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Where Was 2020's The Invisible Man Filmed?
It's all an illusion!
A few years before the turn of the 20th century, famed author H. G. Wells dipped his pen in an inkwell and set about putting to paper a story about invisibility gone wrong. The story, appropriately title The Invisible Man, is one of the most enduring tales of the last several centuries. It follows a chemist named Griffin who concocts a chemical potion capable of rendering the user invisible to the naked eye. Having succeeded in vanishing from sight, Griffin engages in increasingly criminal activity until his actions cost him his life. It’s a story both about the exciting but horrifying potential of science, and about who we really are when nobody is watching.
Wells’ story has been adapted to film several times, beginning with the classic Universal Pictures film from 1933. In 2020, the story got the revival treatment in a new feature length science fiction horror movie from writer and director Leigh Whannell, streaming now on Peacock!
ADAPTING THE INVISIBLE MAN FOR A MODERN AUDIENCE
This time, the story is told not from the perspective of the titular invisible man, but through the eyes of Cecilia Kass, in an incredible performance from Elizabeth Moss. The revival also swaps out chemistry in favor of a cutting edge optical suit. We follow Cecilia as she tries to navigate a toxic and abusive relationship with successful optical engineer and inventor, Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen). With few options at her disposal, Cecilia drugs Adrian with diazepam (commonly called Valium) and escapes his high-tech house. Two weeks later, Adrian is dead of an apparent suicide, and Cecilia is finally free. Or so she thinks. Faking one’s death is a whole lot easier when you can keep completely out of sight.
Development on the reboot began as early as 2006 with David Goyer (Blade trilogy, The Dark Knight trilogy) attached to write the screenplay. Before production commenced, Goyer was replaced first by Ed Solomon (Bill & Ted, Men in Black) and then by Leigh Whannell (Insidious: Chapter 3, Upgrade). Principle photography ran from July to September 2019, with a theatrical release February 27, 2020.
WHERE WAS THE INVISIBLE MAN FILMED?
The story plays out in San Francisco, California, a familiar backdrop for tech bros up to no good, but it was actually shot on an entirely different continent. What passes for the sunny environs of California are actually a conglomeration of locations in and around Sydney, Australia.
Exteriors were filmed at a number of places around the country, including familiar weekend stomping grounds like Martin Place Shopping Mall, a pedestrian shopping district in Sydney’s Central Business District (CBD), Potts Point, and the Barangaroo suburb of Sydney.
Most movies rely on sets and sound stages, and The Invisible Man was no exception. Instead of heading to Hollywood, the filmmakers set up shop at Disney Studios Australia (formerly Fox Studios Australia), a vast movie and television production lot in Sydney. The studios sit on 32 acres of land, 15 minutes outside of Sydney CBD. The facilities offer eight sound stages, offices, workshops, and more. To date, a number of well-known movies have been filmed there, including Pacific Rim: Uprising, The Wolverine, and of course, The Invisible Man.
The Invisible Man’s most iconic set piece is Griffin’s angular oceanfront house. It wasn’t constructed using movie magic but is, in fact, a very real house. More accurately, it is two houses, both in New South Wales, Australia.
Exteriors were filmed at the Headlong House, located in Gerringong, Australia. The $5 million dollar house is located two hours south of Sydney, on 150 acres of farmland near the water. On the property, you’ll find four bedrooms, four bathrooms, and plenty of room to roam inside and outside. You can even rent it for $2,750 per night. As far as we can tell, there aren’t any secret high-tech laboratories hidden in the basement.
Interiors were shot at Pebble Cove Farm, located on the New South Wales South Coast, in Kiama, Australia. The house was designed by Australian architect Philip Thalis, as a private residence on 38.12 hectares (94 acres) of oceanfront property. Work began in 2001, but by 2009 the house was half finished and work had been abandoned. It went on the market in its unfinished state and sold for $7.3 million, before being finished.
The house at Pebble Cove Farm bears a certain superficial resemblance to the Headland House, allowing filmmakers to combine the two properties into one seamless residence for the world’s most brilliant and wicked optical engineer.
Catch The Invisible Man (if you can see him) streaming right now on Peacock!