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Nakatomi Plaza from “Die Hard”

Dec 18th, 2009 | By | Category: Movie Locations

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Because we are currently knee deep in the middle of the Christmas Season – which just so happens to be my favorite season :) –  I decided to focus my next few blog posts on locations featured in holiday movies.   And what better way to start off those Christmas posts than to blog about Nakatomi Plaza, the main building featured in the 1988 movie Die Hard.  OK OK, so yes, it can be argued that Die Hard is not your traditional holiday flick, but because the entire movie takes place on the night of Christmas Eve and because Christmas music is played throughout, I deemed the production to be holiday-blog-worthy.  :)  As surprising as it may sound, I had actually never seen Die Hard until just this past October, when my friend Robin came to visit and pretty much forced me to sit through the movie in its entirety.  And, let me tell you, after it was over, I was just itching to stalk the Fox Plaza building in Century City, which stood in for Nakatomi Plaza in the flick.  Fox Plaza, which measures 492 feet tall and houses a whopping 900,000 square feet of office space!!!, is the current headquarters for the 20th Century Fox film corporation.  The Plaza was designed in 1987 by architects William L. Pereira,  Scott Johnson, and Bill Fain.  Pereira was also responsible for designing such landmarks as the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco, the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim (LOVE IT!), and the Geisel Library – named after Theodore Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss – on the campus of UC San Diego, which just so happens to be my alma mater!  :)  Geisel Library has actually been featured in several productions, including the movie Killer Tomatoes Strike Back, but I’ll save that information for a future post  :)

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Die Hard takes place, pretty much in its entirety, on location at Fox Plaza.  For the movie, both the interiors and the exteriors of the building were used.  I am fairly certain, though, that the interiors of the actual Nakatomi offices, where the holiday party scenes took place, were sets that were built on a studio soundstage on the 20th Century Fox lot.

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Unfortunately, most areas of the building that were featured in Die Hard are not accessible to the public.  In the second aerial image of Fox Plaza pictured above, the pink arrow depicts the entrance to the building that can be viewed from the street and from where I took the photographs featured in this post, while the purple arrow denotes where most of the filming of Die Hard took place.  As you can see, they are on opposite sides of the property.

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The areas of Fox Plaza used in Die Hard include the building’s porte-cochere,

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the revolving front doors of the main entrance;

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the front desk;

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the elevator bay;

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and the main lobby, which we were able to snap a few photographs of through the building’s front windows.  While taking said photographs, my fiancé and I were confronted by a VERY angry security guard who was obviously wearing his underpants too tight that day, because he literally came running after us to inform us, not so politely I might add, that if we did not vacate the premises immediately, we would be escorted off the property and our camera confiscated!!!  I’ll never understand why people like that get so bent out of shape at us stalkers!  If you’re going to put your building in a movie – in what is arguably the most famous action flick of all time, no less! – then you’ve gotta expect that people are going to want to stalk the place!  It’s only natural.  Geez!  😉

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And, while the roof of Nakatomi Plaza was completely blown off at the end of Die Hard, that, of course, did not take place in real life.  A scale model was used during the filming of the explosion scene and I am happy to report that the real Fox Plaza roof is one hundred percent intact.  😉

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According to Wikipedia, the lobby of the Fox Plaza building was also used in the beginning elevator scene from the movie Speed, but that information is actually incorrect.  After recently re-watching Speed, it is clear that both the interior and exterior of the Gas Company Building in Downtown Los Angeles were used for that scene.  If you compare the above pictured screen captures to these photographs of the Gas Company Building, you can see that they are a perfect match.  I must say that I was more than just slightly peeved to discover this erroneous information on Wikipedia, being that the encyclopedia website has apparently banned my blog from being cited as a source, deeming me  “unreliable”!  LOL  So let me get this straight – I’m considered unreliable, but the douche bag who put up the Speed information is completely credible!  Nice job, Wikipedia!  Way to sift through your sources!  😉  Also according to Wikipedia (so who knows if this information is correct), Fox Plaza was featured in the 1994 movie Airheads and a cartoon rendering of it was shown in the Season 7 episode of Family Guy entitled “Fox-y Lady”.  The building was also used as the law firm where Anthony LaPaglia worked in the television series Murder One.  And, in real life, Ronald Reagan set up his main offices in the 34th floor penthouse of Fox Plaza following his presidency.

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  :)

Stalk It: Fox Plaza, aka Nakatomi Plaza, is located at 2121 Avenue of the Stars in Century City.  Please remember that Fox Plaza is private property, so if you decide to stalk this location, DO NOT trespass, or you will be escorted off the premises and your camera confiscated.   Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!  :)  The Gas Company Tower from the beginning of Speed is located at 555 West 5th Street in Downtown Los Angeles.

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2 comments

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  1. Bill says:

    Note that though the building’s guards are cranky, the streets surrounding the building are public property as are those nearby, so you can legally take all the photos you want from Avenue of the Stars or from Galaxy Way.

    However, if you take too many, remember that since 9/11 law enforcement can be a little sensitive about people taking pictures of high-rise office buildings; just use common sense.

  2. Bob Earhart says:

    Lindsay,
    Great blog today! I love that movie.
    Hey, I think we owe you 20% off your next food purchase at POP! I checked with Ralph after you left the other day and he said he forgot to give you the discount. Sorry about that!

    Hope to see you soon.

    By the way, I am having my birthday party at POP on Sunday, January 10. I am inviting a few of my POP friends to join us and I would be absolutely thrilled if you and Bret could join me. Probably around 6:00 PM.

    Bob


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