The Report: Hornets Over Hollywood

David Strick

Gun battles! Explosions! Agents held hostage! “The Green Hornet” takes over L.A.

The Green Hornet represents something of a rarity. Riding a steady increase in the number of film shoots in Los Angeles during the past year, director Michel Gondry shot the entire big-budget production within the city’s 30-mile zone, a decision that required cooperation from city governments and neighborhoods. The film, which opens Jan. 14, lensed for about 75 days during the second half of 2009. While interiors were filmed on Sony Pictures’ soundstages in Culver City, the production spent an unusual amount of time shooting on location. To complicate matters, much of the exterior shoots involved running gun battles, car chases and explosions galore. Here’s a look at how Seth Rogen and company transformed the City of Angels.


Location: Sears
The interior of a vacant Sears building on Santa Monica Boulevard was used for several shoots. Tens of thousands of dollars was spent on earthquake-proofing a neighboring red-tagged building just so it could be blown up.


Location: Fletcher Drive
The production closed a half-mile on Fletcher Drive for a running gun battle that consisted of a pickup truck catching fire, moving at 50 mph and smashing into a bus. The California Highway Patrol had to do rolling breaks on the adjacent 5 Freeway, controlling traffic flow so drivers wouldn’t panic at the sight of flaming cars.


Location: L.A. Times
The locations team secured a Los Angeles Times pressroom for five days for a sequence that involved the Black Beauty driving at 35 mph, turning a corner and smashing into a wall built for the stunt.


Location: Avenue of the Stars
The CAA headquarters on Century City’s Avenue of the Stars saw green for about a week’s worth of shooting involving police and helicopter chases. One night, an actual fundraiser at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza complicated matters by sending hundreds of people into the street. Another night, diners at Craft were all but held hostage as a helicopter flew amid the highrises and a mini-copter the size of a car was remotely flown over the CAA building’s central arch.


Location: Hawthorne Mall
The rooftop parking lot at the abandoned Hawthorne Plaza Shopping Center was converted into a 1,200-foot highway. Coordination with the Hawthorne Airport was required so the production’s lights didn’t blind pilots.