Director Brad Anderson and producer Monica Levinson teamed up in dark-skinned political thriller ‘Beirut.’ Characteristic of Anderson’s auteur, the 2018 movie takes us to the ruins of far-flung Beirut for an exposition of the sporadic violence that has robbed the city of much of its glory. Most of the story takes place in and around Beirut, following Mason Skiles in his return journey under drastically changed conditions.
Now, racing against time, Mason has to deliver a wanted terrorist to save his friend and face his past in the process. Set in 1982 during the multifaceted civil war in Lebanon, the battered city lends the movie its name, but you may feel like knowing whether the filming took place in Phoenix city. If you are looking for answers, let us take you to the places!
Beirut Filming Locations
‘Beirut’ was primarily filmed in and around Morocco, especially Tangier. Apart from that, a few scenes were filmed in Rhode Island in the US. Although the movie contains many small pieces and oscillates from one place to another, the filming was wrapped up within 33 days in June 2016.
Björn Charpentier, who handled the cinematography for the Netflix movie ‘Fractured,’ reprises the duty in this project. He used anamorphic lenses from the 70s and 80s to dilute the darkness with a soft contrast. The lenses also helped the movie to achieve an authentic period feel. He also steered clear of using false moonlight, thanks to which the film assumes a gritty noir character. Arad Sawat handled the production designing chore beautifully to bring out the essence of 1980s Beirut. Let us now take you to the specific locations where the movie was filmed!
Most of the filming of ‘Beirut’ took place in Morocco’s iconic port city Tangier, overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar. Tangier proved to be a viable alternative for Beirut due to an unfortunate episode in the city’s recent history. As per reports, Tangier saw a real estate boom in the early years of the 21st century, and the money pouring into the industry was primarily dirty money. The government stopped these illegal constructions and razed the buildings to the ground for fear of squatters. This ordeal amounts to the skyline Mason Skiles sees through his hotel window in the movie.
The location lessened the use of CGI to a minimum. However, there were other problems the cast and crew faced during their stay in Tangier. The movie attempts to uncover the ugly face of terrorist violence. Ironically, the endeavor was almost in jeopardy, thanks to local extremists. At a stone’s throw, the local police reportedly discovered an ISIS cell. Thankfully, the local authority contained the situation. Moreover, they were filming in the month of Ramadan, which amounted to additional challenges. The local crew members had to adhere to the holiday customs and could neither eat nor drink water before sundown.
Belgian cinematographer Charpentier conducted detailed research to bring his vision closer to Anderson’s gritty and hard-hitting aesthetic. He studied Sir Roger Deakins’ hand-held camera technique in the thriller ‘Sicario.’ Moreover, keeping in mind the patriarchal orthodoxy of the city’s current state, producer Monica Levinson had to be extra careful. The regime mandates that women cannot go out into the streets by themselves. And some shady people even followed the producer one night when she was out. However, the camera kept rolling, and they could finish the filming within such a short duration.
Rhode Island, New England
The movie’s protagonist Mason Skiles is originally from Boston. After the horrendous incident at the beginning, he moves back to the US, taking up work as a labor arbitrator in New England. The filming of the scenes took place in Rhode Island, a state on the east coast of the US, in New England, just beside New York. The state is famous for its sandy coastal stretches and picturesque towns dating back to the Colonial era.
Read More: Is Beirut Based on A True Story?