead). Oh, and from time to time the script might call for a beach. Any ideas?

This is actually one of the main reasons why Hollywood and the Los Angeles area became the capital of American filmmaking.note  The varied locales within two or three hours drive (deserts, beaches, mountains, farmland, ranches), along with the consistent year-round good weather, made Southern California ideal for making movies.


California is not the only place that has done this. The Canadian province of British Columbia, between the metropolis of Vancouver and its vast mountain forests and oceans nearby, has become the third-largest film production center in North America thanks partly to tax incentives, and its ability to stand in for the Pacific Northwest (usually Seattle or Portland) or any small, rural town in the northern half of the US. You could describe the city as "one giant backlot, a bunch of anonymous buildings that can stand in for anywhere else."

Another Canadian city, Toronto, has doubled for cities such as New York City and Chicago more times than it has actually represented itself. Yet another Canadian city, Montreal, has usually played Francophone cities like Paris as well as American cities like Boston, St. Louis, and (again) New York City. Utah has been Vulcan, Mars, and most famously the Old West. Georgia and Louisiana have represented not just the Old South, but also modern Midwestern suburbia, northern industrial cities, and the jungles of Africa and South America. North Carolina also is known for this trope - the larger cities like Charlotte and Raleigh have portrayed Midwestern and East Coast cities while Wilmington and the Cape Fear region has stood in for almost everything under the sun. Australia is also a place that does this - Brisbane and Sydney have played various American cities, the grassier rural areas of New South Wales and Queensland have doubled for the English countryside, and the Aussie outback is often used as a stunt double for locales such as the Middle East, various alien planets, and the desert parts of California. In addition, New Zealand has been used as a stand-in for, among other places, Japan and New York State. South Africa's varied natural and cultural landscape and multi-racial population has allowed cities such as Johannesburg and Cape Town to double for small and big U.S. cities and various European cities, and other locales there to play everything from the American Deep South to alien planets.


In Europe, filmmakers of the '70s and '80s working on a low budget loved to film in Spain or Italy. This was a major factor in the rise of the Spaghetti Western genre, as the deserts of Spain and the easy availability of Spanish-speaking actors made filming your Mexican-set westerns easy. In the 2000s and '10s, Eastern Europe became popular with action and horror film producers working on a budget, with liberalising governments offering nice tax incentives for foreign film productions and plenty of actors who can play vaguely-Russian sounding bad guys.

State and national governments know this, and the combination of advertising and economic boon for production (employ local crews, hire local caterers, increased traffic to local sites, etc) make them frequently offer generous tax credits to lure film and television productions to their locales, to the point where even California itself has started offering its own tax incentives to keep Hollywood filming near, well, Hollywood.

The main reason is that a production crew is much more than 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 the location is willing to permit filming. Other times, the actual location is not an option for security, political, and/or cultural reasons. Even in the most general sense, many cities are averse to blocking off the entire downtown for weeks on end or offering unlimited access to important landmarks, and so some sequences are filmed piecemeal, getting a couple vintage shots of actors near scenic imagery and then finding a more practical location to film the rest.

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 the London of today is quite different from the London of Victorian times through the early part of the twentieth century (thanks in no small part to the Luftwaffe). This makes some doubling in another city more valuable simply because that location actually looks more period-accurate note . Conversely, filming in a story set 20 Minutes in the Future will have its own problems because to make a location seem futuristic would require a lot of construction and visual effects anyway.

Of course, this can lead to Television Geography, as well as Misplaced Wildlife, Misplaced Vegetation, and It's Always Spring. In many cases, the average viewer may not be familiar with the location in question, but it 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 choose a more scenic place to film instead of the less impressive place it actually 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 1950s "jungle" movie and M*A*S*H.

This can lead to The Mountains of Illinois. Can also lead to hilarity when the setting location becomes famous for an unrelated reason, and suddenly pictures of the actual place are all over the news.

The easiest way to avoid California Doubling is to simply have the setting actually be California (usually Los Angeles or Burbank, both of which are near Hollywood and where a good chunk of the television industry is actually located). Indeed, many television shows, especially sitcoms, do exactly that. And even a show that isn't normally set in California can have its characters go there for an episode or two; see Filming Location Cameo. This is also the reason why so many TV shows are set in New York City, because most of the TV studios that aren't in California are located there.

Compare Informed Location.

Contrast with Canada Does Not Exist, where the shooting location actually affects the storyline.


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Australia Doubling

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Beneath Hill 60 was filmed largely outside Townsville, Queensland; including both the scenes set in the area, and the scenes set in the trenches of WW1 Europe.
  • Code Red: the Rubicon Conspiracy was set in the jungles of Africa, but filmed in Australia.
  • 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.
  • Dora and the Lost City of Gold is set in Los Angeles and Peru, but was filmed in and around Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
  • House of Wax (2005) was shot in Queensland, with areas around the Gold Coast doubling rather unconvincingly for Louisiana.
  • Inspector Gadget 2 is set in the fictional Riverton, Ohio but was filmed in and around Brisbane, Australia with an Australian supporting cast. The commentary track on the DVD notes that actors would occasionally lapse back into their natural Australian accents.
  • Sydney stood in for San Francisco in The Invisible Man.
  • In Knowing, Melbourne serves as a stand-in for both Boston and parts of New York City.
  • 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.
  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie was filmed entirely in Australia, though the series at the time was set in California.
  • The Phantom had Warner Bros Movie World on Queensland's Gold Coast and the city of Brisbane doubling for various US locations.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales has Queensland doubling for the Caribbean.
  • Inverted in Point Break (1991), where the scenes set in Australia were actually filmed in Oregon.
  • 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.
  • Scooby-Doo was filmed in Australia, but is set mostly on a fictional US island/theme park named "Spooky Island". The opening scenes not taking place on the island were also filmed here. Filming moved to Vancouver, Canada for the sequel.
  • Parts of San Andreas are set in California but were filmed in the Lockyer Valley just west of Brisbane, Australia.
  • The Shallows takes place in Mexico (and briefly in Texas), and was shot in Queensland and New South Wales.
  • Sniper was set in Central America, but much of it was shot in Northern Queensland; the lost hotel was Paronella park and the rail insertion scene was filmed on the Cairns-Kuranda Railway, which looks rather ridiculous if you think about it, as the Panama Railroad seen in the film was built to Old Russian (5') gauge at the time, and was since rebuilt to Standard Gauge (4' 8 1/2"), while the Queensland Government Railways vehicles the characters de-train from were, and would always have been, Cape gauge (3'6").
  • 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.
  • Thor: Ragnarok has a few scenes set in New York City, which were mostly filmed in Brisbane.
  • Parts of The Wolverine set in Japan and Canada were filmed in and around Sydney, Australia.
  • Upgrade has various road signs in the U.S. style, and the cars have the driver on the left-hand side. However, some shots early in the film clearly show Melbourne's Bolte Bridge

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!)
  • 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.
  • 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

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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, plus the availability of a stunt double for Mt Fuji. It's 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.
  • New Zealand doubled for Oregon in Without a Paddle (they even had the same costumer from The Lord of the Rings!), which had forests that were simply not thick enough to be Pacific Northwest.
  • Bridge to Terabithia: New Zealand as The Deep South.
  • 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.
    • Peter Jackson also had New Zealand play California (The Frighteners) and New York (King Kong (2005)). The Broadway hall where Carl Denham exhibits Kong to New York was played by Auckland's Civic Theatre. At the peak of the stage's proscenium arch is a winged globe with a silhouette of New Zealand clearly visible.
  • Boogeyman had the US be played by New Zealand.
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine was mostly shot in New Zealand.
  • Ghost in the Shell was partly filmed in Wellington, New Zealand's capital city, which doubled as Hong Kong.
  • The Disney Channel Original Movies Eddie's Million Dollar Cook-Off, Avalon High and Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior were filmed in New Zealand. This is particularly odd for Eddie's Million Dollar Cook-Off as it has a focus on baseball and you'd be hard-pressed to find anybody in New Zealand who's interested in baseball, while Avalon High is notable for being the only non-Power Rangers work for Ranger Productions Ltd.
  • Pete's Dragon (2016) was shot in New Zealand but takes place in a Everytown, America setting.
  • TV film Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America takes place around the world (mainly in Richmond, Virginia), but was filmed in New Zealand.
  • The Power of the Dog is a Western, set in Montana and filmed in the Otago region of New Zealand.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Neither Xena: Warrior Princess or Hercules: The Legendary Journeys were filmed anywhere near Greece. New Zealand, particularly West Auckland, made a passable substitute.
    • New Zealand also doubled for China and Japan in Xena. Not to be mention present-day America in both series ("Yes, Virginia, There Is A Hercules" and "Deja Vu All Over Again").
  • Power Rangers:
    • Every season since Ninja Storm has been filmed in New Zealand. Despite the fact that the setting is still California, or in one season, a renamed Boston and in another a worldwide treasure hunt. Aside from some amusing locational irregularities (ah, the rolling grassy mountains of... the Everglades) it has the side-effect of producing a cast of actors who try their darnedest not to sound Australian or New Zealander.
    • They've thrown in a few gags, like Piggy getting teleported there and landing in the middle of a herd of sheep.

