According to the Virginia Film Office, Virginia is for Film Lovers. Over the years, lots of movies have been shot (at least partially) in Northern Virginia–most recently last year’s Wonder Woman 1984. Whether you have a penchant for superheroes, CIA operatives, reporters or robots, here are five films that put NOVA in the spotlight–and how to watch them.
Scenes in the 2020 sequel to the 2017 blockbuster hit starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristin Wiig and Pedro Pascal were filmed in Alexandria at the Landmark Mall, whose interior atrium was transformed into a bustling 1980s shopping mall complete with neon accents, a video arcade, retro fashion and familiar storefronts. After the shoot the production crew donated set pieces, stuffed animals and other items to local spots including INOVA Children’s Hospital. Through Feb. 28, 2021, fans can see a 7-foot drum with the state’s slogan “Virginia Is for Lovers” used in the movie on display in Old Town.
Stream on: Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Redbox, Google Play
The 2014 drama and true story stars Steve Carrell as multimillionaire John du Pont, who backs wrestling champions (and brothers) Mark Schultz and Dave Schultz, played by Channing Tatum and Mark Schultz. The film, which depicts a relationship that turns deranged and then murderous, was filmed primarily in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area where much of the story takes place. However, since du Pont’s mansion Liseter Hall had been demolished the year prior to Foxcatcher’s release, Morven Park, a 1,000-acre estate and horse park in Leesburg that dates back to 1780 and has a similar facade, was used as a stand-in for exterior shots.
Stream on: Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play
Ben Affleck directed and starred in this 2012 three-time Academy Award-winning film, loosely based on CIA agent Tony Mendez’s operation to rescue American hostages in 1979 Iran under the guise of Canadian filmmakers arriving to scout a location for their next film. Affleck’s character, an exfiltration specialist, lives in Northern Virginia, and keen viewers will notice lots of footage of the area including Langley CIA Headquarters, Dulles Airport and McClean Cleaners on Chain Bridge Road.
Stream on: Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, YouTube, iTunes and Google Play
Director Michael Bay’s sequel to the 2007 sci-fi film is all about the war between Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBoeuf), the Autobots, led by Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) and the Decepticons, led by Megatron (Hugo Weaving.) Scenes were filmed in Luxor, Egypt and Petra, Jordan, at air bases in New Mexico and Arizona and also in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and California. The final scene, in which Witwicky and his girlfriend Mikaela Banes, played by Megan Fox, battle the Transformers, took place in the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center location of the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, whose wide open space was perfect to capture the battle between man (and woman) vs. machine.
Stream on: Hulu, Sling, fubuTV, YouTube, Google Play, Vudu
The 1987 romantic comedy covering America’s insatiable fascination with the new-at-the-time 24-hour news cycle was deemed so culturally significant it was selected in 2018 for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. The film covers the relationship between an emotionally-fraught TV news producer (Holly Hunter), reporter Albert Brooks and his rival William Hurt; Jack Nicholson also appears as an evening news anchor. The movie’s opening scene takes place in Clifton, and other scenes show the characters walking down the streets of Old Town Alexandria.
Stream on: Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Google Play, Vudu
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