Where was Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom filmed? Let’s explore the filming locations of the 2020 Netflix movie starring Chadwick Boseman.
Although film fans have spent much of 2020 mourning cinemas in the wake of temporary closures, there have still been plenty of films to watch and discuss.
Netflix titles have appeared on ‘End of Year’ lists everywhere, and it’s hardly surprising when you reflect on their output.
Across the year, they’ve offered new films from the likes of Charlie Kaufman (I’m Thinking of Ending Things), Spike Lee (Da 5 Bloods), Aaron Sorkin (The Trial of the Chicago 7), David Fincher (Mank) and more.
The latest to earn praise is Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
Directed by George C. Wolfe, the film is based on August Wilson’s 1982 play of the same name and stars Viola Davis, Glynn Turman and Chadwick Boseman in his final role.
Since arriving on Netflix on Friday, December 18th 2020, audiences have been transported to the 1920s, but where exactly was Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom filmed?
Where was Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom filmed?
- Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was actually filmed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania despite being set in Chicago.
The shoot began in July 2019 and wrapped up a month later in August, the same month that Chadwick tragically passed away.
Looking back on the film’s production, a casting call was held at the Monongahela Room at the DoubleTree hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh. They were looking for a wide range of people to come aboard and it was confirmed that age or acting experience was irrelevant.
The process was orchestrated to find extras and dancers.
James Mahathey scouted Pittsburgh locations and, if familiar with the area, you may notice a number of locations on the North Side, although work had to be done to create the illusion of Chicago in the 1920s.
The Cinemaholic highlights that facades between Brighton Road and Galveston Avenue were repainted and manipulated to achieve the right look. The exterior of the recording studio was captured here, while the studio’s interior was actually filmed at 31st Street Studios in the Strip District.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom filming locations
Additionally, the crew landed permission to film in Deer Lakes Park and a building there was dressed up to suit the period.
Considering more locations, HIP at the Flashlight Factory – 831 West North Ave. – was used for a convenience store and 722 Wood St. in the Wilkinsburg business district is where they shot the scenes in which Levee’s attention is captured by very important shoes.
James revealed that they renovated the windows for the scenes: “The windows were in pretty bad shape. We fixed up that whole storefront for them.”
Other filming locations include a private home on North Lincoln Avenue, which is where the hotel sequence with Ma was filmed: “We went in and cleaned the place up for him. We did some repairs on some stuff. It ended up benefiting him. The woodwork was there. We put some different lighting fixtures and curtains to dress up the place.”
On the other hand, the outside look of the place was instead filmed at 705 Brighton Road.
Audiences praise the film on Twitter
Viewers have been quick to check out the film and offer their thoughts and praise over on Twitter.
Check out a selection of tweets:
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