Westin Bonaventure Hotel hosts ‘Interstellar’ movie filming

The Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Suites, the 35-story landmark in downtown Los Angeles known for its revolving cocktail lounge, giant atrium and cylindrical glass towers, has long been a popular film location.

The movies “True Lies,” “In the Line of Fire” and “This Is Spinal Tap” and the TV series “CSI” are among the productions that have been filmed at the hotel, which displays bronze plaques of some of the movies filmed there over the years. The hotel’s website notes that it was even destroyed, on screen at least, in both “Escape From L.A.” and “Epicenter.”

Last week, the hotel along Figueroa Street added another production to its list of credits: the science-fiction movie “Interstellar” from director Chris Nolan, who co-wrote the script with his brother Jonathan.


ON LOCATION: Where the cameras roll

The big-budget production, which began filming in Alberta, Canada, this summer before moving to Iceland, recently shifted to Los Angeles, where it is scheduled to film for 54 days.

“Interstellar,” set for release in November 2014, stars Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway as a team of space travelers who pass through a wormhole.

Financed by Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures and Legendary Pictures, “Interstellar” is among the biggest features this year to film in L.A, which rarely attracts large studio movies because California’s film tax credit is not available to movies with budgets greater than $75 million.

Nolan’s 2010 movie, “Inception,” which was also filmed locally, had a budget of $160 million, while “The Dark Knight Rises,” which shot partially in L.A., cost more than $250 million to produce.

Representatives of Paramount and Warner Bros. declined to comment on the “Interstellar” project, which is being kept under wraps and is filming under the assumed name of “Flora’s Letter,” a tactic studios and producers commonly use to keep their projects under the radar. “The Dark Knight Rises” filmed under the name Magnus Rex.

PHOTOS: Celebrities by The Times

A crew of about 150 people filmed three days at the hotel last week in an elaborate shoot that took three weeks of preparation, according to a permit filed with the city. The work included “construction of large set pieces and scaffolding inside the lobby of the hotel on levels 1 through 6.”

The scene also called for stuntmen rappelling from scaffolding and “atmospheric smoke effects,” according to the permit handled by FilmL.A. Inc.

In addition to filming at a sound stage at Sony Pictures in Culver City, the production previously filmed at a warehouse in the downtown arts district on Oct. 28.

Producers also are scheduled to film at the Los Angeles Convention Center for three days in mid-December. Filming will involve street closures near the convention center and more “atmospheric smoke effects,” according to a permit.

“Interstellar” also is scheduled to film at a private residence in Altadena next month.

Twitter: @rverrie