Toronto Doubling

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Many Canadian genre films of the 1970s and early 1980s, including Black Christmas and Prom Night, would be produced with the lucrative American film market in mind, and as such would often be set in innocuous, Middle American locales while being shot in and near Toronto. Often times, this would be indicated through the presence of American paraphernalia while avoiding any direct on-screen reference to a specific location, in an effort to keep the film's setting ambiguous enough to avoid alienating any particular geographic demographic.
  • Equus was filmed in Toronto, despite being set in England. It was made during the era of the UK/Canada tax shelter co-production, plus Richard Burton was a tax refugee from the Inland Revenue. The extras look quite Canadian, and the locations look not quite right, especially the farm and the streets. They're not completely unconvincing, but they're not quite perfect matches either. This odd feel actually adds to the film's discomforting feel. Plus extras have audible Canadian accents.
  • Mean Girls is set in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois, but was mostly shot 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 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
  • Some films shot in the Toronto area: Cinderella Man, The Pacifier, Bulletproof Monk, Kick-Ass, Dawn of the Dead (2004). Ironically, a belated coda for Dawn was shot in California.
  • 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. Vintage Toronto streetcars were prominent in the "Good Morning, Baltimore" opening sequence.
  • You'd think a movie named Chicago would be shot in the eponymous city, wouldn't you? Nope, it's mostly Ontario. Naturally, this annoyed many Chicago viewers. When asked what he thought of the movie Chicago, Mayor Daley replied, "I would have liked it better if it had been filmed in Chicago!" To a Toronto viewer who didn't see it as a big deal, Chicago film critic Roger Ebert retorted, "If a musical named 'O Canada' were currently being filmed in Chicago, how would that make you feel?"
  • 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, a city that has a certain level of industrial grunge that Toronto proper lacks. 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.
  • X-Men was primarily filmed there. For instance, the mansion interior was filmed in Casa Loma, a Toronto landmark.
  • 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 (2010) 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.
    • In the 2003 Bollywood film Kal Ho Na Ho the majority of the film is set in New York, specifically in Brooklyn. But the majority of the sequences were filmed in Toronto, poorly albeit, since Canadian flags, signs, and Ontario license plates can be visible. It might annoy New Yorkers, eagle eyed film enthusiasts and those who expect doubling to be done correctly. However, the Indian audiences did not notice this as California Doubling is not a commonly used concept in Indian film and media.
  • The vampire rock band road trip comedy Suck had Toronto double for Buffalo, Chicago and New York.
  • Silver Streak has Toronto standing in for Los Angeles, Kansas City (though the Calgary skyline was used for an establishing shot), and 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). Remarkably, most of this was accomplished in one building - Union Station.
  • David Cronenberg - who shoots the vast majority of his films in his native Toronto - actually averted this trope in Maps to the Stars by filming some scenes in Hollywood proper.
  • The Long Kiss Goodnight was in part shot in Toronto - you can see the Honest Ed's sign in the background in one scene.
  • The adaptation of Room was shot in Toronto, which stood in for Akron, Ohio. The Prince Edward Viaduct and the Don Valley Parkway can be seen out of a hospital window, and the brief skating scene near the end was shot at the rink at Nathan Phillips Square, with the concrete arches over the rink visible.
  • For the Steven Seagal film Exit Wounds, not only did Toronto and nearby Hamilton double for did Calgary.
  • Fahrenheit 451 (2018) was filmed in Toronto and Hamilton while set in Cleveland. One might forgive the city's skyline being completely different given the movie's dystopian setting, except Lake Erie is completely absent. On the other hand, a Freeze-Frame Bonus reveals that Cleveland's subway map is based on the city's actual light rail system.
  • Most of SHAZAM! (2019) had Toronto doubling for Philadelphia.
  • Lampshaded in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (which has Toronto play itself) during Scott's fight with Lucas Lee, when at one point, Scott is sent flying through an Empire State Building backdrop, which tears, revealing the CN Tower behind it.
  • Poltergeist (2015) is set in Illinois but was filmed in Hamilton and Toronto with the exterior shots of the house being filmed at the former and in interior in the latter.
  • In Down in the Delta, the crime-ridden Chicago neighborhood where Rosa lives with her daughter and grandkids is played by Toronto.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Nikita was mainly filmed in Toronto and the surrounding Ontario area, which doubled for a very wide variety of locales, including New York City, rural New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Quebec, Russia, Belarus, China, Mexico, the Netherlands, and many more.
  • 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.
  • Sue Thomas F. B. Eye was set in Washington, D.C. but filmed in Toronto.
  • The art deco facade of the R. C. Harris Water Treatment Plant has appeared in several movies and TV series, usually as either the villains' lair (The Pretender, Mutant X, Undercover Brother) or an insane asylum (In the Mouth of Madness, RoboCop: The Series).
  • 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).
  • Warehouse 13 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 street sign for York Avenue (neither of which exist in Chicago) are visible.
    • There's a later episode with scenes set in Victorian London which is filmed in Toronto's historic Distillery District. This looks fairly authentic, since most buildings in the Distillery District are from the Victorian Era... except for the inclusion of a very (North) 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 L.A. Complex with a mix of location-shot establishing shots and yellow filters to make the sun look brighter.
  • Many of the exterior shots in the first season of Gilmore Girls were filmed in Unionville, Ontario, which can be weird during a rewatch of the series as the Stars Hollow scenes were filmed in Burbank for the rest of the series.
  • Shadowhunters is set in New York but is filmed exclusively in Toronto.
  • The Strain is filmed in the Toronto area; one of the most blatantly obvious examples is a scene in Season 1 that clearly has the interior of Toronto's Union Station doubling (poorly) for New York City's Grand Central Station. In season 2, the exterior is used to double for the streets of Washington D.C. note 
  • Designated Survivor is set in Washington, D.C. but filmed in Toronto.
  • The Handmaid's Tale: The story is set in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but filmed in Toronto and Cambridge. In the scene of the pre-Gilead protest, the demonstrators march past the distinctive Toronto City Hall.
  • Shining Time Station and The Noddy Shop are both set in the United States, but were both filmed in Canada.
  • SCTV was set in the fictitious town of Melonville, but in the early seasons, was filmed/taped in Toronto. By the time NBC picked up the show in 1981, they had moved to Edmonton, Alberta.
  • October Faction: The series was filmed in Cambridge and Toronto, Ontario. It takes place in New York state, USA.
  • Ginny and Georgia: Set in New England, it's filming locations are Coburg and Toronto, Ontario.
  • Holly Hobbie is set in the fictional midwestern American town of Collinsville, but was filmed in the Toronto area.
  • The Red Green Show, set in the Muskoka area of Ontario, was shot in the Greater Toronto Area (the rural areas near Hamilton certainly don't look like northern Ontario). Averted for a few scenes between the third and sixth seasons that were actually filmed in the Muskokas.

Montreal Doubling

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Highlander III: The Sorcerer has a scene set in a New York airport. One of the signs visible in the background reads "Bienvenue à Montréal".
  • Montreal and Vieux Québec also subbed for Paris and Murmansk in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and for Marseille and Montrichard in Catch Me If You Can.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: The Paris scenes were 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. The Moscow bunker is located beneath the rafters of The Big O (the informal name of Montreal's Olympic Stadium). Mystique jumped out of the window of the mayor's office at Montreal City Hall.
    • X-Men: Apocalypse: The exterior of John Abbott College (located in a suburb of Montreal) was the stand-in for the Auschwitz concentration camp. The steel mill factory where Erik works is in Saint-Ours, a town about 75 km from Montreal. The East Berlin fight club venue is the Corona Theatre in Old Montreal.
  • Barney's Great Adventure was filmed in the Montreal area but takes place in a generic Everytown, America setting.
  • City on Fire takes place in an unnamed Midwestern American city, but was shot entirely in Montreal. As a result, some French language signs can be seen in the city.
  • The Disney Channel Original Movie Bad Hair Day, presumably set in Boston (although the city's never named, Laura Marano's character is stated as being accepted by MIT), was shot in Montreal.
  • Cyberbully takes place in St. Louis, Missouri but was shot in Montreal.
  • Major portions of The Day After Tomorrow were filmed in Montreal despite taking place in multiple locations around the world. Some portions were shot in Toronto and Los Angeles, though.
  • Battlefield Earth was filmed in Montreal, doubling for a generic Sci-Fi setting.
  • Some of the New York scenes in John Wick: Chapter 2 were filmed in Montreal, including the opening vehicle chase as well as parts of the subway fights.
  • Despite 300 being set in Ancient Greece, the movie itself was filmed inside what was the Icestorm Studios in Montreal.
  • Moonfall is primarily set across many United States locations, but the COVID-19 pandemic prevented location shooting, so all was done in Montreal, mostly in soundstages.

