Hulu’s The Stranger: Exploring All Filming Locations

Under the direction of Veena Sud, ‘The Stranger’ narrates the chilling story of a female taxi driver encountering a psychopathic incel who begins to stalk her across the city relentlessly. Clare is an aspiring writer from Kansas who drives a rideshare cab in Los Angeles. One day, she picks up a passenger from a mansion on the city’s outskirts. He introduces himself as Carl, and when asked if he is famous, he says that he just killed the woman living at the mansion. As he pulls a knife on her and goes on an enraged rant about women, Clare crashes the car and calls for help at a nearby gas station. She explains her situation to a worker, JJ, who helps her escape into the city.

However, no matter where they go, Carl always seems to find Clare. The Hulu thriller immerses us in its riveting chase that takes us from the isolated periphery of Los Angeles to neon-lit nightclubs, dark subway tunnels, and dimly lit streets. As Clare traverses such a range of settings, with Carl seemingly always a step ahead of her, the film creates a pulse-pounding sense of paranoia about the stalker hiding behind every corner.

Where Was The Stranger Filmed?

True to its narrative, ‘The Stranger’ was filmed on location across Los Angeles. The film is a recut of Veena Sud’s Quibi series of the same name. Principal photography for the source series was carried out in October 2019. Its thirteen ten-minute episodes were strung together and edited for a month and a half into a seamless 100-minute film by Veena Sud and editor Phillip Fowler.

Los Angeles, California

Shooting for ‘The Stranger’ took place entirely in the City of Angels, utilizing some of its esoteric sites to create a desolate and thrilling effect. Filming locations ranged from the scenic locales of Hollywood Hills to the gritty streets and abandoned subway systems in downtown Los Angeles. Shooting for most of the film was done at night, which presented some opportunities and challenges for the production team. While the consistent nightshifts of acting and recording were taxing, it also meant that for most outdoor shoots, capturing quiet and haunting backdrops was simpler.

The film’s opening segment, which sees Clare picking up Carl and driving, was filmed in the Hollywood Hills neighborhood in the Santa Monica Mountains. An iconic area known for its upscale houses and modern mansions, it is synonymous with the luxury and glamour of its eponymous entertainment industry. When Clare is driving along the winding roads of Hollywood Hills, we are treated to a view of the glimmering city of Los Angeles sprawling into the distance.

The subway and abandoned tunnel sections of the movie were filmed in downtown Los Angeles. Part of the Pacific Electric Railway, the tunnels were built around 1910 and connected Glendale, Fernando Valley, and Santa Monica to Westlake and Bunker Hill. After the prevalence of personal motor vehicles and buses as preferred mediums of transit, the subway was shut down in the 1950s. While many sections were filled up by workers or the foundations of skyscrapers, some parts like Bunker Hill Transit Tunnel, Historic Core Speakeasies, and Civic Center Tunnels stand as abandoned underground labyrinths.

Filming for many of the movie’s most intense and eerie scenes took place in parts of these abandoned subterranean networks. The deserted underground stations serve as a perfect set for films. They are free from external interference, can be done up by the production teams to appear as an authentic station, or can be filmed as-is for a post-apocalyptic effect. Some movies that have adopted the stations and tunnels as sets include ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,’ ‘Isn’t it Romantic,’ and Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story.’

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