THE TOURIST MOVIE LOCATIONS: VENICE LANDMARKS
Every second director of the romantic and adventure movies has a dream to make the world a better place with its own story, shooted in Venice and inspired by Venice. A generation of cinema lovers has been gaining adventure inspiration thanks to ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ by Steven Spielberg. While the filming crew of a legendary archeologist has visited the eternal city for only one day, the ‘Tourist’ film unit spent two months in Venice. In March 2010, a few days after the opening Paris scenes had been shot with Angelina Jolie, the filming crew moved to the North of Italy. Within the next eight weeks, the citizens of Venice and thousands of tourists got a chance to see Jolie and Depp from a safe movie distance.
As the producer of the movie later revealed, it was the Police department of Venice, who had made all the works possible in a city that attracts millions of visitors annually. Regardless of the early spring, widely thought as a mid-season, the filmmakers tried every trick to do their best within the locations. A number of scenes were shot at night time as well as a substantive part of the movie intrigues us with luxurious interiors. Even a boat chase along the Venice canals was possible only under the careful supervision of the local police, to avoid waves, which could ‘harm’ the ancient architecture.
WHERE WAS THE ‘TOURIST’ FILMED
The geography of the interior and open-air scenes of the ‘Tourist’ movie came to be of all kinds diversified. The actual locations of the ‘movie spots’ would not make it able to schedule a direct one-piece route or convenient geographical transitions, as it was depicted in a movie. In this peculiar respect, even a simple turn of the head of Angelina Jolie or Johnny Depp can merge two different locations in Venice in a split of a second. The intended use of the buildings usually has less in common with its role in ‘Tourist’. Five of nine Tourist filming locations in Venice, which I would reveal in this article, can be discovered on GRAND-CANAL by means of the Vaporetto water taxi. A promenade, a few steps away from Pearce’s apartment, would reveal the back route with a panoramic view on the giant cruise liners in Venice harbor. It’s hard to imagine then you can miss your walking experience along the legendary San Marco square up to the Arsenale (the Interpol HQ in a movie).
ELISE AND FRANK ARRIVE IN VENICE – SANTA LUCIA STATION
Elise Clifton-Ward luxuriates in a cup of morning coffee, a glass of orange juice, a Parisian croissant with a sliced strawberry within a street cafe in Paris when she gets a letter from her beloved Alexander Pearce. He appeals to Elise to take a train, which leaves the Gare de Lion railway station of Paris at 8:22. After getting to the station, a woman turns the spotlight of her attention to the electronic schedule and we can notice a gentle smile on her face as a reaction to the upcoming destination. A train number №891007 is coming to Venice. The actual train from Paris to Venice in fact departures in the early morning with arrival at 6.40 p.m. In this cinematographic respect, an enjoyable conversation between Elise and Frank took apr. 11 hours along Eastern France, Switzerland, and Northern Italy.
At the very moment when the Interpol agents tenanted the Platform №6 of the SANTA LUCIA train station, they got a new order not to arrest a man with a look of Johnny Depp. A panoramic camera flight from the bird’s view takes the focus on the train among the picturesque landscapes. It does its way along the narrow transport neck of land, which connects Europe with a Venice island. While Frank disorientedly examines the city map, he notices Elise on a private boat next to the Santa Lucia pier. The historically magnificent geography of Venice indeed welcomes its visitors with one of the most exceptive railway stations in the whole world, which faces the Grand-Canal with its access to public and private water transport. The FERROVA pier is consisted of a few different platforms, heading the guest of the city in two directions by means of Vaporetto.
HOTEL DANIELE / PALAZZO PISANI MORETTA
The magic of the movie narration finds its rapid expression in the creation of the own unique reality, a cinematographic Venice with its like-nothing-on-earth topography of the city. Only a blink of an eye takes our couple to the Southern-East part of the city to be caught by the camera within a mirror-lake surface of the Grand-Canal. It’s not of a big secret why this unusual geographical inversion was decided to be used to express Venice city. The panorama of the San Marco square is to be an integral feature of any depiction of the eternal city and the movie opening in Venice could not be imagined without these shots. The next panoramic view specifies the route to the place, depicted as the Danieli Hotel on the Grand-Canal. A number of the upcoming night and day scenes would be later brought to the action here.
A magnificent Venice palace with a pier to welcome our two characters is decorated with the HOTEL DANIELI incrustation. It’s of actual accessibility to find the Danieli hotel in Venice, yet the authentic one is located within the main promenade within reach from San Marco square. The actual Palace, which served as the interior set for the ‘Tourist’ movie scenes, known as the PALAZZO PISANI MORETTA harkens back to the XV century. This gorgeous building in the style of Venetian gothic annually hosts one of the traditional Venetian balls at the time of the Carnaval. A few seconds after Elise and Frank find the way to the private pier, we found ourselves within a lounge area with a reception, has been created and decorated with a single purpose to become a movie film set.