    Live-Action TV 

U.K. and Ireland Doubling

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Ready Player One has Birmingham, UK double for protagonist Wade Watts' hometown, a dystopian futuristic Columbus, Ohio. Make of that what you will.
  • Stanley Kubrick did a lot of England Doubling once he moved there in 1962 (the exception being Barry Lyndon, where it's Ireland Doubling):
    • His first was Lolita, which starts in New Hampshire and later goes on a cross-country journey, without leaving Great Britain.
    • Doctor Strangelove, which asides from a plane en route to the USSR, is split between the War Room in DC and a base somewhere in the continental US.
    • 2001: A Space Odyssey, not counting the space scenes, starts in Africa.
    • The Shining, set in Colorado.
    • 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.
    • Eyes Wide Shut, set in Kubrick's birth town, New York City.
  • Despite being set primarily in Scotland and New York, Highlander was filmed in Scotland and London.
  • 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's home in Chinatown, New York was really Borough Market in London.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Return to Oz was entirely filmed in England. The Kansas scenes are actually located on Salisbury Plain.
  • The Spy Who Came in from the Cold was shot in very run-down early Sixties Dublin to stand in for Checkpoint Charlie and the various bombed-out back-alleys of East Berlin.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Hogwarts is meant to be located in Scotland, but the movies were filmed almost entirely in England external shots of Hogwarts being mostly Alnwick Castle (only 45 mins drive from the border admittedly but still 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.
    • Sections of the sixth film that take place in England were filmed in Norway and Western Ireland.
    • This trope is played straighter in the Fantastic Beasts films. The first movie was set in New York City, but filmed entirely in England. The second movie likewise recreated Paris in England, with the New York backlot from the first movie revamped into a Parisian backlot. The Secrets of Dumbledore is doing some aerial filming in Vietnam (rumored to be standing in for China) but is using sets once again for Rio de Janeiro and Berlin. This is justified as these places don't look the same today as they did in the 1920s and '30s.
  • 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.
  • For Captain America: The First Avenger, the Brooklyn scenes were shot in Manchester and Liverpool. Justified as the movie is set at the height of World War II, and both cities include pre-war architecture that resembled Brooklyn at this time. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, the scenes set in the fictional European nation of Sokovia were filmed in London. Averted for several other cities like Seoul, South Korea and Johannesburg, South Africa, which were shot on-location.
  • An inversion happened in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, set in Hollywood but aside from some location shooting in LA, it was filmed in London (as the animation director refused to leave there and go to California, fearing bureaucracy from working close to the studio).
  • In the Poirot TV 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 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.
  • Many real pubs are used as stand-ins for The World's End's fictional ones, with the World's End itself portrayed by the Gardener's Arms in Letchworth. (However, other "pubs" in the film are actually cinemas, railway stations, etc.)
    • Also, the "World's Oldest Roundabout" in the film really is that.
  • Saving Private Ryan was filmed in Ireland and England, such as Ballinesker Beach, Curracole Strand, County Wexford, Ireland, stood in for Omaha Beach (noticeable 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.
  • Pokémon Detective Pikachu primarily uses real locations in London for the fictional Ryme City, modified with props and CGI to make them look like a part of the Pokémon universe. (As a side effect, this means cars in Ryme City drive on the left.) A lot of outdoor scenes outside the city limits were filmed in the Scottish Highlands, including Glen Nevis.
  • How to Talk to Girls at Parties was set in Croydon, but filmed in Sheffield.
  • X-Men: First Class: Englefield House in Reading, UK serves as the exterior for the Xavier mansion.
  • Disenchanted, the long-awaited sequel to Enchanted, will take place in upstate New York but filming will commence in Dublin, Ireland. Incidentally, Amy Adams previously filmed Leap Day in Dublin.
  • The Russia scenes in Black Widow (2021) were filmed in the UK.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Aylesbury Young Offenders Institute (prison for 18-21 year olds) gets work as Generic Prison Gate, with the original Victorian gatehouse, complete with wicket gate in the huge double doors.
  • 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).
  • Romantic comedy-drama Cold Feet was set in a smart suburb of London; external filming was actually done in Stockport, a town two hundred miles away Oop North, whose smarter residential suburb of Heaton Moor was held to be a good double for the sort of London the characters lived in. The advantages for a London based TV company probably boiled down to it being much cheaper, with less traffic, on a main railway line out of London, and evolved enough (by the primitive standards of the north of England) to have a couple of very nice coffee shops and eateries - home from home, in fact.
  • Dalziel and Pascoe: Based in the books that were set in Yorkshire, but produced by the BBC's Pebble Mill Studios in Birmingham (which did a lot of BBC dramas and Current Affairs in the 90's). As a result various places in the Midlands ended up standing in for Yorkshire towns and cities, and the Cotswolds in Gloucestershire played the part of the Yorkshire Dales, probably because they were only an hour's drive away from Birmingham as opposed to three.
  • Doc Martin: The fictional Portwenn is played by Cornish village Port Isaac.
  • Doctor Who:
    • 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.
    • Even when the Classic show was set on Earth, it would generally call upon the Home Counties to double for overseas locations, or even British locations further from London:
      • The show's first ever location filming in "The Reign of Terror" featured a road in Buckinghamshire doubling for Revolutionary France.
      • Frensham Common in Surrey was called on to do this twice, as a battlefield on the outskirts of ancient Troy in The Myth Makers" and as Culloden Moor in the Scottish Highlands in The Highlanders".
      • In "The Abominable Snowmen", the series ventures a bit further afield, using the North Wales mountain pass at Nant Ffrancon to double for Tibet.
      • In The Enemy of the World", Climping Beach, near Littlehampton in Sussex, doubles for the Australian coast.
      • In "The War Games", all location filming was conducted in Sussex, near Brighton, and was meant to represent a variety of battlefields in overseas locations like World War I trenches in France, the Ancient Roman Empire, and The American Civil War. Or at least, fake versions of them on an alien planet.
      • Sussex doubles for the Scottish Highlands in "Terror of the Zygons".
      • A quarry in Surrey doubles for Antarctica in "The Seeds of Doom".
      • "The Masque of Mandragora" also ventures further afield than normal, using Portmeirion village in North Wales to double for Renaissance Italy.
    • 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 Unquiet Dead", 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.
    • Caerphilly Castle in Wales has stood in for various other castles and fortified structures in episodes as wildly different as "The End of Time", "The Vampires of Venice", "Nightmare in Silver", "The Day of the Doctor", "Robot of Sherwood" and even "Heaven Sent".
    • 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.
    • Bafflingly enough, Series 6's "The Impossible Astronaut" had its Utah diner scenes filmed at Eddie's American Diner in Cardiff. For a time, it had become a tourist hotspot for Whovians, and has had its bathroom doors painted to resemble a TARDIS. To the surprise of everyone, that same diner interior makes a comeback in Series 9, though its true nature (and why its exterior shots are now set in Nevada instead) is not what anyone was expecting.
    • 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 West Country.
  • 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.
  • A quarry in Cornwall played the planet Magrathea in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1981).
  • House of Cards (UK) 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.
  • Double subverted on one episode of James May's Toy Stories, where James tries to fly a balsawood toy glider across the English channel. Due to international flight regulations, he has to settle for flying the equivalent distance across the sea from England to Wales instead, and briefly discusses having some Welshmen dress up in mustaches and accordions. When that flight fails due to weather conditions, he instead - successfully - flies it from the English coast to the island of Lundy, which he renames Llundy to make it sound more Welsh.
  • Fun with ''Morse'' - see if you can spot the real Oxford locations (usually the famous bits) and which are Stevenage in North Herts.
  • 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.
  • 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.)
  • One of the "Discoverers" sketches in That Mitchell and Webb Look has the captain and his first mate land on the shores of Australia... given the nature of the show, the sheer flagrancy of the doubling makes it all the funnier when you have one of the most iconically British landmarks in the background, viz, the cliffs of Dover.
  • In The Tomorrow People (1973): "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 BBC drama Traces is set in Dundee. Apart from a few scenes featuring well-known Dundonian landmarks such as the statue of Desperate Dan from outside the DC Thomson offices, it was filmed in Bolton, Lancashire.
  • Many ITC Entertainment spy shows of The '60s, such as Danger Man, The Saint and Man in a Suitcase had protagonists that travelled all over the world on missions and cases, but were restricted to filming in the UK, and therefore had to make frequent use of this trope.

Georgia Doubling

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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 Blind Side is set in Memphis, Tennessee but was filmed in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • In X-Men: First Class, the small island near Cuba in is actually Georgia's Jekyll Island with some palm trees.
  • Most of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, starting with the 2014 production of Ant-Man, have been filmed at Pinewood Studios in Fayette County, GA (about 20 miles south of Atlanta). Anything that isn't filmed in the studio itself is done in various locations in the Atlanta area. The downtown area stands in for NYC, Piedmont Park for Central Park, and the Avengers' headquarters (at least the exterior) is part of Porsche's (as in the automobile) North American headquarters just south of the city. They film some on actual locations, but the bulk of it is done in Atlanta.
    • In Captain America: Civil War, the scenes set in Lagos, Nigeria, were shot in Atlanta, Georgia.
    • In an inversion of traditional "California doubling for another city," Ant-Man and Ant-Man and the Wasp have Atlanta doubling for San Francisco.
    • In Black Panther, the scenes in Oakland were shot in Atlanta, along with some scenes taking place in London and South Korea. Atlanta City Hall doubles for the United Nations building. The High Museum of Art doubles for the "Museum of Great Britain".
  • 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.
  • Now and Then was set in Indiana, but shot entirely in Georgia in Savannah and Statesboro.
  • Both The Divergent Series: Insurgent and The Divergent Series: Allegiant were shot in Atlanta for the scenes outside Chicago.
  • Due to Creator Provincialism, Shane Black is prone to setting his scripts\movies in Los Angeles. However, The Nice Guys employed an inverted California Doubling, as the 1970s L.A. was mostly filmed in Atlanta.
  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay have Atlanta double for Appalachia.
  • In Furious 7 the scenes set in Los Angeles were filmed in Atlanta.
  • A Loud House Christmas has Atlanta double for the fictional Royal Woods, Michigan. There's also a scene where Lincoln and Clyde film a Miami Beach attack near a lake at Royal Woods, which means that for that scene, Atlanta doubled for Royal Woods, which doubles for Miami.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Necessary Roughness is set in Long Island, New York but filmed in Atlanta; the Georgia Dome, the Falcons' then-home stadium, served as the stadium for the New York Hawks.
  • Drop Dead Diva has Atlanta doubling for Los Angeles.
  • Halt and Catch Fire is set in the Silicon Prairie of the DFW Metroplex but is filmed in Atlanta. AMC considered filming the series in North Texas; however, AMC already had crew in place in Atlanta for The Walking Dead, and Georgia has more generous tax breaks for TV/film production than Texas. Season 3 sees a shift in setting from Dallas to San Francisco; however, filming stayed primarily in the Atlanta area, although a scene with Joe jogging near the Golden Gate Bridge was shot on location there.
  • Constantine:
    • The series was filmed in Atlanta, and the show partially averts the trope by having three episodes set in Atlanta proper. "A Feast of Friends" in particular prominently features two Atlanta landmarks, the Fernbank Museum of Natural History and the Fox Theatre.
    • However, Constantine, Chas, and Zed go all around the United States, and one point, Mexico, to quell paranormal activity, and for every location outside Atlanta, the show plays the trope straight.
    • The Ford Buildings on the campus of Berry College in northwest Georgia doubled for Ravenscar Asylum in Northern England. The exterior shots of Constantine's millhouse hideout were also filmed on the campus of Berry College.
  • Stranger Things:
    • Hawkins, Indiana is represented by Jackson, Georgia, roughly halfway between Atlanta and Macon. Notably, the choice of setting was motivated by this trope. It was originally titled Montauk and set in the real-life Long Island town of that name, with the setting meant to have an Amity Island feel to it. However, their budget didn't allow them to film in a location that could double for that sort of Northeastern coastal town, while suburban Georgia, with that state's generous tax breaks, could easily double for an Amblin-esque Everytown, America setting.
    • The largely vacant Gwinnett Place Mall in Duluth, Georgia doubles as the Starcourt Mall in Season 3 with several period-accurate storefronts. Incidentally, Gwinnett Place actually opened in 1984, lending further credence to the show's 80s setting.
  • Cobra Kai takes place in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, like its predecessor film series The Karate Kid. While the Karate Kid movies were filmed on location in L.A., Cobra Kai was shot in Atlanta. The Atlanta suburbs of Union City, Douglasville, Marietta, and Alpharetta stand in for Reseda, Encino, Panorama City, Sylmar and Northridge. The strip mall in Reseda where Cobra Kai is located is actually in Sylvan Hills. While it’s mostly convincing, there are parts of the series that don’t look like California (such as multiple scenes where autumn leaves can be seen on the ground and everyone's dressed for the cooler weather of Atlanta).
  • WandaVision: Westview, New Jersey is represented by various locations in both Atlanta and Los Angeles.
    • The atrium of the Georgia World Congress Center is used for scenes set at SWORD headquarters.
    • The neighborhood in "The All-New Halloween Spooktacular" where Vision meets Agnes is a real community in Williamson, Georgia; Rolling Hill Drive is the name of the actual road, "Ellis Avenue" (which is the original border of the Hex) is a re-signing of Williamson Zebulon Road.

