Orcutt Ranch Horticultural Center & Community Garden from “La La Land”Jan 30th, 2017 | By Lindsay | Category: 90210 & Beverly Hills, 90210 Filming Locations, Movie Locations
On paper, La La Land looked like my perfect movie. I love Ryan Gosling. I love Emma Stone. I love musicals. And I LOVE L.A. The film just didn’t work for me, though. I realize mine is a vastly unpopular opinion, but I found La La Land to be too long, too slow, and too melancholy. My main beef, though? For a flick that purports itself to be a love letter to Los Angeles, it certainly did not showcase many real area locations. Sure there was the Griffith Observatory – I’ll give you that one. It’s a real site – and a great one at that. (Though the planetarium featured was a set re-creation.) What about the Rialto Theatre? Yes, the Rialto is an actual movie house, but it’s closed and has been since 2010. You can’t actually see a film there. Angels Flight? That’s real and historic – but, again, shuttered. Watts Towers and Grand Central Market were utilized, but their appearances were fleeting at best. Not even all of the scenes purported to take place on the Warner Bros. backlot were actually shot there. [And no, the coffee shop where Mia (Stone) worked isn’t real, either, though its facade can be seen on the WB Studio Tour.] And while a couple of area restaurants (like the Smoke House) did make the cut, most either played fictitious eateries or were never referred to by name. So basically everything the movie showcased was fake. Southern California is chock full of vibrant, picturesque, dramatic, historic, very real sites that are accessible. Why not celebrate the city and all of its glory by featuring them? A couple of years ago, I stalked one of the few La La Land locales that is actually open to the public (though it did not play itself in the movie) – Orcutt Ranch Horticultural Center & Community Garden. I was familiar with the property thanks to its appearance in an episode of Beverly Hills, 90210, so I recognized it immediately when it popped up onscreen. I had never gotten around to blogging about it, though, and figured what better time than now?
Orcutt Ranch was originally established by Union Oil Company president/geologist William Warren Orcutt and his wife, Mary Logan. The couple purchased and developed a 210-acre plot of land in what is now West Hills and commissioned architect L.G. Knipe to built a large adobe-style residence on the site. The home, which they dubbed “Rancho Sombra del Roble” (Spanish for “shaded oak ranch”), was completed in 1926 and still stands today. That’s it below.
The Orcutts first used the dwelling as a vacation home before eventually retiring there.
William passed away at the residence in 1942 and Mary continued to live there until 1966, at which point she sold the ranch to the Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department.
By that time, a 24-acre portion of the property, which included the house, had already been declared a Historic-Cultural Landmark.
The city dubbed the site “Orcutt Ranch” and opened the grounds to the public.
When I stalked the place in August 2014 (along with Mike, from MovieShotsLA), I was thrilled to discover how open and accessible it is.
Even the Orcutt’s historic adobe was unrestricted, though we were not able to venture inside.
Besides the adobe, a large barn, and several other buildings, the sprawling property also boasts a myriad of gardens, groves, and green expanses, each dotted with countless varieties of plants and trees including birch, wisteria, dogwood, purple lily magnolia, oak, sycamore, and eucalyptus.
Orcutt Ranch is a beautiful place to peruse nature, sit and reflect, or wander aimlessly.
It is also a popular wedding venue.
And filming location! Orcutt Ranch actually portrayed two different places in La La Land. (For those who have yet to see the movie, be forewarned, the paragraphs that follow contain spoilers.) The interior of the Orcutt adobe first masked as the inside of the Chateau Marmont bungalow where Mia was staying at the end of the film. (Why the scene wasn’t shot in an actual room at the historic hotel is anyone’s guess.) Sadly, I do not have any screen captures of that particular scene to post here, but you can see images of the room used in it here and here. Later, in La La Land’s dreamy final montage, during which Mia and Sebastian (Gosling) imagine what could have been, the adobe portrays the couple’s home. Thankfully, I do have screen grabs from that scene thanks to this YouTube video.
It was the adobe’s unique arched door that I recognized while watching La La Land.
The interior of the Orcutt residence was also used in the sequence, including the solarium (which you can see a photograph of here) . . .
. . . and the living room (which you can see a photo of here). You can check out some more images of the adobe’s interior here.
The property’s courtyard and fountain made an appearance in the scene, as well.
As did the lush grounds. (My imagery below isn’t the best because that portion of the scene was shot on a 16mm movie camera and is therefore a bit grainy.)
As I mentioned in my intro, Orcutt Ranch also appeared in an episode of Beverly Hills, 90210. In Season 10’s “Laying Pipe,” it masked as the supposed Ojai-area church where Steve Sanders (Ian Ziering) and Janet Sosna (Lindsay Price) took Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth) and Dylan McKay (Luke Perry) to meet their minister.
Only the exterior of the ranch appeared in the episode.
The gazebo where Janet and Steve had a mini wedding rehearsal was not a set piece brought in for the shoot, but is an actual element of the property, which I was thrilled to see! It does look a bit different today, though, than in 1999 when the episode was shot.
The ranch’s gardens made an appearance in “Laying Pipe,” as well.
A couple of Orcutt Ranch’s outbuildings also masked as the Thomas family farm in the Season 1 episode of Deadtime Stories titled “Grandpa’s Monster Movies.”
One of the buildings used in the episode is pictured below.
For those who felt like I did about La La Land (or who are completely flummoxed as to why I didn’t like it), this The New Yorker review is a great read. As author Dale Robinette states, “I saw La La Land in a theatre, sitting up close to a big bright screen, and couldn’t tell whether it was filmed on location or in a studio in front of a green screen. If [director Damien] Chazelle’s intention was to celebrate, among other things, the public face of the city, he failed miserably at it.” I couldn’t agree more. Chazelle really should have taken a note from Swingers. The 1996 film brilliantly showcased a very real L.A., featuring actual area restaurants, bars and landmarks to such perfection that many still draw fans to this day, twenty years after the movie originally premiered.
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: Orcutt Ranch Horticultural Center & Community Garden, from La La Land, is located at 23600 Roscoe Boulevard in West Hills. The site is open daily from dusk until dawn and admission is free. You can visit the property’s official website here.