Baby Boy: Where Was the 2001 Movie Filmed?

With a coming-of-age story exploring how hood culture infantilizes those living in squalid, single-mother homes, 2001’s ‘Baby Boy’ is a drama centering around a young man’s refusal to grow up. Directed by John Singleton, the film follows Joseph “Jody” Summers, a 20-year-old whose lack of accountability leads to pregnancies with two different women while he struggles to commit to either. Worried that his mother might kick him out after getting a new boyfriend, Jody has to figure out what to do with his life and if he has any direction at all.

In a runtime that just exceeds 2 hours, director John Singleton, who hails from Los Angeles, California, takes a deep dive into the world he knows and recognizes well. Before passing away in 2019, ‘Baby Boy’ was his last attempt at tackling themes of black identity, trauma, poverty, and a lack of a father figure found repeatedly in his other films. Offering an intimate look at the intricacies of a cultural backdrop predominantly termed as “the hood,” set in the city in California, ‘Baby Boy’ was filmed in its hallmark roots to ensure the audience felt connected to its reality.

Baby Boy Filming Locations

Filming for ‘Baby Boy’ exclusively took place in the city of Los Angeles in California. Adhering as closely as possible to its narration, John Singleton and his production crew narrowed in on specific sites to provide the necessary elements for a story that primarily involved black neighborhoods. He needed those locations to feel intimate and lived-in and provide an important background for Jody’s formation as a character within those neighborhood walls. Principal photography for the film started in November 2000 and was wrapped by the second week of February 2001.

Los Angeles, California

‘Baby Boy’ found its life in South Central Los Angeles, a neighborhood lying south of downtown Los Angeles in Southern California. While the City of the Angels often serves as a backdrop for many films, the production team concentrated their efforts on the culture pervading the inner part of the city. For John Singleton and main lead Tyrese Gibson, it was almost like a homecoming to be back in neighborhoods they were already very familiar with. Over the course of several sequences within the film, we are introduced to many identifiable locations within the city. Baldwin Hills Crenshaw, a well-known shopping plaza at 3650 West Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard stood in as a filming site for a few scenes.

John Singleton actually found the genesis of the movie while watching young men check out teenage girls within the place, dredging up an image of Jody as one of those young lions free from any responsibility. The scene outside the Liquor Bank where Jody and his friend, Sweetpea, have a conversation in the parking lot is a brief moment within the film. It was filmed in the store on 3600 West Stocker Street right on the corner of Crenshaw and Stocker. However, the place no longer exists as it was demolished after its license was revoked. The store was renowned in its community but complaints had been filed against it for its bad influence around the locality. In 2017, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously had its license taken away, and since then, residents have raised a dissenting voice to urge for its demise.

Another sequence features the Crenshaw Car Wash, where Jody externalizes his fear of being kicked out of his mother’s home. The car service shop is located at 4220 Crenshaw Boulevard and only makes a short appearance in the film. The team also taped a few shots at Lucy’s Drive-In. Established in 1969, the store is located at 1373 South La Brea Avenue. It has a self-professed adherence to tradition and family-based principles when serving its food. The fast-food joint, which offers burgers, burritos, and a lot more, found itself hostage to a small altercation between the film’s characters, Jody and his girlfriend, Yvette, who suspects him of cheating on her.

‘Baby Boy’ was also filmed in the green open spaces of Kenneth Hahn Park. The recreational area is tucked in the Baldwin Mountain Hills of Los Angeles. It is located at 4100 South La Cienega Boulevard and houses a 308-acre area fitted with playgrounds, basketball courts, a garden, a fishing lake, and much more. A number of hiking trails also grace the large nature habitat. The locals often commute to engage in athletic or leisure activities in one or the other attractions available.

The central heartbeat of the story lies in the suburbs inhabited by Jody and his loved ones. A large chunk of the story explores the themes of home and an interconnected neighborhood — “the hood” — and is brought to life in the warm, intimate locales of Leimert Park. It’s a residential area featuring Spanish Colonial Revival-style suburbs and tree-lined streets. Singleton has a recurring relationship with Leimert Park, as it is a filming location in his 1993 film ‘Poetic Justice.’ It’s where he held an office while working at Leimert Park Village, a cultural hub of African-American art. Several scenes, including the ones showing Sweetpea’s home, were shot in the park, specifically on 4509 11th Avenue.

Read more: Baby Boy: Is the 2001 Movie Based on a True Story?