In Time: Filming Locations - part 7



In Time - Filming Locations
Part 7

Actual filming locations for the 2011 sci-fi film, "In Time".

1:37:30: The movie then moves into its final stretch, and the final confrontation between the Timekeeper
and the young couple. The action shifts to a barren no-man's-land between Dayton & Livingston.

This location, I must admit, had me stumped for a while.

At first glance, I assumed it had to be somewhere out in the desert.  There's no where inside L.A.
where you have a clear view of open land all the way to the mountains, as seen in the screencap above.

But then, I noticed (in another shot) that they had faked the cityscape in the background, mixing in
those familiar steel loops of the 6th Street bridge with other buildings that didn't belong near it:

It was then that I realized that the horizon was CGI-inserted, and couldn't be trusted.
The mountains were fake.  The buildings were fake.  The entire horizon was computer-created.

And without a real reference point of some kind, I realized I probably wouldn't be able to identify it.

It was then that I did something that I rarely do:
I contacted someone who worked on the movie and asked them where the scene was shot.

I was in for a surprise.  (And if you're not intimately familiar with the history of L.A., you will be too.)

It turns out that there is a "ghost town" of sorts, right here in L.A.: an empty residential neighborhood
where the houses have vanished, but the paved streets, streetlights, curbs, sidewalks and
telephone poles remain (albeit they are slowly being reclaimed by the grass & weeds
that push their way up through the concrete).

The residential neighborhood was named Surfridge. It was developed in the 1920's,
on the city's west side, on the coast between Marina del Rey and El Segundo.
It contained almost 800 homes, overlooking the ocean.

Surfridge lasted until the 1960's, when its homes were abruptly razed to the ground.

Here is a video that will give you a glimpse of the eerie neighborhood:

Why was it destroyed?

Because the nearby Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), which had been a small airport
back when the neighborhood was born, just kept expanding. And when it entered the jet age,
the constant roar of the jets taking off & landing made living in Surfridge intolerable.

  The government bought up all the land (via eminent domain), ejected those who didn't want
to leave voluntarily, and tore down all of the houses.  But the curbed streets remain.

Since Surfridge was built on what used to be sand dunes near the beach, the area is
commonly referred to as the "LAX Dunes".  It's in what is now the Playa del Rey area,
west of the airport, and east of Vista del Mar (street), next to Dockweiler State Beach.

It is surrounded by high chain-link fences topped with barbed wire, and no trespassing allowed.

(The extra security was added after 9/11, because the authorities worried that the area would be
a good spot for some terrorist armed with a portable missle launcher to shoot down a jet.)

[ Warning: Do NOT trespass on this property, or there's a very good chance that you will be arrested. ]

The final confrontation scenes of "In Time" were filmed on the empty streets of that Surfridge ghost town,
(or LAX dunes) just east of the 8000-9000 blocks of Vista Del Mar, near Playa del Rey.


Once I knew that, I began pinpointing the exact spots within that area where each scene was shot.

That wasn't easy, either, but today's aerial photos of the area are so accurate, that I was able
to spot details such as telephone poles, patches in the blacktop, even manhole covers
that helped me identify the exact places where the actors were standing in the scene:

But in order to give names to those locations, I needed an old map, since the names of the streets are
no longer noted on modern maps. You can still see the roads in the aerial photos, but no street names:

I found one. Here is an old map of the same
Surfridge neighborhood, showing the old names of the
streets used in this scene (Trask Avenue, Epinard Street, Deauville Street & Avalonia Street):

(To compare the two, note the remaining circle at Grand Pre Blvd.)

So, on to the key questions about the precise filming locations within Surfridge:

1. Where does the Timekeeper park his car?

(In the scene, he arrives in his car, is halted by a road block at Time Zone Border 12,
gets out of the car, and pursues
Will & Sylvia on foot - running, his gun drawn.)

Answer: The Timekeeper's car is parked at the intersection of (what used to be called)
Trask Avenue and Epinard Street.

[ Approximate GPS location: 33.940586, -118.436319 ]

He comes in driving north on Trask Ave, and stops when he reaches the
border roadblock, which is just a few yards north of Epinard Way.

(On today's maps, that's just west of where World Way West loops over Pershing Drive.)

In the screencap above (at 1:37:51), the camera is looking south, up Trask Avenue.
(The concrete barricades and sign are props, of course)


2. Where is that unusual tower seen behind Will & Sylvia as they run?

(In the screencap below (at 1:37:34), we can glimpse a horizontal scaffolding of sorts, in the background.)

