Helmed by the maestro that is Paul Thomas Anderson, ‘The Master’ is a psychological drama of immense intrigue. While the film incorporates much of Anderson’s early obsession with chaos, existentialism, spiritualism, the binary between civility and savagery, and the belief systems that drive the society of humans but deviate from them to portray an unlikely love story between a war veteran and a leader of a cult. The film follows the life of Freddie Quell, an apathetic and cynical war veteran struggling to find meaning in life, who becomes an ardent disciple of a charismatic religious leader Lancaster Dodd to reinstate his faith.
But often driven by instincts, Freddie finds himself isolated from the rest, and when the master falls short of guidance, he must find his calling from within. With brilliant performances from Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, and Rami Malek, and backed by a brooding soundtrack and meditative, stimulating cinematography that is often the hallmark of the directorial auteur, critical admiration for the film has only increased through the years. If you are looking to find the filming locations of ‘The Master,’ consider us your ally.
The Master Filming Locations
‘The Master’ was entirely filmed in locations around the US, predominantly in California, but also including Hawaii and Nevada. Principal photography on the film commenced on June 2, 2011, and filming continued till September 4 of the same year. Now, let us take you to the specific filming locations visited by the production team.
The filming of ‘The Master’ initially began in Vallejo and Sacramento, both regions in Northern California. Some significant early scenes were filmed on Mare Island of Vallejo. The island proved to be the setting for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the film, including various locations such as the harbor, the park, and several other houses. The director chose to film a major portion of the movie in the Naval Yard of the island, in an empty admiral’s abode, and a rundown hospital wing.
The scene where Freddie Quell looks for a gig in the Hiring Hall is actually Building 69 of the Naval Shipyard of Mare Island. Dodd and his family stay at Helen’s house in their visit to Philadelphia, but the scene was actually filmed in the Admiral’s Mansion, located at 800 Walnut Avenue in Vallejo, California. Additionally, some sequences were filmed in the Californian city of Sacramento, approximately 53 miles from Vallejo.
Towards the end of the film, Dodd lives in England, and Freddie goes to visit him. The England scenes were mostly filmed in Berkeley of California. The film reaches its moment of epiphany in Lancaster’s school office. The school shown in the film is actually Hillside Elementary School, located at 1581 Le Roy Avenue in Berkeley, California. The room behind the giant windows proved to be the site of Dodd’s school office.
The house of Doris Solstad in the film is seemingly situated in Lynn, Massachusetts. However, the house depicted in the movie is actually located at 619 Winslow Street in Crockett, California.
San Francisco, California
After fleeing the California farm, Freddie finds himself in San Francisco. In the film, San Francisco serves to be the location for both Boston and San Francisco.
The production crew also visited Oakland, which served to be the location for New York in the film. The interior scenes of Freddie’s shop were filmed in H. C. Capwell Building which is situated at Broadway & 20th Street in Oakland, California.
The shipboard scene where Freddie joins the party was filmed at the iconic USS Potomac. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s lavish presidential yacht, also known as the “floating white house,” has been transformed into a museum open to the public.
Other Locations in California
Some ship scenes were also filmed in the USS Hornet Museum in Alameda, California. Located at 707 West Hornet Avenue, the museum ship showcases significant relics of the American Navy. The home of Hollywood, Los Angeles, also served as a filming location for the film.
In a scene, Dodd is seen to be mounting a motorbike on hilly terrain. The location of the scene is Primm in Nevada, a coveted spot for off-road racing.
Along with a few initial scenes, the penultimate beach scene of the film where Freddie curls up next to a sand sculpture was carried out in the lush tropical region of O’ahu, Hawaii.