Where Was Música Filmed? Is it Based on a True Story?

‘Música’ introduces us to the world of Rudy, an artist and aspiring creator with synesthesia, a condition that turns everyday sounds into a rhythm in his mind. Synesthesia can be the bane of his existence by causing anxiety and distraction upon hearing rhythmic sounds, but it is simultaneously the greatest weapon in his artistic pursuits. The narrative follows Rudy as he struggles with his relationships and an uncertain future while finding expression through music.

Led and directed by Rudy Mancuso for Amazon Prime Video, the offbeat musical film possesses a vibrant flair with its contrasting backdrops, quirky comedy, and energetic performances. The story revolves around the Brazilian-American artist, his diverse neighborhood, and his romance with an attractive restaurant worker, Isabella. Given the specific nature of the film’s subject and its picturesque settings, one may question whether the movie is based on a true story and where filming for it took place.

Música is Based on Rudy Mancuso’s Life Story

Rudy Mancuso is the director, co-writer, lead actor, and composer of ‘Música,’ which serves as the culmination of his own life story. Rudy is a viral content creator who first rose to fame through his skits on the now-defunct video-sharing app, Vine. He went on to create music and comedic videos and began appearing in films. In his own words from an Instagram post, ‘Música’ is “quite literally the culmination of everything I’ve done in my entire life.” Rudy also attests that 95% of the film is true to his life, while the rest is dramatized for entertainment value.

Having synesthesia, Rudy Mancuso makes associations between any sort of rhythmic sounds he hears, feeling compelled to find a tune and melody in them. Whether it is a construction worker’s constant hammering, someone’s footsteps, or the busy clangs of a kitchen, his mind immediately tries to identify a rhythm in the noise and interpret it as part of a musical flow. “I’ve always thought creatively and through music,” he explained in an interview. “Music was at the forefront of almost everything that I did. I was playing piano before I could walk.”

Of the over 70 different identified variations of synesthesia, Rudy’s tests lead him to believe that he has chromesthesia, an unspecified variation that causes obsessive rhythmic association. While the condition has been the cause of anxiety and attention deficit behavior, Rudy sees it as a gift for his artistic explorations. Since synesthesia has been central to his experiences in life, ‘Música’ is also an exploration of Rudy’s unique point of view, which makes for a sensorily rich cinematic experience.

Most of the sequences in the film are based on anecdotes from Rudy’s life and include characters who have been pivotal to his growth. Maria Mancuso, Rudy’s mother, appears in his videos from his early days on Vine and is featured in the film as herself. The puppet Diego, which features in the film, is an iconic character from his popular YouTube channel, Awkward Puppets.

Even the romance presented in the film gains authenticity as Rudy Mancuso and actress Camila Mendes, who essays Isabella, found love and entered a public relationship with each other while working on the movie. Furthermore, the narrative presents a lifelike recollection of Rudy’s early days as a creator by being filmed in locations linked to his past.

Música Filming Locations

‘Música’ was largely filmed across sites in New Jersey and some locations in England. Principal photography began on June 20, 2022, and was wrapped up by July 28, 2022. Shooting was mostly carried out on location at the real-life sites where Rudy Mancuso grew up and made many of his childhood memories.

Newark, New Jersey

Rudy Mancuso’s hometown, the populous New Jersey city of Newark, became a primary filming location that housed much of the movie’s production. “We weren’t just shooting on location, but in the actual places where the story takes place.” said Rudy in an interview. “Like my mother’s home, that’s the house I grew up in, and we got to shoot there. Newark, New Jersey, as a backdrop, the Ironbound, the city streets, the fish market, the restaurant, all real places that I spent a great deal of my childhood frequenting.”

Other Locations in New Jersey

‘Música’ was shot in other cities proximate to Newark, including Clifton, Morristown, and Hoboken. Located on the western bank of the Hudson River, Hoboken is known for its picturesque waterfront, which offers breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline. Situated in Passaic County, Clifton is a multicultural city with a thriving downtown area and verdant parks. These locales were likely visited by Rudy Mancuso as he grew up. In 2022, he revisited them at the helm of a film crew and recreated those times.

Bradford, England

A part of West Yorkshire, the multicultural city of Bradford can be seen in some scenes of ‘Música.’ The city is popular for filmmakers owing to its Industrial Revolution-era architecture, including the iconic Victorian mills and warehouses, which can transport us back to the early 19th century. Furthermore, its stunning natural surroundings make for an idyllic backdrop to set a story around.

Harrogate, England

Parts of the North Yorkshire town of Harrogate can also be spotted in the movie. Known for being a tranquil holiday retreat with lush gardens, elegant architecture, and relaxing spas, Harrogate is often visited for the healing properties in its spring waters. With its Victorian architecture and traditional neighborhoods, the town can also serve as a scenic filming location.

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