A few moments later a change of the camera perspective, in fact, welcomes us within the actual Danieli Hotel. The hotel, which gave its name and a few shots of the lobby, had been previously a part of the ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ legendary movie. Getting on with the ‘Tourist’ movie, the luxurious hotel rooms were in fact located within the Palazzo Pisani Moretta. Along with that, Angelina Jolie would later recall that she was once amazed by the movie set, made in no small measure so ‘fairy-tale’ thanks to the fake marble and double-doors, added to the actual premise of the palace. The panoramic view outside the window of the Palazzo Moretta is in fact ‘grand’, yet a scene with Johnny Depp smoking on the balcony was shot other whereas. We need to consider the Rialto bridge to the right of Frank to suppose, that a scene was shooted from one of the palaces opposite the Palazzo Pisani Moretta.
RESTAURANT – COLLEZIONE PEGGY GUGGENHEIM
An exchange of niceties within a hotel room is followed by a dinner on the terrace over the Grand-Canal. Elise desires for risotto and champagne and a newly made couple express their thought on Janus, an ancient Romanian god, a selfless love and the words of appreciation from the servant. After a while, Frank would appreciate this restaurant. This movie location in Venice is an example of good taste, yet this fictional restaurant was made for the movie on a terrace in front of the art gallery. This modest art gallery was named after Peggy Guggenheim, a lady, and a fine art expert, who had managed to create a gorgeous museum which includes the works of Picasso among the other masterpieces. This stone terrace, as well as the art gallery itself, is a part of the Palazzo Venier Dei Leoni, a palace with three centuries of Venice history.
A ROOF CHASE – PALAZZO BARBARO / RIALTO MARKET
After all his dreams on Elise, Frank wakes up on a couch within the same luxury suite. A sudden breaking in of two armed men gives him no choice except to shelter himself in a bathroom, to call a manager for help and then to find his way outside the window. At this moment we, as the viewers, have a chance to satisfy the panorama over the Southern-East part of the Venice archipelago. From this perspective, a number of sites come into our view. The SALUTE pier, a place which has once welcome Indiana Jones and Marcus Broady. Santa-Maria-Della-Salute church and a stone terrace, a place of the previous gastronomic evening. Although it is understood that a hotel and a restaurant are on a short distance, in fact, we are already within another location in Venice. The camera now makes its view supposedly from the roof of the Palazzo Barbaro, a place where professor Jones has ‘embarked’ Kazim after the boat chase.
A few moments later a panorama is being shifter again and we can observe the RIALTO bridge, far from the previous location, yet close to the panorama of Depp smoking his electronic cigarette. Elise finally notices Frank on his run along the roofs as well as two armed evil-wishers. The Interpol agents also supervise the situation from their hide, yet get an order not to interfere with the upcoming crime against the American tourist and a mathematician. Another picturesque panorama with a running Depp near the Ponte dell’Accademia bridge and, a moment later, Rialto bridge again, shot within a very different perspective.
After finding his way from the roof, Frank comes to be on a balcony, in fact, covered a distance of a few hundred meters to find himself now near the Rialto bridge. The streetwalkers call attention to a potential suicider and a local policeman calls for help on the radio. The actual Rialto market was in fact chosen as a movie set for ‘Tourist’. The principal filming was scheduled on Monday, a traditional day off for this merchant place, yet the hundreds of Venetians and tourists had a chance to see Johnny Depp on his jump from the balcony to the safe airbag, without a stuntman. In the sick of a scene with a policeman in water, we could see a pier near the Rialto market, covered with water weeds.
A POLICE STATION – MARCIANA LIBRARY
A disturbing Venice roof chase is followed by a comedian interlude with an American mathematician from Wisconsin who has fallen into the hands of the Italian police in the very heart of the Rialto market. The upcoming dialogue with an inspector puts a smile on our faces, yet distances Frank from the understanding of the situation and a discharge. This short comedian scene still gives us an understanding of a set, chosen for the ‘Tourist’ movie in Venice. We could examine a view from the window to reveal San Marco square, the very heart of Venice. Putting more precisely, the panorama includes the Doge Palace with our characters to be located within the second floor of the BIBLIOTECA MARCIANA, opposite to it. In fact, the movie does not give much effort to hide the intended use of the building, as we could see the bookshelves within the premises of the supposed police station. Even the cell of Johnny Depp is turned out to be no more than a premise for storing books.
INTERPOL HQ – ARSENALE
After a splitting night boat chase along the Venetian canals, the liberation of Frank, Elise decides to ‘disembark’ Frank on a pier of the airport to keep him safe far from danger. We follow Jolie and her private boat on their way back to the archipelago by means of the Grand-Canal to preserve the fictional topography of Venice in a movie. In fact, there is a more short and acceptable route to get to the next location. ARSENALE VENEZIA today is rather a touristic point of interest than a guarded stronghold. And you would fail to see armed guards and one with id identification system near the gates of the Arsenale. The next few scenes depict Arsenale as the Headquarters of the Interpol in Venice.
