‘Magnolia’ is an epic psychological drama that follows a multitude of intersecting stories to present a picture that is greater than the sum of its parts. The film’s ensemble star cast, which includes Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, Michael Murphy, and William H. Macy, among many others, stitches together a story of relationships and the role coincidences play in them.
Set in an urban area where the subtleties of life that the film depicts are often lost in the loud chaos of city life, the locations are as much of a player in the expansive tale as the characters themselves. If you’re wondering where ‘Magnolia’ was brought to life, we’ve got all the information you’re looking for!
Magnolia Filming Locations
The film was envisioned to be a quintessential California film and is set as well as filmed in the Golden State, with a few scenes shot in the neighboring state of Nevada. Director Paul Thomas Anderson used long, uninterrupted shots that moved through multiple characters to draw viewers into the depth of the story and give the film an even greater sense of authenticity.
One of the longest takes in the film lasts over 2 minutes—a daunting task to film while taking the countless moving aspects like characters, background, lighting, etc., into account. Even the smallest detail not going according to the plan generally means the director will have to begin filming the scene from scratch again. Since Anderson is notable for his usage of long takes, there was no hurdle during the filming of the aforementioned scene. Principal photography began on January 12, 1999, and wrapped up on June 24, 1999. Let’s take a closer look at the specific filming locations of ‘Magnolia.’
Los Angeles County, California
The film was brought to life largely around the city of Los Angeles and its neighboring cities in Los Angeles County, California. The San Fernando Valley, which contains parts of the city of Los Angeles and is known for its distinct urban aesthetic that anyone who’s been there will recognize in the film, was chosen to design much of the film’s look. Therefore, the production spent considerable time filming in outdoor locations in the county.
The Foxfire Room, a dive bar located in The Valley (as the San Fernando Valley area is lovingly referred to), appears in one of the film’s early scenes and has since become quite famous for its cameo. The dimly lit dive bar is fittingly located on the film’s namesake street at 12516 West Magnolia Boulevard in the Valley Village neighborhood. Reseda Boulevard, in the Reseda neighborhood in The Valley, is also a filming site for the movie A scene featuring raining frogs was shot at 7222 Reseda Boulevard.
Another quintessential LA location used is The Bryson Apartment Hotel at 2701 Wilshire Boulevard in downtown Los Angeles. Outdoor scenes were also filmed in multiple locations around North Hollywood and other parts of the downtown area. Many of the streets from these areas can be seen in the movie. A portion of the filming was seemingly undertaken at a film studio in the Studio City neighborhood of the city, which also lies within The Valley.
For the purpose of filming, the production team also utilized the NBC Studios, located at 3000 West Alameda Avenue in the neighboring city of Burbank, which falls near the southeastern end of The Valley.
San Bernardino County, California
The production team also spent time filming on location in and around the sprawling San Bernardino National Forest in San Bernardino County in Southern California. Specifically, the Big Bear Lake and its surrounding Big Bear Valley, both located in the National Forest, were used to film several scenes. A portion of the taping also took place in the nearby unincorporated community of Angelus Oaks.
Washoe County, Nevada
Nevada, the neighboring state of California, was also briefly used for on-location filming. Reno, the Washoe County seat and a popular tourist destination near the California-Nevada border, hosted the film crew as they shot a few scenes. The Pyramid Lake, situated within the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation, is about 40 miles northeast of Reno and is also featured in the movie.
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