Italian director Gabriele Muccino infuses a celebratory spirit into life’s struggles in the 2006 biographical drama movie ‘The Pursuit of Happyness.’ Chris Gardner (Will Smith) is a salesperson with little to no direction who thinks that investing in portable bone-density scanners would lead him to success and wealth, whereas the doctors are wary of buying these machines. Meanwhile, after solving a Rubik’s Cube in record time, he lands an unpaid internship with Dean Witter Reynolds. However, seeing his financial problems, his wife leaves him, giving him custody of their son.
While Chris grapples with his circumstances and raising his son alone, the time slowly looks better ahead. Almost all of ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ unveils in San Francisco, a city notorious for its high real estate and living expenses. Thus, Chris’ struggle looks all the bleaker when contrasted with the high-brow city’s landscape. Now, if you are wondering where the inspiring movie was filmed, let us now deliver you to those places.
The Pursuit of Happyness Filming Locations
‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ was filmed in various locations around California, especially in and around San Francisco, Oakland, and Almeda County. Principal photography commenced on September 12, 2005, getting wrapped up sometime afterward. Phedon Papamichael, the cinematographer of ‘Nebraska’ and ‘Walk the Line,’ came on board as the director of photography. At the same time, J. Michael Riva, the production designer of ‘The Color Purple‘ and ‘Django Unchained,’ joined the team too. Let us now take you to the specific locations where the movie was lensed.
San Francisco, California
Most parts of the movie were shot on location in San Francisco, where the narrative unfolds. The city, situated in the northern region of California, is the fourth most populous city in the state. Due to the movie’s nature, the cast and crew had to lens sequences in primarily outdoor locations. However, the interior scenes of the office were possibly recorded inside a studio on Treasure Island, an artificial island in the San Francisco Bay. The island’s World’s Fair Ground is a historical landmark for the state.
In one sequence, Chris takes Christopher Jr. to a park because they have no roof over their heads; it was recorded at the Children’s Playground, a part of the Golden Gate Park 45th Avenue Playground in San Francisco. The park, shadowy with cypress trees, features ocean-themed play structures for children. In another scene, a benevolent client takes Gardner and his son to a San Francisco 49ers game. It was taped in Candlestick Park, a former stadium located at 602 Jamestown Avenue and the original home of the San Francisco 49ers.
Christopher Jr.’s daycare is also in the city, and the scenes were filmed at a residence located at 20 Ross Alley in the iconic Chinatown neighborhood. The district has been featured in several films and has been the setting of Roman Polanski‘s eponymous film. In yet another scene, Chris chases the stealer through the subway, and later, he is forced to take Christopher to the same transit station.
The crew lensed the sequence at the Glen Park Subway station, located in the Glen Park neighborhood adjacent to San Jose Avenue and Interstate 280. Although, the station entrance was specially built for filming purposes.
Furthermore, Chris and Linda’s home in the movie is located at 1161 York Street, at 24th Street in the Mission District neighborhood. Other iconic San Francisco spots in different scenes include the Pacific Exchange building at 301 Pine Street, GLIDE Memorial Church at 330 Ellis Street, and the iconic Broadway and Taylor Street, which features in the final scene. Pivotal shots were captured around 555 California Street, near Duboce Park, and in North Beach Pizza, at 1462 Grant Avenue.
Some scenes were taped in Oakland, a city on the east side of San Francisco Bay. The city showcases a curious blend of art and architecture, with Victorian houses and art deco theatres. Specifically, the unit got hold of the Grand Lake Theater, a historic movie palace located at 3200 Grand Avenue in the Grand Lake neighborhood of Oakland.
The architecture of the building derives from influences as varied as Egyptian Revival and Art Deco. Filming also went underway at the Guarantee Building And Loan Association building at 1759 Broadway.
Alameda County, California
Some more filming took place in Alameda, a city in Alameda County, in the East Bay region of the Bay Area. Lastly, some sequences were shot in San Leandro, another city in the same county. The movies ‘The Matrix Resurrections,’ ‘Grease,’ and ‘Moneyball‘ were also filmed in Alameda.
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