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4 Famous Filming Locations in the Boston Area

Posted by Alex Pearlman  October 17, 2011 05:49 PM

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kevinbaconripdboston.jpgBy Angela Stefano

Tourists and Bostonians wandering around Government Center and the Financial District over the weekend stopped dead in their tracks to gawk at a horrible-looking car crash at the corner of Congress and State Streets. But upon further inspection, things seemed off: Although the scene had been roped off with caution tape and was guarded by a police officer, there was no debris, no sirens, and no harried emergency workers -- but there were movie cameras.

R.I.P.D., a supernatural crime thriller based on a comic about undead police officers by Peter Lenkov and starring Kevin Bacon, Jeff Bridges, and Ryan Reynolds, continued its weekends of filming in the area. And while a movie set is bound to attract curious onlookers, Boston is no stranger to Hollywood. After all, in, the city’s home to the bar “where everybody knows your name,” a couple of fictional law firms, and plenty of thieves.

If you’re looking to bring a little bit of movie magic to your life, here’s where you can find four other famous spots.

thedepartedgovernmentservicescenter.jpgMassachusetts State Police Headquarters (from The Departed, at the Government Service Center). The critically acclaimed Martin Scorsese film about undercover policemen and Irish mafia members from Southie features so many Boston spots that there’s a website devoted to tracking them all. But any local should instantly recognize the crazy spiral stairs and concrete exterior of this building on Staniford/Cambridge/New Chardon/Merrimack Street (depending on where you’re standing). In the real world, it’s actually the Charles F. Hurley Building and the Erich Lindemann Mental Health Center.

willandgraceapartmentemersoncollege.jpgWill Truman’s Apartment (from Will & Grace, at Emerson College’s Iwasaki Library). This hilarious sitcom about the friendship between (straight) interior designer Grace Adler and (gay) lawyer Will Turner was part of the heyday of NBC’s “Must See T.V.” Thursday night lineup. When the show began its run, many Millennials were in bed by the time it came on T.V., but it’s still good for plenty of laughs during reruns. The show’s co-creator, Emerson Class of 1987 alum Max Mutchnick, donated the set after filming ended.

bucollegeofartsandsciences.jpgMIT Campus Buildings (from 21, at Boston University). Based on Bringing Down the House, the best-selling (semi-fictional) book by Ben Mezrich about the card-counting MIT Blackjack Team, 21 is one of many movies to feature Boston-area colleges. Rather than filming at the source, however, many BU locations stood in for MIT, including the College of Arts and Sciences, FitRec, and Towers dormitory.

realworldboston.jpgThe Real World: Boston House (from The Real World: Boston, at 127 Mt. Vernon St., Beacon Hill). The sixth season of MTV’s reality T.V. hit aired in 1997, which apparently was long enough ago for the network to think that assigning the cast members to work at an after-school daycare program (yes, with children) was a good idea. The site has been the location of a firehouse since 1847, was owned by the Boston Fire Department until 1995, and is now home to the non-profit Hill House.

Where are some other famous filming locations around Boston?

Lead photo by Courtney Sacco: Kevin Bacon shoots a scene from R.I.P.D. in Boston's Financial District. Other photos by The Times Union, ay.jay.O (Flickr), wallyg (Flickr), and current events (Flickr)

About Angela -- It's "Ang," if you please -- or, alternately, Bill, Penny Lane, or (begrudgingly) Angus to some. I've been with TNGG since the site started and am now the TNGG Boston editor for I graduated from Boston University's College of Communication in 2009 and am a huge fan of live music, hockey, and Thai food. I'm also a bit of a klutz, but that's only because my mind and body are always going in approximately a zillion separate directions. Twitter: @amstefano988

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