The Big Cigar: A Guide to All Filming Locations

Inspired by Joshuah Bearman’s 2012 eponymous Playboy article, Apple TV+’s ‘The Big Cigar’ is a biographical thriller drama series developed by Jim Hecht. Set in 1974, the story revolves around the life of a Black Panther leader, Huey P. Newton, who turns to a famous Hollywood producer named Bert Schneider when he is chased by the FBI for a murder charge. To avoid prosecution, the producer helps him flee to Cuba and start a new life.

Led by André Holland and Alessandro Nivola, the drama show also features talented actors in supporting roles, including Tiffany Boone, Marc Menchaca, P. J. Byrne, Jordane Christie, and Moses Ingram. The setting of the 1970s in the States and Cuba, where Huey escapes while the police are on his tail, raises questions regarding the filming locations and other aspects of the production process in the minds of the viewers.

Where is The Big Cigar Filmed?

To shoot ‘The Big Cigar,’ the production team travels to Ontario, California, and Colombia, specifically in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, Los Angeles, Cartagena, and Turbaco. Principal photography for the inaugural iteration of the show commenced in June 2022 and wrapped up after a hectic shooting schedule in September of the same year.

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, Ontario

For taping the first leg of the debut season of ‘The Big Cigar,’ the filming unit set up camp in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area (GTHA), an urban region consisting of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and the city of Hamilton. The cities of Toronto and Hamilton serve as the primary production locations for the biographical series. In Hamilton, locals reportedly spotted the cast and crew members in and around the Hamilton City Hall at 71 Main Street West, which stood in for the San Francisco International Airport.

A couple of churches in Hamilton — Saint Paul’s United Church at 42 Tragina Avenue North and Garside Bible Church at 47 Garside Avenue North — also feature in various important scenes. In season 1, there is a protest scene where the activists argue with the police and it was lensed on Melvin Avenue, right outside the Iron Horse Saloon. The filming unit also took over a couple of establishments, including the Trocadero Restaurant at 525 Barton Street East and The Cotton Factory, an art studio situated at 270 Sherman Avenue North. Furthermore, additional portions of ‘The Big Cigar’ are shot in the city of Brampton.

Los Angeles, California

A small portion of ‘The Big Cigar’ is also reportedly filmed in the City of Angels—Los Angeles. Situated in Southern California, the city is known as the home of the Hollywood industry, making it a pivotal filming site for many filmmakers. For instance, movies and TV shows like ‘Oppenheimer,’ ‘Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire,’ ‘Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood,’ ‘The Mentalist,’ and ‘The Sympathizer‘ are shot in and around Los Angeles.

Cartagena, Colombia

After wrapping up the Ontario and California leg of the production, the filming unit of ‘The Big Cigar’ traveled to Colombia to record various pivotal sequences. The city of Cartagena is another prominent production location where the cast and crew members stop by to shoot interior and exterior portions. Thus, you might be able to spot numerous landmarks and attractions in the backdrop of a few scenes, such as Teatro Adolfo Mejía, the Museo del Oro, and Colonial Plaza de los Coches.

Turbaco, Colombia

The production team also travels to the municipality of Turbaco in Colombia’s Bolívar Department to shoot additional portions for ‘The Big Cigar.’ Situated just a few kilometers southeast of Cartagena, Turbaco is popular for the “Fiesta de Toros,” which takes place in December annually to celebrate the new year.

Read More: The Big Cigar’s True Story, Explained