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Actual Southern California locations
where 1994's "Speed"
Hunting for Hopper, Keanu descends
into the nearby subway station (no, not the Subway sandwich shop!)
He finds him, but discovers that Sandra has been taken hostage and is strapped
scenes were filmed in the actual Metro
Red Line subway station across from Pershing Square.
Although it's called the Pershing
Square Station, the subway station isn't really located
beneath Pershing Square, as you might expect. Instead, it's across the
street, to the southeast.
Ironically, the real subway
entrance (with escalators leading down
to the underground station)
is located right across 5th street from the Subway sandwich
store and the "barber shop" location,
at the south corner of W. 5th Street &
S. Hill Street.
After a standoff, Hopper drags
Sandra away and forces her into a departing subway train,
where he handcuffs her to a pole. Keanu chases after them, racing through
neon-decorated Pershing Square station, down to the boarding platform,
manages to get on board the train just before it leaves the station.
We see the subway train speeding
through the tunnels. You would think that these
shots would have been faked on a studio set. But most of these subway
tunnel scenes were shot aboard the actual Metro Red
Line subway trains as they moved beneath
the street of Los Angeles.. Granted, they often used the same short stretch
over & over, but most of the time, that subway tunnel you see
What follows is a battle to
he death between Keanu & Hopper, atop the speeding subway train.
But even after winning that battle, Keanu still isn't out of hot water.
Sandra is still handcuffed
to the pole inside the train car, and there's no way for him to free her.
So he stays by her
side to the end, as the train rockets towards the dead-end of the unfinished
Bear in mind that the Metro
Red Line wasn't extended to Hollywood until 1999, and "Speed"
was filmed in 1994. Yet even the the subway station under construction
was shot at an actual Metro Red Line station that was being built at the
The only subway scenes that
were faked in the studio were the scenes with Keanu
(and Hopper) on the roof of the speeding train, and the last final seconds
before the crash.
finale, set in Hollywood, has the most movie trickery involved,
but even this is a mixture of the real and the fake.
For instance, the scene below is looking
east on Hollywood Boulevard, from
a vantage point in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre.
But much of what you are seeing
in the background (east of Highland ) is a matte
since the producers could only shut down a small section of the Boulevard.
With the Hollywood Blvd subway
station still unfinished in the film (as well as in real life),
the wild plot has the runaway subway careen out of control through the
station and shoot up to the surface of Hollywood Blvd -- the subway train
crashing out onto the
Boulevard, winding up in the middle of hordes of the tourists, in front
of Grauman's Chinese.
To accomplish this, they first used model trains
for the very last moments, as we see the
train rocket through the final turns, break in two and then launch up a
ramp to the surface.
But once on the surface, there are no more models.
But that still doesn't mean
that what you see is what you get.
The "subway train" we see crashing up onto Hollywood Blvd was
actually a bus,
decked out to look like a subway train. The train/bus pops up from
and rolls west down the center of Hollywood
Boulevard, before it comes to a rest
(on its side) in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre,
gently nudging a Starline tour van.
This location is very real,
and that is indeed the actual Grauman's Chinese Theatrethat we see
in the photo above. You can also glimpse
the El Capitan
Theatre (on the other side of the
street) and the Hollywood
Roosevelt Hotelas the train/bus screeches down the Boulevard.
Of course, some things have changed on the Boulevard since the movie was
Keep in mind, for instance, that the familiar Hollywood & Highland
center - along
with the Kodak Theatre - wasn't built until 2001, six years after "Speed"
And in the photo above,
we see what was across the street from Grauman's at the time:
the Hamburger Hamlet restaurant. (As
of 2007, that space now houses a Hooters.)
The movie ends with Sandra
and Keanu surviving the crash, kissing on the floor of the
wrecked subway car, while Hollywood Boulevard tourists gawk and snap photos.
Locations marked by an asterisk (*) may
be located in high-crime areas.
Exercise reasonable caution.