JOHNNY DEPP IN A WHITE SUITE – SAN MARCO SQUARE
A school teacher Frank chooses to neglect Elise’s advice to leave Venice the same day with a bulk of money in his traveling bag. Only a few cinematic seconds integrate our main character into the famous San Marco square with a real cigarette in his mouth and a white suit as a new means of self-presentation. Frank or Alexander, that’s depends on our ‘Tourist’ rewatching experience, expresses much more confidence now, despite the fact that the evening jacket and a tie was bought for the money, that Elise had previously given. In fact, it was his money, only a small share of 700 million, to be given to Elise formerly.
Notwithstanding the fact that the Tourist movie was shot in mid-season in Venice (March), the local police had to set temporarily bounds on tourist flows in the very heart of the city. It’s not difficult to take into consideration the unusual behavior of people in the background to seize human peculiarity a few steps from one of the most recognized actors of our time. Depp’s character made his somewhat pretentious way between the Doge Palace and the Library, in other words virtually under the window of the police station, as it had been previously depicted to be stationed here.
COSTUME BALL – NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
The shots with a confident Johnny Depp, making his way along the main square, are followed by a night scene within the Grand-Canal and well-dressed men and women, who arrive in the private pier of some Venetian palace. Gorgeous Elise draws the attention of the head waiter and then of almost every guest of the ball, men and women, who directs their positive judgment on Angelina Jolie. The spacious hall of the palace welcomes the upper-class society of Venice and wealthy tourists from all over the world, aristocrats, and multi-millionaires. After a failed attempt to reveal the giver of the envelope, Elise faces Frank. Their measured dance culminates the whole Venetian atmosphere of the movie in a city, well-known for its gorgeous carnivals and balls. The couple is being hanged on by the agents of the Interpol, who toy with an idea that they can catch Alexander Pearce.
The seven-century history steps out of the shade of the luxurious palace, chosen as a Tourist movie location in Venice. FONTEGO DEI TURCHI, one among the most postcard-perfect building in Venice, was built back in the XIII century and has been used for centuries as a warehouse for the goods, imported from the East by wealthy merchant families. The Natural History Museum, one of the biggest and richest in Europe, occupies the building since 1923 and now presents a collection of almost 2 million exhibit items and a library with 40 000 documents.
The movie magic dips us into its own pre-created world with such confidence that only a few among the audience have noticed, that Fontego Dei Turchi was no more than an exterior, at a time when the ball was created and directed within some other location, known as Scuola Grande Della Misericordia. The building built in 1583, forms part of the ‘Scuole Grandi’ complex of the non-commercial organization. Already in the XX century, it used to accommodate basketball games and the full-fledged renovation has been finished five years after the ‘Tourist’ movie saw the light of the big screen.
It took intense ten weeks for the decorators and the set dressers only to draw the sketches and another four weeks and twenty professionals to maintain the work within the Scuola Grande Della Misericordia. The city officials were supervising the process of decoration of one of the Venice city landmarks. For example, the balcony which Paul Bettany uses to observe the events was created from scratch as well as the tribune to host the orchestra. The newly added elements of the interior were painted to look like the marble to feet the columns. Even the central dancing ground, which witnessed the dance of Elise and Frank, had been built with wood and painted.
ALEXANDER PEARCE APARTMENT
A few moments after Elise slits her second envelope (the first important one was left read in Paris) open, she finds an appeal to come to Fondamenta San Giacomo 23 this very evening. Regardless of the previous cat-and-mouse game, Jolie’s character reveals the actual destination to the agents to make them join the upcoming event. The minions of Reginald Shaw follow Elise too. Once again the ‘Tourist’ movie presents its own topographical reality of Venice locations. In fact, San Giacomo street does not have a building number 23, yet the Fondamenta San Giovanni has and this the very place, where Elise arrives, to be ‘embarked’ within Zitelle pier. We now find ourselves on one of the islands, beyond the main Venice archipelago. This city district is known as the GIUDECCA.
Elise part with the boat captain and finds her way to the door with number 23 on it then enter the building with a white front-side. A few moments later we could manage a special unit of the Interpol, which set their shooting spots on the other bank with a Santa Maria Della Salute on the background. The film crew was fascinated with VILLA EFFE and has chosen it as the final movie interior location in Venice. The luxurious interior was planned to culminate in the script. In fact, the villa is located 150 meters far from the door, which Jolie entered.
It once again took an enormous bulk of work, in fact, five weeks of sustained work to create an interior we all have seen in a movie. The ceiling was covered with a digital print of the fresco, the bookshelves were filled with historical manuscripts and the precise copies of the art objects have finalized the Italian atmosphere. The big fireplace and a piece of furniture were added to meet the requirements of the scene and its characters. In order to make an even more grand impression, the city sights, seen from the window, were additionally enlightened with spotlights for two weeks and the magic of the camera work enabled to make the opposite bank look bigger.
Wonderful article, Maks. This movie was absolutely breathtaking! You’re article explained it precisely with detailed revelations of the locations and sets.