The heart of the John Wick franchise (2014- ), The Continential is a mercurial hotel chain, catering to the world of hired killers that populate the series. Expanding and shifting with each film, New York City’s Continential is an intriguing example of tower-ing fiction.
A look at The Aerium, the mega-skyscraper that dominates the main plot of the first season of Altered Carbon (Netflix, 2018- ) and the visual style of the show, which borrows heavily from iconic science-fiction films.
Amazon’s recent series The Boys (2019), an adaptation of a comic-book series of the same name, features The Seven Tower (owned by Vought International), a digital creation built to blend in with the New York City skyline while also extending the show’s real-world filming location in Toronto.
The Glass Tower is the site of the titular inferno in The Towering Inferno (dir. John Guillerman, 1974) and serves as both the site of the film’s blockbuster narrative and as one of the foundational towers of cinema. Constructed as an elaborate nearly 100’ tall model, the Tower is integrated into the film itself, establishing disaster tropes and their visual representations.
The so-called “Monster Building,” a popular tourist attraction and recent filming location, is really five high-rise apartment buildings tightly packed together on the western side of Quarry Bay (鰂魚涌) in the Eastern District of Hong Kong, appearing in Western film and television as a metonymic singifier of the dense, chaotic East, while also providing a controlled visual space and shooting location.
Interestingly, LexCorp Tower and Wayne Financial are used to the retcon the logic of Man of Steel (dir. Zack Snyder, 2013) in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (dir. Zack Snyder, 2016), serving as the location for only a few scenes, but acting a bridge between the two films and providing a window into the narrative tension and the latter film’s ultimately the revisionist narrative.
The Pearl, the fictional skyscraper and world’s tallest building, is not just the setting of much of the action—and light drama—of the film Skyscraper (dir. Rawson Marshall Thurber, 2018). Importantly, it is a construction that directly relies on the film’s genre forebearers, a symbolic edifice, making architectural and visual the pastiche that is the film itself.
The second half of the heist thriller Entrapment (dir. Jon Amiel, 1999) uses what were at the time the tallest towers in the world, the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, to stage its climax, a mash-up of and Mission: Impossible (dir. Brian De Palma, 1996) and The Thomas Crown Affair (dir. John McTiernan, 1999).
With its distinct glass exterior and accessible plaza, 101 Park Avenue has been featured in a number of films and television series, as outlined on its filming page. This is likely aided by its proximity to Grand Central Terminal (just a block away) and the Criysler Building a couple of blocks north-east.
The headquarters of SHIELD in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Triskelion, is the center-piece of Captain America: Winter Soldier (dirs. Russo Brothers, 2014).
The CNS Building) serves as the the symbolic conunterpoint to MI6 and the 00 program in 2015′s James Bond film Spectre (dir. Sam Mendes).
The Beverly Heights aparement building saves the day in the other volcano-themed disaster film of 1997, Volcano (dir. Mick Jackson).
All Tower-ing Fiction posts are available here.