North Carolina Doubling

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Slightly inverted with the first two Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films, as many scenes were shot in both New York and North Carolina, though both films take place in much of New York, anyway.
  • Wilmington stands in for Detroit in The Crow.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Iron Man 3: North Carolina was the primary filming location; the Malibu and Miami scenes were all shot in the Wilmington area, while the Rose Hill, Tennessee scenes were shot in the Charlotte area, mostly in Mooresville.
  • The Hunger Games sets District 12 in Appalachia, but the movie was filmed outside Wilmington, North Carolina, on the coast.
  • North Carolina stands in for eastern Long Island in Weekend at Bernie's.
  • Muppets from Space has Wilmington, North Carolina standing in for what is presumed to be Northeastern coastal suburbia.
  • The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland was shot in Wilmington, North Carolina, doubling for New York City (for the main setting of Sesame Street) and the fictional Grouchland.
  • North Carolina stands in for Central Florida in Paper Towns.
  • The film adaptation of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. was filmed in North Carolina, despite being set in New York and New Jersey.
  • Scream (2022) is still set in a fictional California city, but was filmed in Wilmington.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Hightown has been filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina since season 2 but is still set in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
  • Under the Dome is set in Maine but is filmed in Southport, Wilmington, and Burgaw, North Carolina.

Louisiana Doubling

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Battle: Los Angeles was set in Los Angeles, as per the title, but was filmed in Shreveport and Baton Rouge.
  • Fantastic Four (2015) was shot mostly on a sound stage in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with exterior shots of the city used to stand-in for New York. They even brought in authentic-looking New York buses to try and add to the illusion.
  • In a rather localized take, The Expendables have their base of operations in New Orleans but scenes set there were principally filmed in downtown Baton Rouge. Which they could have gotten away with pretty easily had they kept the Louisiana State Capitol building from appearing in a major establishing shot.
  • Geostorm takes place around the world, but was mostly shot in New Orleans.
  • Crossroads (2002) is mostly set during a road trip across the southern U.S., but was mostly filmed in Louisiana (the film's star Britney Spears hails from the state). Averted with some parts of the film, which actually take place in Louisiana.
  • Because of Winn-Dixie was set in Florida, but was filmed in Napoleonville and Gibson, Louisiana.
  • American Ultra takes place in multiple locations around the world, but was filmed in and around New Orleans.
  • Five Feet Apart is mostly set inside the fictional Saint Grace's Hospital in a un-named city, but was filmed in New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • Percy Jackson Sea Of Monsters was filmed in New Orleans, Louisiana and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada doubling for various locations, with the long-abandoned Six Flags New Orleans portraying an amusement park.
  • A portion of Jurassic World was filmed in Louisiana, with some filming done at the abandoned Six Flags New Orleans.
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is set in San Francisco and its surroundings, while being primarily shot in both Louisiana and Vancouver.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Outside of a few exterior shots, the bulk of Memphis Beat was shot in New Orleans.
  • Zoo takes place in various American cities and assorted international locations. The series is shot in New Orleans.
  • 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 first two seasons of Scream were shot in Louisiana, doubling for the fictional Lakewood, though production moved to Georgia after the second.
  • Hap and Leonard takes place in east Texas, but was filmed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
  • On Becoming a God in Central Florida mostly takes place in the Greater Orlando area in Florida, but was shot in Louisiana.
  • Salem is set in Salem, Massachusetts, but is mostly filmed in Shreveport, Louisiana.

New Mexico Doubling

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Twelve Strong: One of many films where New Mexico doubles for Afghanistan.
  • Due Date: Scenes that are supposed to be in Dallas are obviously in a desert with prominent mountains in the background.
  • Half Brothers: Scenes supposedly in Illinois and Oklahoma are obviously in the desert and show mountains in the background. One scene in Missouri has the New Mexico Rail Runner train with its’ very distinctive livery go by right behind them.
  • Hell or High Water: One of many films where New Mexico doubles for Texas.
  • Lone Survivor has New Mexico doubling for Afghanistan.
  • A Million Ways to Die in the West has New Mexico doubling for the fictional Old Stump, Arizona.
  • Red Dawn (1984): The town of Calumet was actually Las Vegas, New Mexico and other scenes were filmed in the surrounding mountains and on the Eastern New Mexico Plains. One memorable scene was filmed at Ghost Ranch.
  • Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: All the scenes in Afghanistan are filmed in New Mexico with Laguna Pueblo doubling for a small Afghan village.
  • Sicario: Scenes in Arizona and parts of rural Mexico are filmed in New Mexico.
  • Sicario: Day of the Soldado: is an even more egregious example as scenes which are supposed to take place in Corpus Christi Texas and other areas along the Texas Gulf Coast prominently show desert and mountains.
  • The Marksman is supposed to take place along the Mexican border in Arizona but many scenes clearly show the Sandia mountains next to Albuquerque in the background. It should be noted that most locations in Arizona along the border look nothing like the high Desert of Central New Mexico.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Briarpatch takes place in Texas, but was filmed in New Mexico.
  • Longmire: Both the TV and Book series take place in Wyoming, but are filmed in New Mexico.
  • The Night Shift takes place in San Antonio, Texas but was filmed in Albuquerque.
  • Waco, a miniseries about the stand off with the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas, was filmed near Santa Fe, New Mexico.
  • The Really Loud House, a live-action spinoff of The Loud House, was filmed in Albuquerque, substituting for the fictional Royal Woods, Michigan.

South Africa Doubling

    Films — Live-Action 
Take note that in the 1980s quite a few movies shot in South Africa omitted to mention they were shot there in the credits for obvious reasons.
  • Doomsday uses mostly South Africa to stand in for post-apocalyptic Scotland.
  • Racing Stripes has Pietermaritzburg, South Africa playing Kentucky.
  • 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.
  • Howling IV: The Original Nightmare is set in California, but is shot in South Africa.
  • The TV movie Spring Break Shark Attack, set in Miami, was filmed in Cape Town, South Africa. Which explains why Florida suddenly has mountains...
  • The 2009 remake of The Last House on the Left was shot in South Africa.
  • Tiger House is set in England, but was shot in South Africa.
  • The Last Days of American Crime is eventually revealed to be set in Detroit, despite that the film was shot in Cape Town, Western Cape and Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • Prisoners of the Lost Universe is set in California but shot in South Africa, a fact made obvious when vehicles are shown left hand driving.
  • Queen of Katwe: Scenes set in Russia were filmed in Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • In the 2018 Tomb Raider movie, scenes set in Hong Kong and on the island of Yamatai were mostly shot in South Africa.
  • Escape Room and its sequel were set in Chicago and New York respectively, but were both shot mostly in Cape Town, South Africa.
  • The Kissing Booth and its sequels are set in Los Angeles, but were mostly shot in Cape Town (although some scenes were shot in LA).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Strike Back has South Africa standing in for a wide variety of (sub)tropical locations, and Hungary for temperate ones. The trope is inverted in the opening episode of Shadow Warfare when Scott and Winchester are shown driving motorcycles along a road in "Northern California," but lane markings, roadside reflectors, etc. are ones not found in the US.
  • 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 few if any of the "Americans", this being a British-Canadian-South African co-production, were played by actual Americans).
  • Black Sails is primarily shot at a studio in Cape Town, with South Africa filling in for New Providence, Bahamas in outdoor and water scenes.
  • The first season of 15th-century Florence-set Leonardo was filmed in South Africa.
  • A portion of season 3 of Outlander, which primarily takes place in the US, was filmed in South Africa.
  • Troy: Fall of a City takes place in Ancient Greece and was filmed in South Africa.

