The Canadian Ambassador’s Residence from “Argo”Jan 22nd, 2013 | By Lindsay | Category: Movie Locations
Last week, while scanning through Argo to make screen captures for my post on the Veterans Affairs Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center in North Hills, which stood in for the Tehran American Embassy in the flick, I got completely sucked in and had to force myself to turn the thing off. Then, the Grim Cheaper and I wound up watching the entire movie over again for the second time just a few nights later. Needless to say, I love, love, LOVE the film and cannot recommend seeing it enough! Argo and Silver Linings Playbook are easily two of the best movies I have ever seen in my entire life, let alone this year. So when Mike, from MovieShotsLA, managed to track down the supposed-Iranian residence where Ken Taylor (Victor Garber), the Canadian Ambassador, lived in the film, I dragged the Grim Cheaper right on out to stalk it.
Surprisingly enough, the Canadian Ambassador’s residence from Argo can actually be found in Los Angeles’ affluent Hancock Park neighborhood – a place I never would have even thought to search. Mike was able to find the site thanks to the Hancock Park Today blog which mentioned in a September 2011 post that the movie was shooting on Rimpau Boulevard “in a house made to look like the Canadian Embassy”. Only the interior of the home was used in the filming, though. The exterior gates and side doorway that were shown in the flick (pictured below) are located elsewhere, in what I am guessing is Istanbul, Turkey, where the cast and crew spent two weeks filming on location.
For those who have yet to see it (and honestly, what are you waiting for??), Argo tells the story of six American diplomatic personnel – Bob Anders (Tate Donovan – who was FABULOUS), Cora Lijek (Clea DuVall – whom I once took an acting class with ), Joe Stafford (Scoot McNairy), Lee Schatz (Rory Cochrane), Mark Lijek (Christopher Denham – who looks exactly like Joel McHale in the movie), and Kathy Stafford (Kerry Bishe) – who hide out in the Canadian Ambassador’s Tehran residence for 79 days during the Iran hostage crisis of 1979. I became just a wee-bit obsessed with stalking the Ambassador’s house thanks to a bit of behind-the-scenes info that was mentioned in this October 2012 Los Angeles Times article about the filming. According to writer Richard Verrier, the shoot at the Hancock Park residence took over a month to complete and, prior to the start, Ben Affleck sequestered the actors playing the Houseguests (as they were called) in the home for seven days so that “they would get used to living in close quarters”. How incredibly cool is that? According to IMDB’s Argo trivia page, Affleck also shot the movie on regular film, later cutting each frame in half and then blowing up the images to two hundred times their normal size in order to match the grainy look of productions shot in the 1970s. How was this guy not nominated for a Best Director Oscar again??? Like really, Academy?
According to fave website Zillow, in real life the one-story property, which was originally built in 1964 and looks quite a bit out of place compared with the stately manors typically found in Hancock Park, boasts five bedrooms, six baths, 5,891 square feet of living space, a 0.46-acre plot of land, an “entertainment pavilion” with a second kitchen, a gym, a two-bedroom guest house, hand-painted ceilings and walls, parking for up to twenty cars (!), crystal chandeliers, a family room with a bar, a library, a breakfast room, and a pool. And while property records state that the abode last sold in 1999 for $1,425,000, I believe it was also put on the market sometime in the last few years, but did not sell. While researching the dwelling, I came across this real estate video on YouTube which shows the house as being vacant. I am fairly certain that the place was also vacant during the Argo shoot, which is most likely how it came to be used in the production.
The Canadian Ambassador’s residence was one of the main locations used in Argo and because the place boasts a very 1970s-style decor, not much of it had to be changed for the shoot. As you can see in the interior photographs of the house below, which I got off of the real estate video, the pad is very recognizable from its onscreen appearance. The areas of the property that were utilized in the filming include the living room (the mirrors that flank the sides of the fireplace were covered over for the shoot);
the dining room;
the game room;
the kitchen (check out that wallpaper!);
one of the bathrooms;
and the pool/backyard area.
Unfortunately, the real estate video does not show the area of the backyard that was featured in Argo, but you can see the columned pavilion that Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) and Ken stood under in a few scenes in the aerial view pictured below.
You can watch the home’s real estate video by clicking below.
Big THANK YOU to Mike, from MovieShotsLA, for finding this location!
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: The Canadian Ambassador’s house from Argo is located at 344 South Rimpau Boulevard in Hancock Park.