Directed by Asger Leth, ‘Man on a Ledge’ is an action-thriller film that revolves around an ex-cop, Nick Cassidy, who is convicted after being wrongly accused of stealing a Monarch diamond. He uses his father’s funeral to escape prison and hatch a plan to prove his innocence. Cassidy adopts a different identity, enters The Roosevelt Hotel, and threatens to jump from the 21st floor. However, this is merely to cause a distraction and take the public’s focus away from the plan secretly in execution to clear Nick’s name.
As the narrative unfolds, the tension builds, and the audience’s hearts start pounding faster. This is especially true for every scene in which Sam Worthington stands on the ledge. The camera work and backdrops add to the movie’s gritty tone, and we can’t help but ponder how and where the film was shot — was the film shot on location? Let’s find out!
Man on a Ledge Filming Locations
The action flick was shot in several locations across New York City, in New York State. Most scenes were directed to emphasize the dangers of standing at such a height. The filming commenced in October 2010 and lasted for several months likely concluding in early 2011. Let’s look at the specific locations.
Manhattan, New York
Since most of the scenes are set at The Roosevelt Hotel, the production team chose to film the movie at the historic hotel in Manhattan, New York. Located between Madison Avenue and Vanderbilt Avenue at 45 East 45th Street in Midtown Manhattan, the “Grand Dame of Madison Avenue” served as the shooting site for movies and shows such as ‘Pose,’ ‘1408,’ ‘Blue Bloods,’ and ‘Men in Black 3’. Inaugurated in 1924, the place was open for nearly a century until it closed it had to close its doors in 2020 after sales took an irrecoverable hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The story behind why the hotel was chosen is pretty fascinating. When director Asger Leth read the story, he knew he wanted the stakes to be as real as possible. Besides this, he also wanted to shoot in a location where Nick Cassidy’s character was surrounded by tall and majestic NYC buildings while ensuring he could see the faces of the people standing on the road. Thus, after looking for multiple places with a ledge, Asger Leth set his eyes on The Roosevelt Hotel and was convinced it was the perfect location.
While shooting, the technical crew met several challenges. One of the most significant ones was to figure out the logistics of a moving camera and other equipment. The rigs had to be dynamic to capture the essence of every frame — whether it showcases the height, the narrow girth of the ledge, or the fear in Nick’s eyes. To solve this, a room set was built on the hotel’s roof.
However, the challenges weren’t limited to the crew. Lead actor Sam Worthington found the process demanding because he has a fear of heights. While speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Sam said, “Your palms are sweaty, your legs are going, your eyes are going. It’s nerve-wracking. It’s not the height you’re scared of, it’s the fall, and what happens if you hit the deck.”
Apart from the hotel, Rockefeller Center Subway Station, 6th Avenue between 44th and 45th Streets as well as Lexington Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets also lent their aesthetics and vibe to the film’s narrative. The cast and crew also visited the prominent Old Town Bar and Restaurant to film a few scenes of the crime thriller film. Located at 45 East 18th Street in the Flatiron District between Park Avenue and Broadway, it is one of the oldest taverns in the Big Apple and has been serving the citizens since 1892.
Long Island, New York
The production team built a stunt set at the Gold Coast Studios, which is situated at 700 Hicksville Road, Bethpage, in Long Island. The production facility doubled as The Roosevelt Hotel for a few sequences that involved a higher degree of risk and thus couldn’t be shot at the actual hotel. The sound stage complex has also been utilized for popular film and TV projects. A few of the big productions taped at the studio are ‘Uncut Gems,’ ‘John Wick 3: Parabellum’, ‘Ocean’s Eight,’ and ‘The Many Saints of Newark.’
Queens, New York
The funeral scene in ‘Man on a Ledge’ is set against the backdrop of Lutheran All Faiths Cemetery. Originally named the Lutheran Cemetery, the 225-acre estate is located at 67-29 Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village in Queens, New York City. It adds a gloomy brightness that resonates with Nick Cassidy’s grief. Besides ‘Man on a Ledge,’ ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ and ‘Abigail’ were also shot at this location.