| Print Story | E-Mail Story | Font Size

Famed County

WEB-EXCLUSIVE: Orange County has had its share of publicity through reality TV shows like "The Real Housewives of Orange County," but many of us are probably unaware that it has also made appearances in numerous big name movies over the past decade.

In 'The Perfect Storm' (2000), Dana Point Harbor became Gloucester Harbor, Massachusetts.
H. Lorren Au, Jr./The Orange County Register

The opening of Iron Man 2 marked the start of the 2010 summer movie blockbuster season. These big-budget flicks take us on tours of the world... or do they?

For decades, Orange County has served as a stand-in for anonymous suburbs, far-off locales, fictional franchises – and has even played itself – in some of Hollywood’s biggest films. Maybe while re-watching some of your favorite movies, you’ll find out that there’s a little piece of Hollywood in your own backyard.

To find out more about filming locations around the world, check out books like Tony Reeves’s The Worldwide Guide to Movie Locations (titanbooks.com, $19.95) or Museyon’s Film + Travel series (museyon.com, $15.95 each). Online, find filming locations for more movies on the Internet Movie Database (imdb.com), the Movie Locations Guide (movielocationsguide.com) or The Movie Map (themoviemap.com).

Here’s a selection of Orange County’s cameos from the past 10 years.

Aliso Viejo
Elizabethtown (2005) – Soka University as portions of the Mercury shoe company, Seattle

Matchstick Men (2003) – Anaheim Convention Center as Los Angeles International Airport
Rendition (2007) – Anaheim Convention Center as Chicago O’Hare International Airport

Buena Park
Clerks II (2006) – An abandoned Burger King (demolished in March 2006) as Mooby’s, a fast food restaurant in Leonardo, New Jersey
Knocked Up (2007) – Knott’s Berry Farm as itself
National Treasure (2004) – Knott’s Berry Farm’s replica of Independence Hall as the real Independence Hall, Philadelphia


Photo By H. Lorren Au, Jr./The Orange County Register

In 'The Perfect Storm' (2000), Dana Point Harbor became Gloucester Harbor, Massachusetts.

Dana Point
The Perfect Storm (2000) – Dana Point Harbor as Gloucester Harbor, Massachusetts

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004) – Nikken Corporation as Globo Gym
Iron Man (2008) – Nikken Corporation as Stark Industries
Ocean's Eleven (2001) – University of California, Irvine Gillespie Neuroscience Research Facility as the California Institute of Advanced Science
You, Me and Dupree (2006) – Nikken Corporation as Thompson Land Development

Laguna Beach
Mamma Mia! (2008) – Pacific Ocean waterfront as various Kalokairi beaches

Accepted (2006) – Chapman University as Harmon College, Ohio
Frailty (2001) – Old Towne Orange as various locations in a small Texas town
The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001) – Old Towne Orange’s Plaza Square as Santa Rosa, California

Santa Ana
Catch Me If You Can (2006) – Old Orange County Courthouse as a Louisiana courtroom
Legally Blonde (2001) – Old Orange County Courthouse as the Superior Court of Suffolk County, Massachusetts
The Ring (2002) – The Orange County Register newsroom as the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newsroom
Spider-Man 2 (2004) – The Orange County Register printing press as the Daily Bugle printing press

Seal Beach
American Pie 2 (2001) – Main Street and Seal Beach Pier as Grand Harbor, Michigan


Photo By Jebb Harris/The Orange County Register

The former Marine Corps Air Station Tustin was seen in both 'Pearl Harbor' (2001) and 'Star Trek' (2009).

Pearl Harbor (2001) – Marine Corps Air Station Tustin as facilities of the United States Army Air Corps
Star Trek (2009) – Marine Corps Air Station Tustin’s blimp hangars as the Starfleet shuttle hangar

The Fast and the Furious (2001) – Little Saigon’s Cultural Court as the headquarters of the rival street racers

Yorba Linda
Frost/Nixon (2008) – Nixon Library as itself

See archived 'Community' stories »