15 films and TV series that filmed at the Los Angeles Times building
The Los Angeles Times has a new address. After more than 85 years at the intersection of 1st and Spring streets in downtown Los Angeles, the newspaper will officially call El Segundo home by the end of the month. The owners of the Gordon B. Kaufmann-designed structure — which won a gold medal at the 1937 Paris Exposition — have plans for its post-Times life, but to many, it’s still the end of an era. As The Times prepares to say goodbye to its longtime home, we take a look back at 15 films and television shows that filmed inside and gave the building the closeup it deserved.
Scroll down for a list of titles, as well as The Times’ original coverage of the projects, including reviews and other articles.
For the record:
3:10 p.m. July 18, 2018An earlier version of this article identified Paul Brownfield and Carina Chocano as then-Times staff writers.
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Knight and Day
Times film critic Kenneth Turan wrote in 2010: “Why is everyone giving Tom Cruise such a hard time? Can’t we just forget about what happened on Oprah’s couch? Is that asking too much? Is the movie business so flush with charismatic stars who can carry a picture that it can afford to eat its young? I don’t think so. If you doubt Cruise’s skills in the star department, ‘Knight and Day’ should make you a believer. It’s hardly a perfect film, not even close, but it is the most entertaining made-for-adults studio movie of the summer.” Read the review »
Turan wrote in 2009: “Remember when Lloyd Bentsen told Dan Quayle, ‘I knew Jack Kennedy. . . . Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy’? Well, I felt a little that way when it came to reviewing ‘The Soloist.’
“I could back up and write all this in the reviewer’s traditional third person, but that feels disingenuous. After all, I do know Steve Lopez, whose wonderful Los Angeles Times columns and later book about his unlikely friendship with a gifted but deeply troubled street musician started everything. And I work with Lopez at The Times, which, in an unprecedented gesture, offered its newsroom as a set and has in general bound itself to this movie with remarkable fealty.” Read the review »
Turan wrote in 2012: “ ‘Argo’ takes you back. Not just to the dark days of the 1979-81 Iranian hostage crisis but to a brighter, earlier time, when Hollywood regularly turned out smart and engaging films that crackled with energy and purpose.
“Very much like Clint Eastwood before him, actor turned actor-director Ben Affleck not only has a passion for those kinds of throwback entertainments, he knows that the only way to get them on the screen effectively is to do the work himself.” Read the review » Tehran in L.A. »
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Then-Times TV critic Mary McNamara, now the assistant managing editor for arts and entertainment, wrote in 2012: “Shonda Rhimes has a new show.
“Well, technically, ABC has a new show, called ‘Scandal,’ which, like the network’s ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and ‘Private Practice,’ is created by Rhimes, a woman no one will ever accuse of sloth. It is, in some ways, a new kind of show. For one thing, it has a black woman as lead, a quality so rare it requires mention, and for another, it is a Washington, D.C.-based procedural that deals not with law or crime or politics, but all three, through the weird underground system of what was once called spin-doctoring and is now known as crisis management.
“In other ways, ‘Scandal’ is an old show, which is to say that watching it will remind you of Rhimes’ other shows.” Read the review »
McNamara wrote in 2009: “The detective tale is like yellow cake — at some level, everyone likes it, and with a little imagination, you can do pretty much anything with it.
“On shows including ‘The Mentalist,’ ‘Bones,’ ‘Lie to Me,’ ‘Eleventh Hour,’ ‘Life’ and even ‘Fringe’ you have the sleuth with something extra (He used to be a fake psychic! She’s a forensic archaeologist! He’s a cop who went to jail!) teamed up with a more standard-issue model, usually, though not always, of the opposite sex (on ‘Numb3rs,’ the cop and the math whiz are brothers). Onto this crowded playing field comes ‘Castle,’ an ABC murder mystery series that is both of the genre and about the genre. Meet Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion), a bestselling mystery writer-playboy who has just killed off his lucrative detective because he was bored.” Read the review »
Turan wrote in 2011: “Winning isn’t everything, voracious Vince Lombardi used to say, it’s the only thing. But what if Lombardi was wrong? What if other things mean more, last longer, have more significance than victories, not only in life but also in the particular lives of the people who play the games?
“This is the heretical premise of the thoughtful and entertaining ‘Moneyball,’ based on the equally iconoclastic bestseller by Michael Lewis. Starring Brad Pitt in top movie star form, it’s a film that’s impressive and surprising.” Read the review »
The Green Hornet
Turan wrote in 2011: “ ‘The Green Hornet’ may not be the most tedious superhero movie ever — the competition is admittedly tough — but it is certainly in the running.
“An anemic, 97-pound weakling of the action comedy persuasion, ‘Hornet’ is a boring bromedy that features mumblecore heroics instead of the real thing.” Read the review »
We Bought a Zoo
Then-Times film critic Betsy Sharkey wrote in 2011: “In the furry and feathery world of ‘We Bought a Zoo,’ starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson, basically everything in sight is in need of saving. Thankfully, it has filmmaker Cameron Crowe heading the rescue mission.
