The Roland Emmerich directorial, ‘White House Down,’ is a political action thriller movie that follows a divorced Capitol Police offer named John Cale whose dream of working as a member of the Secret Service to protect President James Sawyer gets shattered. In an attempt to not let her young daughter down, Cale decides to take her on a tour of the White House. During their visit, there is a dangerous turn of events when a heavily armed paramilitary group infiltrates the premise of the White House and seizes control.
Now, amidst all the chaos and terror, Cale must step up and save not only his daughter but also the President and the country. Featuring compelling onscreen performances from the likes of Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Joey King, Jason Clarke, and Richard Jenkins, the 2013 action film unfolds in Washington DC, specifically inside the White House, as Cale and President Sawyer evade the attacks from the armed infiltrators in various areas of the president’s workplace. So, it is natural for one to wonder if ‘White House Down’ was actually shot inside the White House or not. Well, let’s find that out, shall we?
White House Down Filming Locations
‘White House Down’ was filmed in Quebec and Washington DC, especially in Montreal. According to reports, principal photography for the Channing Tatum starrer commenced in August 2012 and wrapped up after around 82 days of shooting, in December of the same year. Now, without further ado, let us take a look at all the specific locations that double for the White House and surrounding areas in the action thriller movie!
A majority of ‘White House Down’ was lensed in and around the city of Montreal, which was deemed as the ideal filming site by the production team due to its financial incentives, suitable locations, and availability of sound stages and crews. In particular, most of the shooting took place on different sets constructed in Mel’s Cité du Cinéma at 1777 Carrie Derick Street in Montreal. In total, about 45 sets were constructed over the course of the production process by 32 set designers and a large number of laborers.
The filming unit referenced every photograph they could find of the interiors of the actual White House and tried to locate the places that made the materials, be it the wallpaper, the windows, or even the color of the paint. Just in the name of adding authenticity, they attempted to match everything they could to the real White House. Moreover, for areas that are classified in real life, they let their imagination take over and did their best to fill in the blanks.
With a surface area of 30,000 square feet, the film studio is home to 20 studios, a number of production offices, a warehouse, dressing rooms, and workshop spaces, providing the filmmakers with state-of-the-art technical facilities. All these amenities make Mel’s Cité du Cinéma one of the most sought-after filming sites in Quebec as well as in the world.
Furthermore, the cast and crew members of ‘White House Down’ were spotted by many locals and passersby taping several pivotal sequences in and around Maisonneuve Park at 4601 Sherbrooke Street East in Montreal. They constructed the President’s basketball court as well as other parts of the gardens of the real-life White House. Also, the car chases scenes on the grass were recorded in the park. The production team made the most of the blue screen techniques in order to create the appropriate world around each set as and when necessary. The city of Laval, which is also the largest suburb of Montreal, seemingly served as one of the prominent production locations for the movie.
Since the entirety of ‘White House Down’ is based in Washington DC, it is only understandable that some of the scenes for the film were lensed on location in the capital city of the country. To be specific, the filming unit taped a couple of second-unit shots, including the exteriors of the actual White House and the surrounding areas, and one scene in a park in Washington DC.
Read More: Movies Like White House Down