Other Doubling

    Comic Books 
  • 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.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Philippines doubled for Vietnam in Apocalypse Now and a biker film called The Losers. The Philippines are also a particular favorite country for a lot of low-budget Hong Kong movies to double for the US and other countries due to the different kinds of urban cities, beaches and deep jungles.
  • Big Game, despite being made by Finns, has Bavaria doubling for Finland, as it has plot-important mountains and woodlands real-life Finland notoriously lacks.
  • 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.
  • The Philippines doubled for Thailand in Brokedown Palace.
  • 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.
  • Inverted in the film Crash, which was set in LA, but filmed many of its exterior shots in Germany because it was German-financed. There's also a short-lived Crash series, which continued the tradition by using Albuquerque for LA.
  • While most of the film was shot in the Philippines, the Australian Made-for-TV drama film A Dangerous Life has some of its scenes shot in Sri Lanka and Australia largely due to legal and political pressure from Juan Ponce Enrile who took umbrage to the way he was portrayed in the film.
  • 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.
  • The film Dog Soldiers featured Luxembourg doubling for the Highlands of Scotland..
  • Field of Dreams has Dubuque, Iowa filling in for most of non-Fenway Park Boston, and Galena, Illinois filling in for Chisholm, Minnesota, both being within a 50-mile radius of the farm that served as the Kinsella home.
  • For rather obvious reasons, Moscow has often been California Doubled, for example by Vienna in Firefox.
    • Vienna also doubled for Bratislava in The Living Daylights for much the same reason.
    • Helsinki, Finland also has a reputation as standing in for Moscow in many American films, such as Reds and Gorky Park.
    • Doctor Zhivago was shot with different Spanish locations (especially in the province of Soria) standing for Siberia. Soria, as well as among others La Pedriza and La Ciudad Encantada, have also doubled as Cimmeria in the first Conan the Barbarian (1982) movie.
      • 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 Audrey Hepburn version of War and Peace was filmed in Italy.
    • 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 culture 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.
  • F.I.S.T. also had Dubuque, Iowa filling in for Cleveland as it was said to look more like Cleveland of the 1930s than Cleveland itself did due to the near total absence of television antennas in Dubuque during the 1970s. Dubuque's geography made receiving over the air television signals problematic for most area residents, so a cable television system was developed in the 1950s, well before most other localities had implemented their own cable TV systems.
  • The film version of Hello, Dolly! used Garrison, New York as 1890s-era Yonkers. Many of the buildings they redecorated for the film are still there.
  • The James Bond series has several "Other country doubling":
    • Most subaquatic scenes since Thunderball were shot in The Bahamas (doubling for the Adriatic, Mediterranean and Caspian Seas).
    • On Her Majesty's Secret Service features Piz Gloria. A mountain that is set near St. Moritz, Switzerland in the novel. However, in the film, the mountain and surrounding areas are in the Bernese Oberland (which is in the same country), with several large signs naming places like "Murren", "Vengen", "Lauterbrunnen" and "Schilthornbahn". Additionally, the bobsled run (now a ski run) that Bond chases Blofeld down near the end is a few miles away from the real Piz Gloria, so jumping out of the building and rolling down the hill to end up at it is impossible.
      • Later in the film, Tracy states that the closest post office to them is in Feldkirch, Austria. However, she takes him to a phone booth in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland instead. it is unknown if they are meant to be in Feldkirch by this point due to James ultimately using the phone booth rather than a post office, as well as the fact that the village is lined by several very obvious Swiss flags that could easily have been removed for filming.
      • Portugal is also used for filming in the opening and closing scenes. However, due to the Corsican Marc-Ange Draco being located here, as well as the fact that everyone in the hotel speaks French, it seems to be standing in for Corsica.
    • 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.
    • Moonraker has an amusing case, where to justify French locations in what is said to be California, they say Hugo Drax purchased a castle in France and moved it brick by brick to his estate.
    • In GoldenEye, Cuba is actually Puerto Rico, the Russian dam from the opening is in Switzerland, and many St. Petersburg externals are in London. The train scenes were filmed on the Nene Valley Railway in Cambridgeshire, also the scene of filming for the circus train scene in Octopussy.
    • Tomorrow Never Dies is partially set in Vietnam, but given the Vietnamese authorities vetoed shortly before filming, the crew actually filmed in Thailand (some scenes even denounce the backgrounds are the same as in The Man with the Golden Gun).
    • The car chase in For Your Eyes Only is shot in Corfu, Greece, but the locals that help Bond flip his car the right way up can be heard speaking Spanish, and Bond says "Por favor" to ask them for help with getting it started.
      • Similarly, the "warehouse" that Bond chases Locque through is shot in the Old Fortress, Corfu, though it is doubling for Albania. Funnily enough, the real Albania is so close by that you can see it from the fortress.
    • 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 Cornwall for the former and Spain for the latter.
    • In Casino Royale, Madagascar is the Bahamas, and Montenegro is the Czech Republic.
    • No Time to Die:
      • Bond goes to Santiago de Cuba at one point. No filming for these scenes took place in Cuba, rather in Jamaica and at Pinewood Studios.
      • The filming of the climax on the Big Bad's island (implied to be one of the Kuril Islands, claimed by both Russia and Japan) took place on the Faroe Islands, northwest of the UK.
  • Hawaii doubles for a Central American island in Jurassic Park, the Amazon in both the first and fourth Indiana Jones movies and The Rundown (the crew of the latter planned to film in Brazil, but gave up after getting robbed there), Panama in Godzilla (1998) (leading future productions shot in Oahu to hide a giant footprint), Florida in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, 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 of the Lost Ark was really Tunisia, the primary shooting location for Tatooine in the Star Wars original trilogy (the canyon where Indy threatens Belloq is the same location where R2-D2 was taken by Jawas in A New Hope). Indiana Jones and the 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.
  • Lethal Weapon 3 averts it with the first scene, the car bomb scene, by filming the outdoor shots for the scene in Orlando, Florida. The building that was destroyed, the ICSI Building, was actually Orlando's old City Hall. They put a Coca-Cola sign on the new City Hall. They also cast the city's mayor at the time, Bill Frederick, as "Policeman who says 'Bravo' after explosion". And the building that was destroyed in The Stinger was located in St. Petersburg, 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.
  • Louis, the Child King: Several scenes that are supposed to take place inside the Louvre in Paris were filmed at the château of Chambord, the most famous of the Loire Valley Châteaux. Chambord itself was the property of Louis XIII's brother (and Louis XIV's uncle) Gaston d'Orléans at the time.
  • The Machinist 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Rules of Engagement has a few scenes set in the fern-filled jungles of Vietnam. The film was shot in Morocco, Virginia, and South Carolina.
  • Serena is set in the Smoky Mountains, but was filmed in the Czech Republic.
  • The Spider-Man Trilogy for the most part split filming between New York City (where the movies are set) and Los Angeles. The second and third movies have other cities stand in for New York:
    • The traintop battle between Spidey and Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2 was filmed on the Chicago 'L'. This was a necessity because while the New York City Subway does have a substantial amount of elevated trackage, all of it is in the less-photogenic outer boroughs, and there is none in Manhattan outside of small portions of the 1 train (one scene where Spidey is thrown off the train and dragged along the street was filmed under the viaduct that carries the 1 train across Manhattan Valley at 125th Street) due to most of the elevated lines being replaced with subways in the 1940s. To the movie's credit, every effort was made to conceal any obvious indicators that this is Chicago, although some unaltered station signs for Clark / Lake are momentarily visible as the two foes are getting their footing.
    • The chase scene in Spider-Man 3 where Spider-Man confronts Sandman as he's trying to hijack an armored car was done in Cleveland.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In a reversal of the trope's namesake, Revenge of the Ninja takes place in Los Angeles, but is filmed in Salt Lake City, Utah and looks nothing like Los Angeles.
  • 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 Azerbaijan 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".
  • Tropic Thunder was shot almost entirely in Hawaii, despite being set in Vietnam (or at least around the South-East Asian area).
    • It's just a location playing a location disguised as another location.
  • The Transformers movie filmed scenes set in the Middle East in the White Sands military bombing range, in New Mexico, once again for fairly obvious reasons.
    • Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen's climactic battle in Egypt was also filmed at White Sands. The opening scene set in an industrial area of Shanghai was filmed at the former Bethlehem Steel plant in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The forest battle, which according to TFWiki was fought in the Pine Barrens in New Jersey (a rather flat area), was filmed in Lincoln National Forest in New Mexico.
    • Transformers: Dark of the Moon had Chicago, aside from portraying itself, double for Sam's apartment in Washington D.C. The Chernobyl scenes were filmed around northwest Indiana (again, for obvious reasons), while Detroit stood in for some scenes in Chicago.
    • Transformers: Age of Extinction has Michigan and Chicago doubling for China (though production actually filmed there later).
  • 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 instances. Notably outrageous though, as the much of the movie takes place in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which is not that far from where the film was actually shot.
  • In an inversion, Terminator Salvation is primarily set in California and was filmed in New Mexico. Terminator: Dark Fate goes a step further in leaving the country, as Mexico and Texas were doubled in Spain.
  • 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.
    • Some movies of the same genre as the Dollars Trilogy were filmed (link in Spanish) in other places of Spain as the provinces of Madrid and Burgos as much if not more than in Almería.
    • 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 60s and 70s were filmed in Spain - including Chimes at Midnight and The Three Musketeers (1973) - because the labor was cheap, the terrain was varied, and, frankly, Franco's government was incredibly receptive to bribery.
  • 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, including Ben Affleck's first two movies as a director, have thus been filmed in Boston.
  • 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, Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming.
  • Utah has doubled for the Old West in too many movies to count, for the state of Nevada in Independence Day, the state of Oklahoma in Footloose, Vulcan in the Star Trek (2009) and as Mars in John Carter. Salt Lake City has been cast as a generic American city many times, most notably in the Touched by an Angel.
    • Goblin Valley State Park doubled as the alien planet in Galaxy Quest.
  • Salt Lake City stood in for Albuquerque in High School Musical. This is referenced in the High School Musical: The Musical: The Series spinoff, a Recursive Canon in which HSM is a fictional film series. The show is set in the same city where the films were shot, meaning Salt Lake City.
  • Me, Myself & Irene, set in Rhode Island, was at least partially filmed in Vermont.
  • 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 establishing 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.
  • Rural Alberta has doubled for a 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.
  • Similar to Alberta above, Winnipeg has found itself to be an excellent substitute locale for a number of other places, frequently Chicago.
    • The 2004 remake of Shall We Dance? was filmed here, going so far as using the legislative building's bathrooms for a scene. (Hey, they look nice!)
    • The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, despite being from The Old West, was filmed in Winnipeg's Exchange district (which looks sufficiently old, for that matter).
