Campuses a favorite locale for filming

Times Staff Writer

ONLY a few movies have actually been set on a California campus, but schools throughout the state have played roles in movies, television and commercials.

They appear as parks, laboratories, industrial centers and, occasionally, as colleges.

Parts of “The Graduate” are set at UC Berkeley, with Dustin Hoffman running through the campus in search of Katharine Ross -- although, in truth, some of those scenes were filmed at UCLA and USC.

Filming on campus has a long history. In 1927, Buster Keaton filmed parts of “College” at USC and other scenes at the forerunner of UCLA, a Vermont Avenue campus known as Southern Branch of the University of California. (That site is now Los Angeles City College.)

Scenes from “Being John Malkovich,” “City Slickers II” and “Forrest Gump,” are among USC’s credits, while UCLA has played a role in “National Lampoon’s Van Wilder,” “Old School” and “Erin Brockovich.”


UC Irvine has appeared in “Ocean’s Eleven,” “Poltergeist” and -- going back to the 1972, “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes.”

Some California colleges have set up film offices to handle the many requests. “I get about two to three film calls a week,” said Lyn Klodt, special programs coordinator at Pepperdine University. Pierce College gets about three film inquiries a week. Filming has become so common that students hardly notice it. “It’s not the excitement it used to be 20 or 30 years ago when people were standing and gawking,” said Larry Kraus, college enterprise manager at Pierce.

But many schools have firm rules about where and when crews can work. As Klodt put it: “We are not a back lot. We are a university. Students come first.”