Tomorrowland Britt Robertson

Tomorrowland’s real location

When it came to creating a city built by visionaries with advanced technologies, filmmakers knew it had to look like one and finding such a place was not an easy task. At first it seemed as though the whole of Tomorrowland would have to be built from scratch, an expensive and time-­consuming proposition. But then in a series of wonderful coincidences, Tom Peitzman, the visual effects producer and the film’s co-­producer, stumbled on a futuristic-­looking location and brought it to director Brad Bird. The location turned out to be the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain, and was designed by Santiago Calatrava whose work was already serving as an inspiration for production designer Scott Chambliss. The discovery also dovetailed with director Brad Bird’s preference for physical locations over virtual sets.

Tomorrowland

There was a working Monorail on set

The Bridgeway Plaza set featured a fully functional monorail (called the levitating elevated vehicle). Once the monorail was completely built and the lights and  glass were put in, it weighed about 35,000 pounds. That meant that the crew had to figure out how to move the hefty monorail—loaded with principal cast—safely down a track that was elevated 16 feet in the air and stop it at exactly the same position time and again. They came up with hydraulic winches that could be shut down very quickly in an emergency and brakes that they could apply whenever they wanted to bring the monorail to a very specific mark to stop, open the door automatically and have the cast walk out.

Tomorrowland
Comic Book Shop

In the story, an Internet search leads Casey to Houston, Texas, and the bizarre memorabilia emporium called Blast From the Past, which was completely built from the ground up on a soundstage. “Blast from the Past is an amalgam of the sci-­fi comic book stores that director Brad Bird and I remember from our youth,” says production designer Scott Chambliss. “Different cities, different stores, but the same feeling you had as a kid where you just wanted to spend a good chunk of your week in that store, poring through everything. Set decorator Lin MacDonald spent months curating the collection; there are thousands of pieces, both purchased and manufactured by the production, and many originals, including some that Brad brought from his own collection.”

Tomorrowland

Cape Canaveral

For the filmmakers, only one set  provided the kind of awe that the film itself encapsulated: the real-?life NASA launch pad at Cape Canaveral in Florida. “We spent a couple of weeks on Launch pad 39 where all the Apollo rockets and the space shuttles went up,” executive producer John Walker says, remembering the excitement of the moment. “Just to stand there was amazing. I remember as a kid watching on television those fantastic rockets go up. While we were there was a launch of the Mars Maven, which we got to watch live and from closer than the press did. It was fantastic.”

Tomorrowland Britt Robertson

Perfect Wheat

The film started principal photography on a farm in Pincher Creek, Alberta, where the filmmakers paid a farmer to grow winter wheat that had a particular shade of amber—director Brad Bird’s vision of rural perfection. Then the crew moved to a farm in Enderby, in British Columbia’s Okanagan, to shoot the Walker farm and its cornfields, also grown specifically for the production.

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