    • 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.
    • On the other hand, Hamilton and Brantford doubled for Winnipeg in The Tracey Fragments.
  • 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.
  • 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  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 '60s, 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 clearly were filmed in 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).
    • Chicago also doubles for Hong Kong in The Dark Knight: when Fox is talking with Lau on the roof of Lau's Hong Kong office, you can clearly see Chicago's McCormick Place in the background.
    • 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, Chicago stopped doubling for Gotham. Instead, Pittsburgh, New York City, and Los Angeles were used.
      • Notably from Pittsburgh is the usage of Heinz Field, the home stadium of the Steelers, as the home stadium of the Gotham Rogues. Other parts are represented by Los Angeles.
      • 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 visits regularly. Not that anyone is complaining.
      • Even more, whatever wasn't filmed in Pittsburgh or Los Angeles was filmed in New York City due to Mayor Michael Bloomberg being a fan of the series (not to mention a subtle tribute to the fact that Gotham, is, in fact, one of the DC Universe's homages to New York along with Metropolis; the Nolanverse even has such things as the police cars using a livery inspired by the one used by the NYPD in the 1990s). Notably, Bane's attack on the Gotham Stock Exchange had exterior filming on the same street as 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 Wind and the Lion was filmed in Spain, with Spanish locations being used to portray the Moroccan desert, Tangier, Washington, D.C., 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 credit, perhaps?
  • In Airport, Lincoln International Airport is supposed to be located in Chicago. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport was redressed to be used (due to the producers not wanting to risk a lack of snow in Chicago). The first sequel Airport 1975 uses entirely real airports, making use of both Washington Dulles International Airport and Salt Lake City International Airport.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Mechanic (1972): Some scenes were actually filmed on location in New Orleans. However, New Orleans also happened to double for Chicago, Houston and Colombia.
  • Adrift (2006), 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 Hong Kong and Astoria, Oregon.
  • 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.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road is set in the Australian Outback but was filmed in the southwestern African country of Namibia. Filming was supposed to take place in Australia but the winter before production was extremely rainy and made the landscape too lush for the dystopian setting so production was moved.
  • Midsommar is set in Sweden but was filmed outside of Budapest, Hungary.
  • Whereas Boogeyman was set in the US but filmed in New Zealand, the sequels were set in the US and filmed in Bulgaria.
  • Scream 4 was filmed in Michigan, despite still taking place in the fictional town of Woodsboro, California. The first three films were all filmed in Los Angeles.
  • Despite being set in New York and showing Toronto's skyline, much of Kick-Ass is filmed in Hamilton.
  • 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.
  • A Knight's Tale had the Czech Republic double for France and London.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was partly filmed in the Czech Republic.
  • Most of the exterior shots of the first Mortal Kombat movie were filmed in Thailand, and it really shows, particularly when it's doubling for China. Thai Buddhist temples look waaaay different from Chinese ones.
  • Several scenes in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York that take place in New York were actually shot in Chicago.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe examples:
  • 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. Kitts took the "role" in the second (which was the first).
  • The 1974 version of Murder on the Orient Express had scenes filmed in Istanbul, but the train scenes were filmed in France. The 2017 remake replaced Istanbul with Malta but filmed everything else on backlot.
  • 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.
  • Jumping the Broom has Nova Scotia, Canada doubling as Martha's Vineyard.
  • The Liza Minnelli and Burt Reynolds vehicle Rent-a-Cop, set in Chicago, was mostly filmed in Italy.
  • Robert Altman's film of the play Beyond Therapy, though set in New York, was shot in Paris because he was living there at the time.
  • The Washington Sentinels in The Replacements (2000) played their home games in Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium. Also, the Sentinels' only road game in the film was shot at FedEx Field, home of the Washington Football Team.
  • 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 (now known as Progressive 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.
  • Oblivion (2013) is set in New York City and New York State, but it was filmed (for the most part) on location in Iceland. Justified in that the Alien Invasion and subsequent war has turned the place unrecognizable except for some remaining landmarks.
  • Man of Steel: Chicago stands in for the fictional city of Metropolis, similar to The Dark Knight Trilogy and Smallville has Plano, Illinois stand in for the fictional Smallville in Kansas. Kansas was not at any point an actual filming location.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • A bizarre inversion in Youth in Revolt. The film is set in various California locations — Oakland, Clearlake, Berkeley, Ukiah, etc. — but 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 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.
  • The Sea of Trees is set in Japan within the infamous suicide forest at the base of Mt. Fuji, but was filmed in the 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.
  • Pittsburgh portrayed Indianapolis in The Fault in Our Stars, due to Pennsylvania offering more generous film-production tax credits than Indiana.
  • While Titanic (1997) does include footage from the actual shipwreck, and there was some filming in the Northern Atlantic where the ship sunk (the Canadian province of Nova Scotia), most of it was actually done in the Pacific Ocean - mostly in Baja California, Mexico, using a studio Fox built for the production and a huge water tank.
  • The film version of Oklahoma! had exterior scenes shot in Arizona.
  • Except for a couple of establishing shots, most scenes set in California or Nevada in The Godfather were filmed in New York.
  • Patton was filmed in Spain, doubling for Tunisia, Sicily, and Belgium.
  • The Martian was (obviously) not filmed on Mars, but in Wadi Rum, Jordan, a red-colored desert on Earth.
  • The Jekyll and Hyde adaptation by Studio A'yoy note  had a double whammy - Zielona Góra doubling for London, which in the book was doubling for Edinburgh (as we are informed).
  • Need a city that looks like a major German city before (or during) World War II? There's Görlitznote . It contains a pretty unique assembly of almost all architectural styles up to the war era and was left untouched by the war itself. Both German and big budget Hollywood productions (e.g. Valkyrie) have shot there with Görlitz standing in for Berlin quite a lot. Locals have taken to calling it Görliwood, naturally.
  • Die Hard 2, supposedly set at Washington Dulles International Airport, was actually filmed in several different locations in Colorado, Michigan, and California. One scene has McClane in the airport talking on the phone to his wife who is in an approaching plane, and "Pacific Bell" can clearly be read on the payphone he's using.
  • Silence is set in Japan but filmed in Taiwan because Japan's landscape has changed drastically from the the 17th century to the 21st.
  • Metropolis and Gotham City are basically the good and bad sides of New York split into two cities. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was mostly filmed in Michigan. A scene in Africa is actually New Mexico as the Ebola outbreak forced the filmmakers to abandon filming on location.
  • Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure has Arizona (namely Phoenix and Tempe) doubling for San Dimas, California and Italy doubling for England.
  • Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle is set in New Jersey, but most of the movie was shot in Canada. The White Castle in the end was actually constructed on site because there are no White Castles in Canada.
  • her (2013): A number of exterior shots where Theodore walks around what's presented as 2025 Los Angeles are recognizably (to anyone who's been there) filmed in Shanghai, in order to make the cityscape seem more futuristic. However, the film avoids giving the game away by not showing any of the Chinese city's iconic buildings such as the Oriental Pearl Tower.
  • In Forrest Gump, South Carolina doubles for Alabama.
  • Howling II: Stirba: Werewolf Bitch: The scenes set in Transylvania are filmed in Czechoslovakia.
  • While taking place almost entirely in Italy and France, To Hell and Back (based on the war memoirs of, and starring Audie Murphy As Himself) was filmed on and around various military training areas in Washington state. As a result, the terrain features no paved roads, telephone lines, church steeples, villages, or any other signs of habitation, Misplaced Vegetation abounds, and to top it off, everything seems to have been shot in late spring and early summer. The action at Holtzwihr, for which Murphy received the Medal of Honor, took place in the bitterly cold winter of 1944-1945 (Murphy said of fighting from the back of a burning armored vehicle "it was the only time that winter that my feet were warm") but in the film, it's a warm summer day without a single snowflake in sight.
  • Arctic is set in, well, the Arctic, but it was shot in Iceland.
  • 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).
  • The Return of Sherlock Holmes makes a valiant effort to make 2015 New York look like 1894 London on zero budget.
  • The two Grown Ups movies, which supposedly take place in upstate New York, were filmed in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Adam Sandler has apparently grown fond of the town, as he later shot Hubie Halloween there, despite the film taking place in Salem.
  • Many of the Christmas films from Hallmark Channel have been filmed in the Ottawa Valley, since there are many small towns, like Almonte, with traditional stone houses, and the transition from fall to winter matches the ideal scenery that many American viewers have in their minds of Christmas season.
  • Eastern Condors: The Vietnam scenes weere shot in the Philippines, while the American scenes were shot in Canada.
  • In a sort of inversion, Mandy (2018) is set in California but has been shot in Belgium.
  • Evil Breed: The Legend of Samhain is set is Ireland but was shot in Quebec. It more or less works, especially as there is supposed to be a dreamlike quality to the landscape, but they failed to secure any right-hand drive vehicles.
  • The jungle scenes in Jungle were shot in Colombia, rather than Bolivia where the events actually happened. Most viewers would be hard-pressed to tell the difference.
  • Although set in Toledo, Spain, The Pit and the Pendulum (1991) was shot at Castello di Giove, Giove, Terni, Umbria, Italy.
  • Quebec City for Boston, New York, Washington DC or Philadelphia in Period Pieces made after the 1970s, because unlike the American cities it never underwent "Urban Renewal". Its colonial downtown is still present, and the waterfront Promenade is often featured (despite no such feature being present in any of the American cities it doubles for). This can be especially funny in the case of decidedly landlocked Philadelphia. Especially before the 1990s economic renewal of Quebec, it was also a cheaper location. It has also stood in for pre-19th Century Paris, since it has the small winding streets, low skyline and frequently overcast weather: as well as being positioned on a large river with an island in the middle. The fact that the locals are bilingual also adds realism while removing the potential headaches of navigating a language barrier between local government and production crew.
  • Fire in the Sky: The outdoor scenes that were supposed to be in the mountains of Arizona were actually filmed in southern Oregon.
  • The Art of the Steal: The scenes set in Warsaw were actually shot in Budapest. Unfornately, several Budapest landmarks and Romanian flags are clearly visible in these scenes. Bucharest also briefly doubles for Amsterdam, but this scene is so brief that it could have been in any European city.
  • Unfriended was shot in a single house in Santa Clarita standing in for multiple houses in Fresno.
  • The Fate of the Furious: The New York scenes were shot in Cleveland. In fact it is obvious these scenes were not filmed on location in New York as most streets in Manhattan run in one direction while the ones shown in the movie are bidirectional based on the road markings that are visible throughout.
  • The Italian city of Matera has stood in for Jerusalem in countless biblical films or similar stories — mainly for political and security reasons, but also due to it's ramparts. Notable examples of Matera playing Jerusalem include The Gospel According to St. Matthew and Ben-Hur (2016).

