Wanted | 2008
This energetically bonkers comic strip is set largely in Chicago, though interiors were filmed at studios in the Czech Republic. It requires less suspension, more total cancellation, of disbelief as Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman release the inner superman of nerdy James McAvoy and teach him to bend the laws of physics.
The office block, in which drone Wesley Gibson (McAvoy) festers away in a dead-end job, is the Inland Steel Building, 30 West Monroe Street at Dearborn Street in the Chicago Loop, the city’s central business and entertainment district.
Just around the corner on Dearborn is the office of Mr X (David O’Hara), who may – or may not – be Wesley’s father. It’s Citadel, 131 South Dearborn Street. Dearborn was the site of the Twist and Shout parade in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and as Mr X arrives at the building, you can glimpse the huge orange Flamingo sculpture Sloane (Mia Sara) and Cameron (Alan Ruck) walk past in the slacker classic.
Mr X’s improbable leap from his office to a nearby rooftop is even more unlikely than it seems. The extravagantly ornate green-and-gold skyscraper from which hitmen take potshots at Mr X and his staff is about five blocks to the north of the Dearborn office. It’s the Carbide and Carbon Building, 230 North Michigan Avenue at Water Street.
Gleaming after a major renovation (that’s real 24-carat gold leaf highlighting the green terra cotta), the tower was built in 1929 at the height of Prohibition, cheekily to resemble the top of a champagne bottle. It now houses the Hard Rock Hotel.
Even more amazing is the route of the sniper’s bullet that takes out Mr X, which starts out a good four miles to the north. The window is the rear of a house on North Sheffield Avenue, overlooking the alleyway under the ‘el’ track just southeast of the junction of North Clark and West Roscoe Streets.
Just opposite the sniper’s window is Wesley’s scuzzy flat. If you turn around, you might recognise the location as the spot where the the speakeasy is blown up near the beginning of Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables.
Walk north on Clark Street, and on the right you’ll find the ATM cashpoint that harasses Wesley with abusive messages, alongside the shop at 3461 North Clark Street.
Recruited by the shadowy Fox (Jolie), Wesley finds himself embroiled in a wild car chase which begins beneath the city on the subterranean roadway of Lower Wacker Drive, a popular spot for those out-of-control chases, used also in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.
The chase roars along below the railtracks of West Lake Street.
Wesley first arrives at the 13th century Hrad Pernstejn (Pernstejn Castle), perched above the village of Nedvedice, way to the southeast of Prague toward Brno, South Moravia. You can see Pernstejn (albeit enhanced almost unrecognisably with extensive CGI) in Stephen Sommers's Van Helsing, and its interior as the Count’s castle in Werner Herzog’s 1979 Nosferatu, Phantom der Nacht, with Klaus Kinski.
Much of his meeting with Pekwarsky is filmed at Krivoklát Castle, about 40 miles west of Prague. Built in the 12th century, and substantially restored in the 18th, the castle is open to the public and there are guided tours. It also appears in Terry Gilliam's 2005 The Brothers Grimm, with Matt Damon and Heath Ledger.