Answer: It appears to be some kind of radar or communications tower associated with air traffic
at the nearby Los Angeles International Airport - and some small, related outbuildings. It's located
about 200 feet east of the intersection of (the former) Trask Avenue & Avalonia Street.

[ Approximate GPS location: 33.943752, -118.437169 ]


In the screencap above, Will & Sylvia are running south on Trask Avenue,
while the camera is looking east (towards LAX).

[ Approximate GPS location: 33.943609, -118.437821 ]

2. Where are Will & Sylvia running in this shot?

Answer: This was shot with the duo running east/southeast up (the former) Avalonia Street,
just west of Trask Avenue.  (The camera is looking west/northwest in the screenshot above.)

Ignore the long chain of mountains on the horizon. They were added via CGI.
If you actually looked west from this position, you would see the Pacific Ocean on the horizon.


[ Approximate GPS location: 33.943644, -118.438219 ]

2. Where are Will, Sylvia & the Timekeeper standing during the final confrontation?

Answer: In this shot, they are standing at the intersection of Trask Avenue & Avalonia Street.

(That's just 200 feet west of the scaffolding/tower we saw before.)

The couple had been running east down Avalonia, and the Timekeeper had been running
north up Trask Avenue, so they meet here, at the intersection of those streets.

[ Approximate GPS location: 33.943592,-118.43793 ]

In the screencap above (at 1:38:05 ), the Timekeeper is pointing his gun northwest,
towards Avalonia.  Will & Sylvia face south/southeast, towards Trask.


(In the top right corner, you can see the part of Trask where the Timekeeper parked his car.)

Those small buildings you see in the background, to the left of the Timekeeper's head,
are the Pacific Corporate Towers, about three miles to the southeast
(near Sepulveda & El Segundo Blvd) in downtown El Segundo, CA.

In the screencap below (at 1:38:13), the camera is looking west/northwest up Avalonia Street.

How did I pinpoint the exact spot?

Take a look down at their feet: See that manhole cover, just to the left of Sylvia's feet?
And that patch of broken pavement in front of Will's?
And the way the pavement changes shades of gray to form a semi-circle around the manhole?
And that leaning telephone pole just to the left of the manhole cover?
And that diagonal strip of pavement in front of them?

Well, here they all are - courtesy of Google's aerial map photos.

And here's a matching screencap (at 1:39:16) showing it all together from above:

The camera is facing west/northwest, up Avalonia Street, from Trask Ave.

3. Where are Will & Sylvia running when they race back to the Timekeeper's car?

Answer: Fortunately, their route follows the logic of the previous scenes.

They race south down Trask Avenue (the same street the Timekeeper ran north up),
 starting at the corner of Avalonia Street, until they reach the Timekeeper's car,
which is still parked
where he left it, at Trask Avenue & Epinard Street.

In the screencap above (1:40:00), the camera is looking north up Trask Ave, as they run south.
(Ignore the cityscape in the background -- it's fake.)


In the screencap below (1:40:13), the camera is looking south down Trask Ave, at the Timekeeper's car.

4. So, when Will races back to Sylvia (after reaching the car), where do they meet?

AnswerAs Will runs back north up Trask Avenue, and Sylvia runs south to him on the same road,
they meet at the (former) intersection of Trask Avenue & Deauville Street
- just one street north of the spot where the Timekeeper parked his car.

In the screencap above (1:40:36), the camera is looking south down Trask Avenue.

(This was an easy one to figure out, since the pavement on Trask changes color dramatically, from
almost black to a light gray, right before it reaches Deauville - as you can see in the photo above.)


In the screencap below (1:40:39), the camera is looking west down Deauville Street, from Trask Ave.

[ Approximate GPS location: 33.941238,-118.436584 ]

(Ignore those fake mountains - there should really be an ocean on the horizon.)

1:42:48: As the movie comes to an end, we see Will & Sylvia climbing up the steps
to an even bigger bank, a massive, white building with
marble columns.

This is actually Los Angeles City Hall, at 200 N. Spring Street, in downtown L.A.

To be more precise, we are looking at the west side of City Hall, facing Spring Street, which is actually
the employee's entrance.  The main public entrance to City Hall is on the east side, facing Main Street.

In these screencaps, the camera is looking east, from Spring Street.


But when the camera pulls back, you may notice something is wrong with City Hall.

They computer-manipulated the image, creating three sets of arching
colonnades (where there is only one, in real life).

They also replaced City Hall's well-known center tower by multiplying the windows
above the arches to create a solid wall of small windows -  making the building
appear much wider and much more fortress-like than it really is.

They also removed the palm trees that frame both sides of the building,
and made the front stairs stretch all the way across the screen.


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