  • 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 mother'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.
  • In Razor Girl by Carl Hiaasen, Bayou Brethren, a Reality Show about raising chickens in Louisiana is shot in the Florida Everglades. Its actors also aren't Louisiana natives.

    Live-Action TV 

In General:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Gemenc forest (Hungary) doubles frequently for other forests (such as in the Robin Hood series or in Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire).
  • The Volusia County Courthouse and environs, during the 90s, was frequently used as a courthouse or other corporate/municipal building in futuristic shows.

By Series:

  • The Americans, largely set in the Washington, D.C., area, is shot in New York City, which also doubles for Philadelphia and the Soviet Union in various episodes.
  • The Canadian miniseries Bad Blood, about the Rizzuto crime family, is set in Montreal, a city known for standing in for other cities in film projects. So naturally it's filmed in Sudbury, a mining city in northern Ontario with about a tenth of Montreal's population.
  • In an episode of Blindspot the New-York-based FBI agents make a quick visit to the CDC headquarters. where they learn of a potential outbreak in "nearby" New York Harbor. The CDC headquarters is actually in Atlanta. (For once, this isn't fake scenery but a faked-out detail in the script).
  • Hungary is also the location for Cadfael, presumably since most of England doesn't have that undeveloped medieval look any more.
  • 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.
  • Doctor Who:
  • Ed was set in Ohio. All outdoor scenes were filmed in Westfield, New Jersey.
  • For Emerald City much of the architecture of the eponymous city is lifted directly from Barcelona. Anyone casually familiar with the city will notice Gaudi's work, most notably scenes taking place inside Park Güell.
  • In the first episode of The Event, Sean and Leila's "Caribbean" cruise actually took place off the coast of Hawaii.
  • Fargo:
    • Seasons 1 through 3 are set in Minnesota, as the opening title cards make abundantly clear. These seasons were filmed in Calgary and surrounding Alberta towns, despite Minnesota having its own film industry.
    • Season 4 is set in 1950s Kansas City, but was filmed in Chicago. It's pretty apparent that the Kansas City Union Station massacre late in the season is actually in Chicago Union Station.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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 in 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 has a Federal execution chamber, and so Death Penalty appeals lawyers pleading cases in Illinois are often from Indiana.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • The Highwayman (a Glen A. Larson series) was set around America but filmed in Arizona; Lee Goldberg (of Monk and Diagnosis: Murder) wrote the episodes "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.
  • House of Cards (US) is set in Washington DC, 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) were 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. Averted in the second season when one plotline does take place in Joppa.
  • 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.
  • In-Universe example with iZombie: the Show Within a Show Zombie High takes place in Oregon, but is shot in Seattle for tax break purposes (lampshading how iZombie itself takes part in Vancouver Doubling).
  • 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. Scenes that took place in BOTH Philadelphia and Boston were filmed using old colonial buildings in and around Williamsburg. However, the scenes taking place in Europe were shot on-location.
    • The TV movie "Killing Kennedy", which was also shot in the Richmond area, despite the scenes taking place mostly in Dallas circa 1963. Richmond also doubled for New Orleans, Washington DC, Russia, and Mexico City while stock footage was used for key aerial shots.
    • Also Turn is filmed in Central Virginia, despite taking place in the Revolutionary-era Northeast (centering on the Long Island town of Setauket, but frequently venturing to New York City, rural Connecticut and New Jersey, and even to Philadelphia for a few episodes). Virginia is basically known for being the filming site of a whole bunch of historical period pieces, regardless of where they actually occurred, mostly because Virginia has good tax breaks and because Virginia has an embarrassment of colonial sites to film at, while the Northeastern sites are frequently covered over by development (try to shoot scenes of Washington's New Jersey camps close to their locations in Morris County and it'll be hard not to accidentally get a McMansion, a modern paved road, or an office park in the background, unless you want to spend extra budget on CGI).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.)
  • 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 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 to the west instead of a skyline - are clearly visible.
  • 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 short-lived FOX series Mental was set in L.A. but shot in Colombia.
  • The Musketeers, being a version of The Three Musketeers, takes place in France but was filmed in the Czech Republic.
  • 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. the most extreme case came in the final season where Tennessee stood in for Bolivia. (Even here there's an exception, as noted in the Aversions folder.)
  • Scenic Lithuania doubles for Merrie Olde England in The New Adventures of Robin Hood.
  • While Person of Interest is set and shot in New York, both the city and upstate locations double for areas as diverse as Texas, Iraq, Rome, Sankt-Petersburg, and Ordos Kangbashi. They did however shoot parts of a fifth season episode in Washington D.C., where the story was set.
  • The pilot for Quantico, set in Virginia (flashbacks) and New York City (present), was shot in Atlanta; the series was shot in Québec. For season two production transferred to NYC.
  • Search: It's unknown where scenes set in the Korean Demilitarised Zone were filmed, but for obvious reasons it was impossible to film them on location.
  • 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 Ukrainian 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 jour) and that any part of the European 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 1990s version of Sheena, set in Africa, was filmed in Florida.
  • Spin City was both set and filmed in New York until Michael J. Fox left and Charlie Sheen arrived, sending the production to Hollywood.
  • "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.
  • The miniseries Texas Rising was shot, ironically, in Mexico. Which led to several The Mountains of Illinois moments, among other inaccuracies.
  • Thunder in Paradise had episodes set in many exotic locations, but the entire series was filmed in Florida. Some scenes were convincing, making good use of EPCOT Center's World Showcase. Trying to pass off Cinderella Castle as London, on the other hand...
  • 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 hidden camera show What Would You Do? frequently uses a location called the Colonial Diner, located in the state of New Jersey, during social experiments that involve restaurants. However, they've done episodes where they filmed scenarios like this in other parts of the country, like a segment taped in Nashville about a waiter who keeps on forgetting which patrons get which order and which patrons have birthdays that day.
  • Wildfire takes place in central California (east of Oakland), but was filmed in New Mexico because of tax incentives. A riverside location frequently used in this series also turns up in Breaking Bad.

TV Movies:

  • Blue Lagoon: The Awakening is mostly set on an island off the coast of Trinidad, but was actually filmed in Hawaii.
  • Romania stands in for Merrie Old England in the Made-for-TV Movie Princess of Thieves.
  • 2003's The Elizabeth Smart Story has Salt Lake City, a landlocked city wedged between the mountains and the desert, portrayed by Halifax, Nova Scotia, a maritime port city that was founded about a century earlier.


    Video Games 
  • 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. The remake of the second game fixes the issue by making Raccoon City an actual city instead of a large town and the streets accommodate several lanes of traffic.
    • Capcom also produces the Ace Attorney franchise, whose games are supposed to take place in the United Statesnote , 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. According to Word Of God, the first game was made with localization in mind while the sequels didn't have any immediate plans to be localized, which is why they have a lot of Japanese cultural references and why the localized versions fall into the trope. One of the localizers explained that the reason the the localized games have so much Japanese references and cultures is due the settings taking place in an alternate timeline where anti-Japanese laws in the United States never existed, allowing Japanese citizens to live and flourish in California.
  • 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.
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2's "Wolverines" mission is set in northeastern Virginia, but the strip mall is modeled after a location in Vancouver, WA.
  • Most of the backgrounds for Yamaku High School in Katawa Shoujo, a Western-developed Dating Sim set in Japan, are actually pictures of the Brown University campus (located in Rhode Island). Additionally, in an instance of actual California Doubling, the kitchen from the Ibarazaki house appears to be of a not especially uncommon design in the San Francisco bay area.
  • Battlefield 4 has a particularly amusing (and possibly self-referential) instance, where the fourth mission is explicitly stated to take place in Singapore, but if you pay attention you'll notice that the actual level geography is almost identical to that for the multiplayer level Siege of Shanghai.

    Web Comics 
  • 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.
  • Irregular Webcomic!, being a photo-based webcomic, often uses as backgrounds photos taken by Morgan-Mar on his vacations. The Cliffhangers theme in particular prominently uses photos of various locations in Germany and Italy when the characters are in Germany and Italy, but the first time the story takes them to Paris was before Morgan-Mar had ever visited Paris, resulting in a lot of backgrounds actually being pictures of his trip to Rome as a stand-in for Paris.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • 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.


