5 movie sets that look real but are not

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: March 24, 2022 (Last updated: December 14, 2023)
beauty and the beast

There are some film settings that we all know don’t exist; for example, most fantasy or science fiction films take place in locations that exist only in our wildest imaginations. However, many movie settings take place in modern-day locations. So, you’d think that shooting a movie in, say, a modern-day city would be easier than shooting in another place.  That isn’t always the case. Because city officials must obtain permission and a large sum of money must be invested in setting up a scene, movie producers will frequently seek out other locations that are physically comparable or that can be made to appear similar.

Here are 5 fake movie sets that may have had you fooled:

1. Beauty and the Beast, 2017

Beauty and the Beast, a live-action adaptation of one of Disney’s greatest films, was released in 2017. In this rendition of the fairy tale, Emma Watson plays Belle.

Despite the fact that the film is set in France, it was shot in a British film facility named Shepperton Studios.

The adorable French village that inspired the Beauty and the Beast tale was considered for filming, but the production determined that it would be too expensive.

2. Full Metal Jacket, 1987

Full Metal Jacket, Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 war picture portraying the United States’ ill-fated conflict in Vietnam, was not shot in Southeast Asia whatsoever. The famed fighting sequences in the movie were actually filmed on London’s Isle of Dogs, when Kubrick and his team turned a derelict coal works plant Beckton Gas Works into a Vietnamese settlement.

The battalion of American marines is challenged with emptying the city of Viet Cong and snipers in one of cinema’s most tense scenes. To create a plausible Vietnamese metropolis, Kubrick had the entire gas plant site strategically destroyed and adorned with latticework and appropriate advertising boards.

3. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, 1966

Most of cinema’s classic spaghetti westerns were not filmed in the United States at all, despite the fact that they were set in the American Old West. In reality, the Tabernas desert in Almera, in southern Spain, has been the setting for a slew of cowboy masterpieces. Sergio Leone, whose features also include 1960s classics A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More, all starring Clint Eastwood, popularised this genre.

4. Lord of the Rings, 2001

The Lord of the Rings trilogy is a well-known fantasy trilogy built on one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s works. It’s a fantasy film set in a world known as Middle Earth, where humans and other mythological animals coexist.

Of course, “Middle Earth” does not exist. Sorry to break it to you.

It involves a combination of CGI and the natural untamed grandeur of New Zealand’s conservations and nature reserves to create the wonderful realm of Tolkien’s imaginations.

5. Titanic, 1997

Perhaps this one is stretching it a little as filming aboard the Titanic would have been impossible. However, James Cameron was able to capture the essence of the “unsinkable” Titanic to perfection.

The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in the roles of Jack and Rose, two young adults who experience a brief but strong love affair while travelling on the Titanic. The film was made at a studio in Mexico and on a Russian research vessel in Nova Scotia.

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