‘Queenpins,’ by husband and wife director duo Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapilly, centers on two women as they create a multi-million dollar coupon counterfeiting operation. Connie and Jojo are struggling with debt and disappointment in a system that seems to be working against them. Wanting to use a shortcut to wealth, Connie is ready to break the rules to get there. She figures out the logistics behind the production of coupons, with all of them being manufactured at the same facility. Connie and Jojo travel there and secure unused coupons, selling them on their website before their bank accounts are frozen due to suspicious activity.
Contacting a hacker who had targetted Jojo in the past, they set up a legitimate proof of business and began reinvesting their dirty money, earning unimaginable profits. However, their activities have been detected by an uptight loss prevention officer, who succeeds in mobilizing the FBI against their operation. The 2021 film tells a comical story based on true events with relatable characters. We follow the protagonists as they operate out of their suburban homes in Phoenix, to eventually having warehouses and private jets, traveling to various locations.
Where Was Queenpins Filmed?
‘Queenpins’ was filmed primarily in and around Los Angeles, California. While a studio was put to use for its production, we get establishing shots of Montenegro, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Mexico, and Washington. Principal photography commenced on October 22, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, and was wrapped up by December 7, 2020. Allow us to take you through the filming sites and locales used in the creation of the movie.
Los Angeles, California
Multiple sites across Los Angeles County stood in for Phoenix and its neighborhoods in ‘Queenpins.’ Nestled in the Pomona Valley, between the Inland Empire and the San Gabriel Valley, the city of Pomona became one of the major filming locations for the crime comedy. A suburban locale in the city was turned into the Phoenix neighborhood where Connie and Jojo resided. Talking about the difficulty of filming during the pandemic, co-director Aron said, “Certainly a lot of concessions we had to make because just the reality of, you know, we couldn’t just go shoot wherever we wanted 22 of our 30 shoot days, we’re all on this one, like mental health facility campus that has been shut down in Pomona.”
Aron stated, “We had to make it work. We had to find every sort of nook on that campus and figure out how it could be a location in our movie.” Certain locations, including the courthouse in the film, were simulated using a studio in Los Angeles. Riverfront Stages, on 3061 Treadwell Street, is known for its standing stages, including Courthouses, a Jail Complex, a Modern Office, a bar stage, a Morgue, a Townhouse, and an Apartment. For filming the courtroom scene in ‘Queenpins,’ the Stage 1 building of Riverfront Stages was rented.
Santa Paula, California
In the heart of Ventura County, Santa Paula’s arid landscape and small-town charm became the site for the filmmakers to portray Chihuahua, Mexico, where Connie and Jojo travel to the coupon printing factory. The entire sequence of them staking out the facility, to convincing Alejandro to join their operation, was filmed in locations around Santa Paula. The city’s well-preserved downtown area, lined with vintage storefronts and iconic landmarks, offers filmmakers a timeless setting that can seamlessly transform to suit various genres. Some of the films that have made use of Santa Paula’s versatile backdrop include, ‘Joe Dirt,’ ‘Carrie,’ ‘Chaplin,’ ‘The Heartbreak Kid,’ and ‘Bedtime Stories.’
Other Filming Locations
A range of real-life cities, towns, and places can be spotted in the movie’s many establishing shots. Every time the film takes us to a new setting, a cinematic landscape shot of the actual place is seen with text introducing it, popping up in the foreground. The real-life story took place in Phoenix, Arizona, and thus the film starts off with a shot of the city. In a similar manner, Carson City and Las Vegas, Nevada, are showcased, as well as Salt Lake City, Utah.
When the FBI is made aware of the counterfeiting operation, the film treats us to a shot of the actual FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. When Connie and Jojo travel to Mexico to scout the coupon-making factory, a town in Chihuahua can be seen briefly in an establishing shot. At the end of the movie, when Jojo shifts to Montenegro to start a new business, a view of the tropical paradise of Kotor is shown.