“In lesser hands, a film so unashamed of its sentiment, so affectionate about its characters, so uplifting in its message would have landed in the maw of mushy that so often devours films like these. Instead we have an intelligent family film, a rarity, and while not quite Crowe at his absolute best, it carries his humanistic imprint and benefits from a strong acting ensemble that keep emotions in check.” Read the review »
Sharkey wrote in 2010: “‘Takers,’ the new heist movie starring blah, blah, blah, blah, blah and T.I. (who’s scary bad and just plain scary), would be a good snooze if it weren’t for all the noisy gunfire and explosions and the violins — which always signal a ‘special’ shootout that will unfold in that ballet-of-death style that’s supposed to be arty but just feels tedious here.
“Did I mention the dialogue? Well, really the armored car driver put it best when he said, ‘We’re in trouble here…’ No joke.” Read the review »
Turan wrote in 2006: “’Dreamgirls’ is alive with the sound of music. It’s a love song two times over, a tribute to a vibrant period of American popular music as well as to a style of filmmaking we don’t get to see enough of: the big-budget Hollywood musical.
“Directed by Bill Condon, who also wrote the adaptation of the multiple Tony Award-winning play, ‘Dreamgirls’ tells a familiar story with conviction and pizzazz. It’s a smartly entertaining example of updated traditionalism, of using modern energy and techniques to galvanize a story that was old-fashioned when director Michael Bennett dazzled Broadway with it in 1981.” Read the review »
Lions for Lambs
Then-Times film critic Carina Chocano wrote in 2007: “’Lions for Lambs’ has some interesting points it wants to make about the collective complicity of everyone — cynical politicians, lazy reporters, apathetic students, self-satisfied baby boomer intellectuals — in the failure of the Iraq war, so it pairs a cynical politician with a lazy reporter, an apathetic student with Robert Redford (he makes a very unconvincing professor) and has them make them. Meanwhile, a pair of underprivileged but uncommonly gifted soldiers prepare to die heroically in an Afghan ice field as the white characters discuss the pros and cons of various philosophical positions.” Read the review »
The Black Dahlia
Then-Times staff writer Robert W. Welkos wrote in 2006: “In his neo-noir mystery, ‘The Black Dahlia,’ director Brian De Palma brings his camera into a morgue where the remains of the mutilated murder victim, Elizabeth Short, are displayed on an autopsy table. Through the director’s lens, we gaze with grim fascination at the grotesqueness of the crime, wondering not only who this woman was and how she met her fate but what twisted mind could carry out such a heinous murder?
“In real life, Short’s remains were discovered on Jan. 15, 1947, by a passerby pushing a stroller past a vacant lot near 39th Street and Norton Avenue in Leimert Park, touching off a mystery that endures to this day.” ‘Dahlia,’ a post-mortem »
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
Then-Times TV critic Paul Brownfield wrote in 2006: “The show-within-the-show on Aaron Sorkin’s ‘Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip’ is a topical sketch comedy series 24 hours ahead of ‘Saturday Night Live’ and lightyears beyond it as a tastemaker in the culture. Nobody here aspires to ‘A Night at the Roxbury’ fame nor is choking on ‘Larry Sanders Show’ bile; for the members of ‘Studio 60,’ the making of late-night comedy is, ultimately, a calling to serve.
“Sound familiar? Sorkin, creator of ‘The West Wing,’ brings his intoxicating brio to the backstage world of a late-night TV series and conjures the place as the same roiling ground zero of social and moral debate that he projected onto the White House.” Read the review »
Brownfield wrote in 2005: “Some people just lead interesting lives. Dr. Temperance Brennan is a forensic anthropologist for the Jeffersonian Institute in Washington whose work takes her from genocide in Guatemala to the discovery of a missing Senate intern in Washington. She also writes novels and is a martial-arts whiz. She’s single but a word of warning, guys: She’s closed off emotionally.
“Fox’s ‘Bones’ stars Emily Deschanel as Brennan, a.k.a. ‘Bones’ (although she hates to be called that). Like the Patricia Arquette character on NBC’s ‘Medium’ or Jennifer Love Hewitt in CBS’ new show ‘Ghost Whisperer,’ she is a woman married to her work, work that involves entanglements with the unsolved histories of the dead.” Read the review »
Chocano wrote in 2004: “Until ‘Nip/Tuck’ kicked off its second season last week, it was still possible to enjoy the show as the flamboyantly vulgar, darkly satirical soap that it is while completely failing to appreciate the gothic horror story quivering exquisitely underneath it, like Percy Bysshe Shelley after one of Mary’s stories.
“An original FX drama about a pair of Miami plastic surgeons, the dementedly emotional and extraordinarily grotesque ‘Nip/Tuck’ owes more than just visible sutures to ‘Frankenstein.’ Last week, Drs. Sean McNamara (Dylan Walsh) and Christian Troy (Julian McMahon) met Libby Zucker (Romy Rosemont), a patient requiring major reconstructive surgery on a macabre facial gunshot wound — bestowed by her best friend in a botched birthday present-suicide pact combo.” Read the review »
McNamara wrote in 2008: “The best thing about Alan Ball’s new vampire series ‘True Blood,’ which premieres on HBO Sunday, is the opening credits. The jittery compilation of unnerving images — prayer meetings and road kill, ghostly children and swamp scenery — is creepy, evocative and tantalizing. Unfortunately, it is also utterly unconnected to the show that follows.
For reasons known only to himself, Ball decided to take Charlaine Harris’ light, fun series of Southern Vampire Mysteries and turn it into a heavy-handed political fable with vampires, recently rendered ‘safe’ by the creation of the synthetic Tru Blood as stand-ins for the disenfranchised.” Read the review »
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