Directed by Denis Villeneuve, ‘Blade Runner 2049’ is a sequel to the sci-fi cult classic ‘Blade Runner.’ It picks up 30 years after the occurrences of the 1982 original movie and follows Ryan Gosling as K, a Nexus-9 replicant looking to retire rebellious replicants. He finds a secret buried within a ruinous city that threatens to upend the world order in chaos.
While a sequel, the movie reads like its own distinct space opera, guided by a score from Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch. Most of the story unfolds in a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles while we glimpse a future Las Vegas stripped off its glory, aided by solar power. If you seek to identify all the filming locations, let us trace the origins of the bleak landscape.
Blade Runner 2049 Filming Locations
‘Blade Runner 2049’ was filmed in Hungary, Spain, Mexico, Iceland, and the US, especially Budapest. Filming commenced in July 2016 and lasted till November. Looking at the movie, you may have an idea that finding the epic soundstage for the space opera was challenging. They embarked upon location scouting in April, beginning with London. But there was no soundstage in the city to aid the production. But thankfully, executive producer Ridley Scott had connections in Budapest.
Hungary’s government also gave them a hefty 25% tax credit. Roger Deakins handled the cinematography of the film, which is his third outing with Denis Villeneuve after ‘Sicario‘ and ‘Prisoners.’ Together with acclaimed production designer Dennis Gassner (whose work on ‘Bugsy’ earned him an Academy Award), the director and the DOP envisioned the palette and mood for the film.
To depict a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles, they were drawn to the early 1950s stripped-down brutalist architecture that emerged in the UK in the wake of the war. The structures such as the Barbican Estate and Trellick Tower are minimalist and painted in sharp contrast to the nostalgia around architecture in the 1940s.
The foothills in southern Spain, the winter fog in Beijing, and Bangladeshi ports also served as inspirations for the setting. For the crimson-tinted Las Vegas scenes, the production team was inspired by intense dust storms in Saudi Arabia, Sydney, and the Sahara. They also traveled to Slovakia to gather more architectural ideas. However, let us now transport you to the actual locations where the movie was filmed!
Most of the movie was filmed in and around Budapest, the capital of Hungary. Deakins knew that they had to film about two-thirds of the film on soundstages, and the search finally ended in Budapest. The team filmed several scenes inside the former Budapest Stock Exchange headquarters, former home to the Hungarian television station MTV since 1955.
The building doubled as Las Vegas casino interiors in the movie. Also familiar as the grand Beaux-Arts monumental building, the landmark architecture in Szabadság Square was designed by the stalwart Hungarian architect Ignác Alpar.
Filming also took place in the 10-acre wide backlot of Origo Studios. Situated in the city’s outskirts, the studio is one of the Hollywood standards production houses in the city. Moreover, the crew visited old Soviet-era buildings such as Inota and Kelenföld Power Plants to actualize the dystopian ambiance of the tale. Meanwhile, the filming schedule got derailed in accidents. An Origo Studios employed subcontractor was killed while one of the sets was being dismantled.
If you do not know, Etyek, a village around 26 kilometers west of Budapest city center, is a local production hotspot. Apart from the backlot, most of the interior sequences are in a global-scale production studio in the village. The presence of the Korda Studios, locally nicknamed Etyekwood, has given the wine-making village its position in the global movie production map. A privately owned studio in a former barracks site, the studio flaunts a sound stage of 5,975 square meters, which is the biggest of its kind. From ‘Midsommer‘ to ‘The Martian,’ several international blockbusters were filmed in the studio.
Creating the epic ambiance of ‘Blade Runner 2049’ was decidedly challenging, and the crew had to venture out on some occasions. They visited the autonomous community of Andalusia to capture several early segments. The field of solar panels that you see in the beginning shots was filmed near Seville, the capital of the Spanish autonomous community of Andalucía (Andalusia).
The PS10 and PS20 Solar Power Plants, the world’s first privately-owned solar power plants, lie in the municipality of Sanlúcar la Mayor, about 27 kilometers west of Seville city; it is where the sequence was possibly captured. The team also taped some aerial shots — especially the greenhouse sequence — in El Ejido, a municipality within the Almería province.
Other Filming Locations
Although most of ‘Blade Runner 2049’ was created within controlled studio environments, the aerial shots take the viewers to distant corners of the world. Some aerial images were taken near the coast of Iceland, while others feature the Mexican gulf and the US state of Nevada.
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