Directed by Philippe Falardeau, ‘My Salinger Year’ is a drama film based on the eponymous memoir of Joanna Rakoff. Set in the mid-1990s, the movie follows Joanna (Margaret Qualley), an aspiring poet and writer who moves to New York City from Berkeley, California. Here, she finds employment at one of the oldest literary agencies in the city. Unbeknownst to her, the agency also represents J. D. Salinger (Tim Post), the famous and reclusive author of ‘The Catcher in the Rye’.
As Joanna wrestles with the old-fashioned notions held by her new boss Margaret (Sigourney Weaver), she must learn to find her voice while working in the shadow of a famous literary personality like Salinger. Despite taking place in New York City’s literary circles, the locations used to film this movie might surprise you.
My Salinger Year Filming Locations
‘My Salinger Year’ centers around an old literary agency in New York City. However, the entire movie was filmed in Montreal in Canada. Principal photography began in the city in May 2019. Despite being shot completely on location, the movie does a good job of portraying the coming-of-age journey of the budding writer in New York City. The ornate sets and costumes used to enhance the film’s feel also highlight the period of the film. To understand how such an authentic aesthetic was achieved, let’s take a look at the specific filming locations.
Despite seeming like an unlikely stand-in for New York, the filmmakers were able to make Montreal a believable backdrop for the movie. From its narrow streets full of rickety bookshops to the art deco office buildings that are synonymous with the downtown office buildings of New York in the 90s, the film was shot in multiple locations around the city. Though there is not much information available regarding specific filming locations, we can infer that many of the scenes were shot in downtown Montreal.
According to fellow cast members, lead actress Margaret Qualley enjoyed exploring the streets of Montreal so much that she would regularly go for walks in the city during breaks in shooting and would have to be tracked down by the crew for her scenes!
Director Philippe Falardeau is also from Quebec, the same province that Montreal is in, which might have played an essential role in choosing this city as the location for the shoot. Additionally, many Hollywood movies have been filmed in Montreal while being set somewhere else. Some of these include ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ (2004), which was shot almost entirely in Montreal, and even sci-fi behemoth ‘Battlefield Earth’ (2000) which chose Montreal and other locations in Quebec as the filming location.
As one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Montreal is considered to be the cradle of film production in Canada. It has served as a stand-in for New York earlier, in ‘The Terminal’ (2004), wherein Montréal-Mirabel International airport was used to depict New York’s JFK International airport. Often, as was the case with ‘Battlefield Earth’, filmmakers decide to shoot in Canada instead of the US for budgetary reasons.
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