In the feature film directorial debut of S.J. Clarkson, ‘Madame Web’ introduces us to its titular superhero based on the character from Marvel Comics. The origin film is an entrant into Sony’s Spider-Man Universe, which runs alongside the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Cassandra Webb is a paramedic in Manhattan who begins to have visions after a near-death experience. She soon discovers that she has gained powers to peer into the future. Through her clairvoyance, Cassandra rescues a group of girls who are hunted by a menacing Ezekiel Sims.
Julia Cornwall, Anya Corazon, and Mattie Franklin each have their own hidden powers and rely on Cassandra to keep them out of harm’s way. A cat-and-mouse game ensues, taking the action around NYC, Massachusetts, and through Cassandra’s mindscape as she maps out all possible futures. With its backdrops ranging from bustling metropolitan streets and subway cars to the Amazon Rainforest, inquisitive minds may find themselves investigating its actual filming sites.
Where Was Madame Web Filmed?
‘Madame Web’ was filmed across sites in New York, Massachusetts, and Mexico. Shooting was done on location as well as in a couple of Massachusetts-based studios. Principal photography was carried out under the title ‘Claire’ between July 11, 2022, and October 14, 2022. The cast seems to have enjoyed their time behind the scenes, with actress Sydney Sweeney commenting, “Isabela Merced is here and we had such a great time together. It was three and a half months of filming, so I’m very excited for people to see it.” Allow us to take you through the specific locales seen in the film, and their real-world counterparts.
The capital city of Massachusetts became a major filming location for ‘Madame Web,’ with its bustling streets, as well as quaint neighborhoods serving as the backdrop for several scenes. Boston’s metropolitan sprawl stood in for the environments of NYC. Many of the fight scenes in the city, towards the later half of the film, feature locations of Boston in the backdrop. In particular, the skyscrapers on Oliver Street can be spotted as Cassandra and Ezekiel trade blows, slinging across the cityscape.
The 4-star diner, which houses an earlier confrontation between the two, was also created using a set in Boston. The diner has significance from the comics, as it was seen in the 30th issue of Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2., and serves as an easter egg for die-hard fans. Sporting a glowing neon sign and vintage interiors, the site stands out even among the other early 2000s sets created for the production.
Filming for ‘Madame Web’ first began in downtown Boston, where a part of the Financial District portrayed NYC of the early 2000s. The production team ensured that even the vehicles parked on the street were pre-2003 models. A request was put out on a couple of Dodge Viper Owner’s Facebook groups by the team, looking to rent a 2000-2003 Dodge Viper to use in the movie’s sequences. Boston had also seen the filming of Marvel’s ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ take place around the city in 2021.
The filmmakers ventured to the city of Weymouth to set up shop at The Hangout at Union Point. The 33,000-square-foot former fighter jet hangar at 26 Memorial Grove Avenue is a popular filming and event location, often hosting concerts and festivals. Known formerly as the South Weymouth Naval Air Station, It also served as a filming site for ‘Madame Web,’ with its expansive acreage allowing for uninhibited creative freedom. Additionally, the property hosted the production of ‘Free Guy’ and ‘Don’t Look Up.’
The New England Studios at 100 Studio Way in Devens lent itself to many of the film’s scenes involving stunts and special effects. Containing four contiguous, state-of-the-art soundstages, the studio facilitated the creation of elaborate sets and special effects necessary for the superhero film. These sound stages can be customized to meet the specific needs of each production, whether it’s building a futuristic cityscape or creating an abstract environment like Cassandra’s mindscape. Its location, facilities, and collaborative environment make it a top choice for productions seeking to bring spectacular visions to life. Some films lensed here include ‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods,’ ‘Slender Man,’ ‘Hocus Pocus 2,’ and ‘Spirited.’
Other Locations in Massachusetts
Shooting for ‘Madame Web’ took place across multiple towns in Massachusetts, largely in the South Shore region. In Middlesex County, the filmmakers visited Arlington, Ayer-Devens, and Medford. Within Essex County, filming took place in Andover and North Andover. Further scenes were lensed in Boylston and Worcester in Worcester County. The film crew also ventured to Revere and Chelsea.
New York City, New York
With much of the film being set in NYC, shooting was carried out across multiple sites in the bustling metropolis. Establishing shots and backgrounds for many of the movie’s action sequences were captured in the Big Apple. Many of the city’s landmarks are visible throughout the film, including the Robert F. Kennedy or Tri-Borough Bridge, along with its iconic skyline. The subway system seen in the film, as well as regional rail with a hub in Grand Central Station, depict its real-life counterparts in New York.
The film crew traveled to Mexico to capture a very different backdrop compared to the rest seen in the film. Most likely, the establishing shots for the flashback sequence involving Cassandra’s mother were lensed in the North America country. The scenes present the Amazon rainforest, which was portrayed by the rainforests of southern Mexico, as they match the appearance of their South American counterpart.
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