Directed by Ben Stiller, ‘Zoolander’ is a comedy movie about a ludicrous male model Derek Zoolander who thinks he has taken over the fashion industry. However, his arch-nemesis, Hansel, enters the picture and puts Derek in a fix. Hoping to redeem his image, he agrees to work under fashion designer Jacobim Mugatu who then sets him up for a dangerous mission.
Despite receiving mixed reviews from critics, the 2001 movie became popular among audiences. It is a hilarious portrayal of the fashion industry with stunning visuals and a spectacular performance by Ben Stiller in the lead role. So if you want to know where it was filmed, we have you covered!
Zoolander Filming Locations
‘Zoolander’ was filmed in different locations over the country. The production commenced on September 14, 2000, and ended in January 2001. The film adapts parts of a pair of short films directed by Russell Bates for the VH1 Fashion Awards television specials in 1996 and 1997, with Drake Sather and Stiller serving as the writers. So let us find out more about its filming details!
New York City, New York
The filming of the comedy-drama movie primarily took place in New York City. The film opens in a fancy setup within Manhattan, featuring awards shows, nightclubs, and exquisite lofts. The production designer picked a few locations that seemed extremely counter-intuitive. A few important clips capturing the “Derelicte” fashion show were shot in a massive powerplant in Long Island City, across the East River from midtown Manhattan. Although it was deserted and grungy, it accommodated the theme of the film after small adjustments, such as the addition of columns.
The shooting was scheduled in a way that allowed the production team to attend and capture several scenes at the VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards at Madison Square Garden. A few sequences were shot there; the cameras panned across celebrities as they arrived on the red carpet. The production team also moved inside and waited until the commercial breaks to film the scenes where Derek loses Model of the Year.
Interestingly, interior designer Robin Standefer’s career flourished following her work on the production of ‘Zoolander,’ wherein she designed one of her weirdest works to date — the Soil Room in Hansel’s loft. Its floor is entirely made of earth, and the ceiling is strewn with thousands of glass beads. The Meatpacking District, Greene Street, Times Square, Spring Street, and the Sports Museum of America in Manhattan are also some of the locations where the crew rolled their cameras.
The corner of North Moore Street and West Broadway served as the site where the gas explosion happens in the film. Furthermore, the cast and crew also moved to the city of Yonkers in Westchester County to film a few scenes for the movie. Also known as the City of Gracious Living, Yonkers is located along the Hudson River, approximately 30 miles from New York City.
Los Angeles, California
The production team also moved to the sprawling city of Los Angeles, where the cast and crew toiled away for ten days. The entrance of the VH1 Fashion Awards, where Derek Zoolander loses an award, takes place at the entrance to the Westin Bonaventure Hotel located at 404 South Figueroa Street. However, the movie does not include the circular towers, which are usually seen in productions that were shot here. A few movies where they are visible are ‘In The Line of Fire’ and ‘Nick of Time.’ The beautiful Culver City in Los Angeles County also doubled up as a shooting site for the film.
Ogdensburg, New Jersey
A few scenes of the movie were filmed in Ogdensburg, a borough in Sussex County. In the movie, Derek returns to fictional southern New Jersey, the place he is originally from, where his family works at the coal mine. The Sterling Hill Mining Museum, located at 30 Plant Street in northern New Jersey, serves as the coal mine where Derek reunites with his father. It was the last underground mine in New Jersey until its termination in 1986. A few years later, it was redecorated into a museum that boasts a brilliant exhibit of fluorescent minerals.
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