Minority Report | 2002
I'm a long-standing Steven Spielberg fan, so I had serious doubts after A.I. – Artificial Intelligence, his worst film since the ghastly Hook. But he redeemed himself with two beauts which couldn't be more different: the light-as-air, pastel-coloured, retro-style Catch Me If You Can and the bleak, monochrome, futuristic Minority Report.
It’s based, like Blade Runner, on a story by Philip K Dick and, like the Ridley Scott classic, part of the movie was shot on the Warner Bros backlot in Burbank. If you take the Warner Bros VIP Studio Tour, you'll see the street where Detective John Anderton (Tom Cruise) evades arrest with a flying backpack. A false facade was built along one side of the street set to narrow it into a cramped alleyway.
The futuristic department of ‘pre-crime’ is based in Washington DC, where there is some filming around the historic Georgetown district (setting for The Exorcist). The ‘Department of Pre-crime’ exterior is the Reagan Trade Center, 13th and Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
Anderton finds himself mysteriously accused of a 'pre-crime', visualised as taking place in a house facing a small park with a merry-go-round. In a sequence not unlike trying to track down a movie location, the house is pinpointed as 'Barnaby Woods'. The pre-crime scene is the 1700 block of C Street SE at 17th Street SE, in Hill East.
Anderton is obliged to go on the run, but is recognised by his new eyes as ‘Mr Yakamoto’ in the GAP store at 1258 Wisconsin Avenue near M Street, Georgetown.
The waterside home of Anderton’s estranged wife is on Ware Point Road, near Beulah, Gloucester, on Virginia’s east coast. After escaping via a car production line (a sequence dreamed up, but never filmed by, Alfred Hitchcock), Anderton drives the red Lexus through Beaverdam Park, 8687 Roaring Springs Road, Gloucester, on the way to see Iris Hineman (Lois Smith).
Most of the movie, however, was filmed in Los Angeles, and the home of the reluctant inventor of Pre-crime, where Anderton is attacked by poisonous plants, is Descanso Gardens, 1418 Descanso Drive in La Cañada-Flintridge. Seen also in Congo and The Jungle Book. it’s open every day except Christmas.
The scuzzy apartment block where Anderton hides from the spyders was the defunct El Dorado Hotel now beautifully spruced up to become the residential El Dorado Lofts Condominium, 416 South Spring Street, downtown Los Angeles.
The shopping mall, to which Anderton takes precog Agatha (Samantha Morton) is the Hawthorne Plaza Mall, Hawthorne Boulevard at 120th Street, Hawthorne, to the south of Los Angeles. The mall had been closed and shuttered for some time. The mall is seen also in Evolution, Ivan Reitman's 2001 attempt to repeat the Ghostbusters magic, with David Duchovny and Julianne Moore, as the 'Tokyo' garage where the kids hang out in The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift, and more recently in David Fincher's Gone Girl. In 2011, its lengthy rooftop parking area was transformed into a stretch of freeway for The Green Hornet.
The highrise, where the precogs predict Anderton will shoot Leo Crow, is Angelus Plaza, 255 South Hill Street, downtown Los Angeles. It’s a subsidised condominium of five highrises built for the elderly in 1980 in Bunker Hill, alongside the Second Street Tunnel (itself a frequent filming location seen in Con-Air, Independence Day, The Terminator and The X-Files). It’s the Noontide North building (the blocks have wonderfully kitschy names – Dawn, Evensong and Jubilate.
It’s back to Washington DC for the premature celebration, as Pre-crime goes national, in the Willard Room of the Willard Washington DC Hotel, 1401 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. The hotel is briefly glimpsed again in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
• Many thanks to Nils Reucker for help with this section.