With director Michelle Danner at the helm, ‘Miranda’s Victim’ retells the story of Trish Weir, whose fight for justice against her assailant led to a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case. The period drama film follows Weir, a young woman who is sexually assaulted by Ernesto Miranda. While Miranda confesses to the crime in police custody, his conviction is challenged in court as he was not made aware of his legal rights by the police. The possibility of the monster who had scarred her being set free torments Weir, and she fights for justice without the support of her family.
The narrative highlights the unfamiliar origins of the well-known Miranda Warning, obliging police officers to make the accused aware of their rights. The 2023 film transports us to the suburban landscape of 1960s Phoenix, revolving around the stately courtrooms of Arizona. The nostalgic homes, diners, and streets, along with the elegant halls of judicial institutions, lend themselves to the faithful retelling of the true story, sparking curiosity about the actual filming sites.
Where was Miranda’s Victim Filmed?
‘Miranda’s Victim’ was filmed entirely in New Jersey, as opposed to the historically accurate locations in Arizona. Principal photography was carried out across Monmouth County for six weeks between June 2022 and July 9, 2022. Grateful to the community for their contribution in the film’s creation, producer George Kolber said, “This important, true story could not be told without the support and help of so many throughout the Monmouth community.” Adding, “It’s the help of the Red Bank Elks Club, Count Basie, and the Antique Motoring Club of Monmouth County, that will enable us to accurately depict 1960-70s America.”
Interestingly, an amendment was made to the Miranda Rights Enforcement by the Supreme Court two weeks into filming, limiting its enforcement and the suing of police officers over the lack of its recitation. To maximize the authentic look of the 1960s and 70s, Danner decided to shoot the movie on film despite the added expenses, reasoning, “It makes it richer. I told myself if I ever was going to fight to shoot something on film, it would be this … It’s a story that really warrants telling it in the best way possible.” Allow us to take you through the historical locations chosen to depict the backdrop of the courtroom drama.
Monmouth, New Jersey
Situated along the northern Jersey Shore, the boroughs of Red Bank and West Long Branch, along with Middletown became the primary filming destinations for ‘Miranda’s Victim.’ Monmouth County was chosen for its well-preserved historical locations and atmosphere, able to convincingly portray the time period seen in the movie. Talking about the apt backdrop provided by the county, director Danner said, “The Great Hall at Monmouth University, the old Middletown courthouse and the Count Basie (Center for the Arts) are all incredible.”
The Arizona Trial Court and the Supreme Court from the film were actually created using the Great Hall at Monmouth University. The university at 400 Cedar Avenue in West Long Branch was founded in 1933. Its Great Hall has a classical elegance to it, with both interior and exterior shots of the structure finding extensive use in ‘Miranda’s Victim.’ The regal building can also be seen in the 1982 musical, ‘Annie,’ standing in for Daddy Warbuck’s Mansion.
Further courtroom scenes were lensed in the old Middletown courthouse in the northern Monmouth township of Middletown. One of the oldest European settlements in the state, the town is ideal for the filming of the period drama. The Middletown municipal building is also featured in the film as a simplistic and nostalgic setting. Middletown’s quaint locales can also be seen in movies like the 2024 ‘Mean Girls,’ and the cult classics ‘Chasing Amy’ and ‘Clerks.’
Nestled on the Navesink River, Red Bank and its locals can be spotted frequently in ‘Miranda’s Victim,’ including the Count Basie Center for the Arts on 99 Monmouth Street. Originally known as Count Basie Theatre, the ornate establishment holds plays, band performances, and events. Its retro appeal adds to the engrossing creation of 1960s Phoenix in the film. Shooting was also carried out along East Sunset Avenue and South Bridge Avenue.