Based on the eponymous 2005 best-selling memoir by Jeannette Walls, ‘The Glass Castle’ is a 2017 biographical drama movie co-written and directed by Destin Daniel Cretton that dramatizes Walls’ earlier life she lived with her family in poverty. The narrative follows four siblings and their poor yet free-spirited parents — the mother is an eccentric artist while the father is an alcoholic — both of whom manage to instill hope in the children in their ways. At times the father is sober, and his charismatic self lets the children’s imagination run wild and teaches them physics, geology, and, most importantly, how to live fearlessly.
However, the father becomes an entirely different human, filled with dishonesty and destructiveness, when under the influence of alcohol. On the other hand, their mother never wanted a domestic life as she didn’t want the burden of raising a family on her shoulders. Given the nomadic nature of Jeannette’s early life and the stability of her present life, the story switches between different timelines and places, allowing the viewers to gain perspective of the protagonist’s life. At the same time, it is likely to make the audience wonder where ‘The Glass Castle’ was filmed. If you are one such curious soul, we have got you covered!
The Glass Castle Filming Locations
‘The Glass Castle’ was filmed in West Virginia, Quebec, and New Mexico, primarily in McDowell County, Montreal, To’Hajiilee, and Laguna Pueblo. According to reports, principal photography for the Naomi Watts starrer commenced in June 2016 and wrapped up in August of the same year. So, let’s follow Jeannette and her family’s transformative journey and get a detailed account of all the specific locations where they grew as humans in the drama movie!
McDowell County, West Virginia
To lens some of the important sequences for ‘The Glass Castle,’ the production team set up camp in McDowell County, particularly in and around its county seat — Welch. Specifically, the Vic Nystrom Stadium in Mount View High School at 950 Mount View High School Road in Welch was transformed into the maroon and white colors of the Welch High School. From the looks of it, the filming unit also traveled to different sites across the county to shoot key portions against suitable backdrops.
In August 2017, Jeannette Walls sat down to talk with Roger Ebert and revealed they visited Welch and shot a few scenes there. She said, “…Destin wanted to go there to see it and get the feel of it. And he is walking down the street, and he sees a sign that says Welch Daily News. And that is where I laid out the high-school newspaper. He just knocks on the door and walks in. Suddenly, he makes friends with the editor, and they show him around. And there is this 50-year-old or however old printing press down there. And it’s going “chunka, chunka, chunka.” He said, “Can I shoot a scene here?.”
Brie filming "The Glass Castle" yesterday in Welch, WV. (via @AndyLoThoughts) pic.twitter.com/jTy3pDL3E0
— Brie Larson News (@BrieNews) May 21, 2016
Walls added, “He made friends with the mayor and got the local high-school football team to re-create a game. The cheerleaders, too. But the school’s colors were no longer maroon and white. They borrowed uniforms, and the cheerleaders actually made their own for that. Destin said he wanted to shoot that scene in Welch because, in the background, there were these incredible mountains. They were majestic, but they pin you in.”
Most of ‘The Glass Castle’ was taped in and around Montreal, in the province of Quebec. The production team found an apartment being stripped for renovation and used it to double for a place in New York. They found another site that looked exactly what they were looking for in the southeast of Montreal and on top of a hill. While they utilized the exteriors of a house against the backdrop of Welch, they constructed the interior onstage in Montreal.
Additional portions of ‘The Glass Castle’ were recorded in several locations across New Mexico. For instance, To’Hajiilee, a non-contiguous section of the Navajo Nation, features in quite a few sequences of the movie. Furthermore, for shooting purposes, the production team set up camp in the Laguna Pueblo, which is a federally recognized tribe of Native American Pueblo people in the west-central region of New Mexico.
Read More: Is The Glass Castle Based on a True Story?