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Saturday May 18th 2024

Looper | 2012

Set in a futuristic ‘Kansas City’, the locations for Looper can be found around New Orleans, fast becoming a major centre for film-making.

I’ll assume you know the film and you don’t need me to explain the convolutions of the time-travelling plot, so let’s get straight to the locations, starting with the diner, where ‘looper’ Joe Simmons (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) relaxes after hits. This was built for the movie northwest of the crossroads where Hwy 1010 crosses Oakley Street, about five miles south of Napoleonville, toward Thibodaux. I believe it’s now gone.

Much of the rest of the film is shot around the Central Business District of New Orleans itself. Joe and Seth (Paul Dano) arrive in the run-down ‘Kansas City’ city of 2044 along a stretch of O’Keefe Avenue, between Julia Street and Poydras Street. The CGI is kept to a minimum (mainly the distant backgrounds) as director Rian Johnson grounds the sci-fi elements in a tangibly grubby reality.

O’Keefe Avenue is seeing quite a bit of action these days – having hosted climactic scenes from both Green Lantern and 21 Jump Street.

A few blocks north, 219 South Rampart Street, at Gravier Street became ‘La Belle Aurore’, the sleazy club out of which Abe (Jeff Daniels) operates.

And just to the east, you’ll find the apartment of younger Joe, where he’s rescued by the older Joe (Bruce Willis) after a shootout, on the west side of Picayune Place, at Natchez Street. This street was briefly seen as ‘Chinatown’ in Joel Coen’s quirkily brilliant 1990 gangster drama Miller’s Crossing.

There’s some filming in China. Joe is preparing to retire to France and learning the language, until his older incarnation advises him to move to China instead. In fact, France remained his destination in the original script, but a little funding from Chinese backers saw the location changed, and Joe is seen strolling along the Bund, the famous west bank waterfront of the Huangpu River, running through Shanghai.

You can see the Bund (slightly less developed than it is today) in Steven Spielberg’s Empire Of The Sun.