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The Swordfish Hostage Scene

Jun 2nd, 2009 | By | Category: Movie Locations


This past weekend, my parents, my fiance and I drove up to Ventura for a little weekend vacay.  And I was absolutely floored to discover – thanks to my new favorite stalking book – that the hostage scene gone wrong from the 2001 movie Swordfish  had been filmed in the coastal town!  But, while my stalking book stated that all of the filming took place on Main Street in Downtown Ventura, it unfortunately didn’t specify exactly which stores were used in the production.  So, me being me, I just had to stalk pretty much every shop and ask around until I found the right ones.  🙂    Filming of Swordfish  took place back in October of 2000 and, all in all, three main stores were used.  Come to find out, though, every single storefront featured in the movie was drastically remodeled for the filming and today they are all virtually unrecognizable.  Such a bummer!!!!!  




All of the filming took place on one of Downtown Ventura’s main street corners, where producers were lucky enough to find two vacant storefronts that faced each other.    The first storefront, which was formerly the location of a used bookstore named Second Time Around, was where producers built the set of John Travolta’s favorite coffee shop, Traveler’s Coffee Company.  Yep, that’s right – the ENTIRE coffee shop was just a set built solely for the filming!




Today, that storefront houses an American Apparel store, which looks nothing like the coffee shop in Swordfish.  🙁    Being the coffee fiend that I am, I was actually pretty bummed out when I learned that the coffee shop was a fake!   I was really hoping to grab an iced latte there.  LOL  Thank goodness there was a Starbucks located just a few blocks away.  🙂  You can see some pics of the Traveler’s Coffee Company set being built here.




Directly across the street from “Traveler’s Coffee Company”, is the bank that John Travolta set out to rob.  The interior and the facade of the building, which housed a restaurant named O’Brien’s up until a few months before filming began, were changed significantly for the filming. 



Today, an upscale clothing store named Parts Unknown and a restaurant named Riviera Bistro call that space home. You can see some great photographs of the bank set being built here.


The final storefront used in Swordfish  was that of Nicholby’s Nightclub, which popped up in the background of the hostage scene quite a few times.  Producers built a fake newsstand on the side of the Nicholby’s building for the filming. 


As you can see in the above photograph, that newsstand does not exist in real life.  You can see pics of the fake newsstand being built here.




It is actually very surprising to me that producers used a real life street corner and real life storefronts to shoot Swordfish’s  hostage scene. For action sequences of that magnitude, producers usually opt to film inside of studio soundstages.  But because Ventura is a somewhat sleepy town, I am guessing it was fairly easy for them to take over a few vacant storefronts and close down a street corner.  According to one of the business owners I talked to, production of the hostage scene took over two months to complete!!!!   While the actual filming only took about three weeks, a significant amount of time was needed to both construct and dismantle the extensive sets.  I can’t even imagine being able to watch all of that take place!  It must have been an amazing experience for the Ventura locals.  🙂    Oh, how I wish I had been there! 

 Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: The hostage scene from Swordfish  was filmed on the corner of East Main and South Oak Streets in Downtown Ventura.  Traveler’s Coffee Company is really the American Apparel store located at 391 East Main Street.  World Banc is the clothing store named Parts Unknown, which is located at 394 East Main Street #A.  Nicholby’s Nightclub, which can be found at 404 East Main Street, was the newsstand that showed up in the background of the scene.


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