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Thursday April 25th 2024

Zoolander | 2001

Zoolander film location: Greene Street, SoHo, New York
Zoolander film location: the apartment of Derek Zoolander and his model chums: Greene Street, SoHo, New York

Admittedly, the modelling business isn’t the toughest target for satire, but Zoolander bounces along with irresistibly inspired silliness.

It’s set, obviously, in New York but – in time-honoured fashion – the production was based in Los Angeles, where some of the locations were found.

Zoolander film location: Westin Bonaventure Hotel, South Figueroa Street, downtown Los Angeles
Zoolander film location: Zoolander is too quick to accept the award: Westin Bonaventure Hotel, South Figueroa Street, downtown Los Angeles

For instance, the ‘VH1 Fashion Awards’, where Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) is a bit too quick off the mark to collect the award, which has gone to rival Hansel (Owen Wilson), is the entrance to the Westin Bonaventure Hotel, 404 South Figueroa Street, downtown. The hotel is a movie regular, but this time there’s no glimpse of its landmark circular towers, which you can see in Wolfgang Petersen’s In The Line of Fire, with Clint Eastwood, and the John Badham real-time thriller Nick of Time, with Johnny Depp, James Cameron's True Lies and even as the ‘Atlanta’ record office in This Is Spinal Tap.

The apartment shared by Zoolander and his catwalk chums really is New York, though. It’s 80 Greene Street, at Spring Street in SoHo. The building returned to the screen again in 2005, as home to Eva Mendes in Will Smith comedy, Hitch.

Zoolander film location: West Broadway at Varrick Street, New York
Zoolander film location: Derek Zoolander’s chums enjoy a playful petrol fight: West Broadway at Varrick Street, New York

After picking up Orange Mocha Frapuccinos, Zoolander’s none-too-bright flatmates enjoy a petrol fight at the gas station, built on a vacant lot on the corner of West Broadway and Varrick Street. The plot had remained empty for years, but there now seem to be signs of building work. Conveniently for the ensuing conflagration, the site is directly opposite the firehouse from Ghostbusters. It’s also just a few yards along from another Hitch location, this time Will Smith’s apartment.

I hate to reveal that there is no ‘Saint Adonis Cemetery’, where the unfortunate ex-models are laid to rest, and Zoolander announces his retirement. It was built on Roosevelt Island, with views to the Manhattan skyline across the East River. You can visit the island via the the Roosevelt Island Tram running alongside the Queensboro Bridge from the terminus on Second Avenue, between East 59th and East 60th Streets.

Disillusioned, Zoolander returns to his family’s coalmining roots in “southern New Jersey”. The coalmine, where he valiantly attempts to toil underground alongside his dad (Jon Voight) and brother (Vince Vaughn), is Sterling Hill Mining Museum, 30 Plant Street, Ogdensburg – in northern New Jersey. A zinc mine since the 19th Century, it was the last working underground mine in New Jersey until closing down in 1986. Four years later Sterling Hill reopened as a museum where, apart from the trappings of the industry, you can see an astonishing display of fluorescent minerals.

The exterior of the ‘Mine Shaft’ bar was found in Culver City, Los Angeles

Zoolander film location: Broadway, New York
Zoolander film location: Mugatu’s inspired ‘Derelicte’ show: Broadway, New York

As the plan to assassinate the Prime Minister of Malaysia is put into action, Manhattan’s glitterati queue up for the tasteless ‘Derelicte’ show staged by ruthless designer Mugatu (Will Ferrell) at 26 Broadway, opposite the famous Charging Bull statue in the Financial District.