    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Tenet, the opening sequence set in Kiev was actually shot at the Linnahall concert hall in Tallinn, Estonia. Strangely enough, several other scenes shot in Tallinn were set there in the script, so this doubles as both an aversion and being played straight.
  • Chasing Mavericks was actually filmed in Santa Cruz and Half-Moon Bay, California. The local pizzeria at Pleasure Point even did a bit of remodeling so that it resembled its past self at the time the movie was set.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Film Series:
    • 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.
    • Transformers: Age of Extinction had location shoots in Beijing, Hong Kong, Texas, and Utah's Monument Valley.
  • 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 II 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 The 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 Rōnin; 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 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...
    Scott: They shoot movies in Toronto?
    Wallace: [deadpan] Yes.
  • 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 Sam Raimi Spider-Man Trilogy films actually did film a lot of footage in New York.
  • 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.
    • The Amazing Spider-Man 2, however, is notably the first film in the franchise to be filmed entirely in New York City and the surrounding areas; making it the largest production to be filmed in the city.
  • 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 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.
  • Gettysburg was shot in the battlefield national park, and every battle sequence filmed was done where it had taken place in 1863, with the exception of Little Round Top. (There wasn't enough room for all the actors, crew, and equipment, so they shot the scenes on Big Round Top instead.)
  • Divergent was shot almost entirely on location in Chicago where the film is set.
  • Robert Altman's That Cold Day in the Park (1969), which is usually considered the first "Hollywood North" production in Vancouver, is in fact set in Vancouver.note 
  • Tarzan's Fight for Life includes scenes filmed around Hat Creek and Pit River in Northern California.
  • The Treasure Of Lost Canyon was filmed around Feather River and Burney Falls, in Northern California.
  • The Rock actually was filmed in San Francisco and Alcatraz Prison on Alcatraz Island itself. Since the prison is a designated national park, they couldn't close it for production, so they needed to accommodate the tourists there.
  • M. Night Shyamalan has been known to film and set his movies in Philadelphia or the surrounding area, for example After Earth was shot at Sun Center Studios in Delaware County.
  • With the exception of certain scenes shot in New Orleans, The Dirt was actually shot in and around the Sunset Strip in L.A., where Mötley Crüe got their start.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
    • Their next project Treme is set and filmed in New Orleans.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia moves out to Philadelphia to film every season.
    • However, see under the California heading - a lot of the interiors and some exteriors are filmed in California.
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel largely films on location no matter where the characters go, with the show being based out of New York City. When Abe and Midge travel to Paris early in season 2 after Rose runs off, the show really filmed in Paris. An actual resort in the Catskills was used for Steiner Mountain Resort. In season 3, the Fontainebleu Resort in Miami plays itself.
  • 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.
  • Burn Notice is set in Miami and filmed in Miami. They do everything they can to remind us of that. They often use the Miami area to double for various other locales, including West Africa in the pilot using careful camera shots and an orange "heat" filter.
  • Royal Pains is set in The Hamptons and shot mostly in The Hamptons (the producers try to keep all the location filming on Long Island, at least).
  • The Streets of San Francisco was set and filmed in that city, and the opening AND closing credits did everything they could to remind us of that (the end credits for each episode are displayed in front of a helicopter shot going away from the Golden Gate Bridge). That said, occasionally an episode has the odd scene set elsewhere ("Flags Of Terror" has its first scene in Japan, and "Till Death Do Us Part" begins in New Jersey and the Midwest before arriving in San Francisco).
  • Third Watch is set and filmed in New York.
    • 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.
  • Forever Knight was both shot and set in Toronto.
  • 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.)
    • Played straight in one scene in "Soprano Home Movies", which involved one of the Soprano crew carrying out a hit in Montreal; instead of going all the way to Montreal to film a scene that lasted less than a minute, they just filmed at an apartment complex in Brooklyn.
  • Averted in Flashpoint which is set, for once, in a generic Canadian city, though it bleeds from "filmed in Toronto" to "set in Toronto" as the seasons wear on.
  • 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).
  • Both The Cosby Show and The Cosby Mysteries were set and filmed in New York (Bill Cosby hated working 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 UK/Canada co-production Burn Up. Filmed on-location in Calgary and London - and actually set in both cities. "While filming in the city is hardly unique, it's rare for a high-profile project to feature Calgary as Calgary."
  • Almost all of Degrassi is set in Toronto; however, when characters travel away from home, most of those scenes are shot in Toronto as well.
  • Averted by both the original and the remake of Hawaii Five-O, which meant in the case of the latter that Daniel Dae Kim didn't have to move.
    • 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 Woodsen and Co. went to Paris those episodes were also filmed in the City of Lights. Serena 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 Lifetime Original Movie Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy subverts this trope; the movie was filmed in Italy, but had Rome doubling as Perugia (where the murder of Meredith Kercher took place - the producers were denied permission to shoot in the actual town for obvious reasons). Italy also stands in for Germany and the US.
  • The Disney Made-for-TV Movie of Lemonade Mouth was filmed in Albuquerque, and the setting was changed to that from the book's Rhode Island, complete with the High School's name being changed from "Opaquansett" to "Mesa".
  • The Paris half of Highlander the Series was filmed in and set in Paris.
  • The scenes in the pilot for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles that were set in New Mexico were actually filmed in New Mexico. The rest of the series was set and filmed in Los Angeles.
  • 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.
  • Doubling has been aggressively averted on Breaking Bad, which is filmed almost entirely in the Albuquerque metro area. However, they turn around and approach the trope from the other end, because scenes set in Mexico are usually filmed in New Mexico with a yellow filter slapped over the camera lens.
    • The show was originally set in Riverside, east of 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.
    • That said, it's still played straight in both Breaking Bad and its prequel spinoff Better Call Saul, where Albuquerque also doubles for Houston, Philadelphia, Hanover Germany, and suburban Chicago.
  • Graves takes place and is filmed in New Mexico. It takes full advantage of all the beautiful scenery the state has to offer.
  • The sitcom The Ugliest Girl In Town (an American production) was both filmed and set in London (although ironically it never aired in London - the series was bought for British TV by ITV, but not every region showed it).
  • 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.
  • Averted by two elements of The NBC Mystery Movie:
    • 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.
    • This was a condition of Richard Widmark agreeing to do Madigan, one of his few ventures into television (and his only series) - half the episodes were shot in Europe with the other half being in New York, and we always knew where he was going thanks to the title of the episode.
    • 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!). In fact, one of the British actors had to remain in the US, as he was wanted for tax evasion in the UK.
  • Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, set in New York, was filmed there.
  • The Bold and the Beautiful likes to avert this when characters go overseas, with shooting in locations like Barbados and Italy (both places where the show's very popular).
  • 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 found 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 in 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 (which is in DeKalb County), and the town of Senoia doubles for the town of Woodburynote . It has since begun meeting the trope, as it continues to be filmed in Georgia despite now being set in Virginia.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe Netflix shows were largely set and filmed within New York City. This was so notable (especially for the MCU) that the city actually held a huge press conference to announce its partnership with Marvel.
    • Daredevil, while set in Hell's Kitchen, largely filmed in neighborhoods around northern Brooklyn and southwest Queens with architecture similar to Hell's Kitchen in the 1970s and 1980s. This is because the real life Hell's Kitchen gentrified in the 2000s, while the comics the show uses as source material depict the neighborhood as overrun with violent crime. The in-universe explanation for any discrepancies is that Hell's Kitchen took major damage during the Chitauri invasion in The Avengers and is still undergoing reconstruction.
    • The Harlem setting is so integral to the environment of Luke Cage that the majority of shooting was done there too, although some interiors were filmed on sets in Brooklyn.
  • Y Gwyll is set in in and around Aberystwyth and filmed entirely in Mid-Wales in and around Aberystwyth.
  • Jack Taylor is set in Galway and all the outdoor locations are filmed in Galway. On the other hand, all interior shots are filmed in Ardmore Studios in Bray (just south of Dublin, on the east coast) and in Bremen in Germany.
  • Dick Wolf's Chicago tetralogy of shows (Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., Chicago Med, and Chicago Justice) are all set and filmed in Chicago. That said, there are still some liberties: e.g., the police station used for P.D. is actually used for the University of Illinois at Chicago Police, not the Chicago Police Department; although it was used by the CPD as the 7th District Police Station prior to 1998.
  • The Wonderful World Of Disney's three-part production "The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh" averts this, particularly notable as it was made in '63, and instead filmed it in England.
  • Blue Bloods is set and filmed in New York City.
  • The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles took Indy all over the world. The show was really shot in many exotic locales in Europe, Asia and Africa.
  • Averted by NCIS's spinoffs NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans, both filmed in their respective locations — except when NCIS LA has to go to another country. Fortunately most of those countries have so little vegetation they only need a cold blue/hot orange lighting filter. Similarly, NCIS: Hawaiʻi is not only filmed on Oahu, but they're allowed to film scenes for the field office at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
  • Every single scene of Sense8 was shot in the location being depicted, and with a cast of characters scattered across the globe this meant a lot of location-hopping. The crew even went as far as filming a scene set during a flight from England to Iceland during the actual flight they took between the two locations. Unfortunately this lead to a truly enormous budget, often quoted as $9 million per episode, which played a large part in it being cancelled after two seasons.
  • Hung was shot and set in the northern suburbs of Detroit.
  • Balamory, set in a fictional Scottish island town, was shot on location in Scotland (in Tobermory, West Lothian, and Glasgow to be precise).
  • Haven is an interesting variation. It plays the trope straight, but ends up avoiding The Mountains of Illinois and Television Geography because of the filming location they chose for doubling. The show is set in Maine but filmed in Nova Scotia. The aesthetics are nearly indistinguishable. Lunenberg, Nova Scotia is the fictional Haven, and looks more like coastal Maine than some towns actually on the Maine coast.

    Video Games 
  • Mass Effect 3 situates the Alliance capital in a Vancouver/Seattle megalopolis and is deliberately modelled after the area, just updating it with bigger skyscrapers more appropriate for its 22nd-century setting.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Location Doubling, Vancouver Doubling


Bronson Cave Through The Years

In his Monster Madness highlight of the movie Robot Monster, James talks about the titular Cave, which appears in the feature, and highlights some of the many films and serials that have been filmed around the area.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / BronsonCanyonAndCaves

Media sources: