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When Hollywood Comes to Central Florida

Orlando, which has earned the nickname “The City Beautiful,” could easily be renamed “The City Cinematic.” After all, hundreds of movies and TV shows have been shot in and around the Central Florida spot. While the area’s theme parks certainly provide a colorful backdrop, they are hardly the only aspects of the city’s landscape to make it to the screen. Here are a few of the more noteworthy productions to have been filmed in the area:

  • Sisters (2015) – Two sisters are summoned home to clean out their childhood bedroom before their parents sell the family house. Looking to recapture their glory days, they throw one final high school-style party for their classmates, which turns into a cathartic rager – something that a bunch of ground-down adults really need. Starring besties (and frequent co-stars) Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, the film was largely filmed in New York – yet includes scenes shot on International Drive and at Orlando International Airport.
  • My Girl (1991) – A young girl, on the threshold of her teen years, finds her life turning upside-down – yet finds comfort in the companionship of an unlikely friend. Best known to movie buffs as “the one where Macaulay Culkin dies,” the film also starred Anna Chlumsky – who became an “overnight” star 20 years later thanks to her role in the TV series “Veep.” “My Girl” was set in Florida and filmed in various locations around the state, including Orlando, Bartow, Sanford, Plant City and Ocoee.
  • Monster (2003) – Based on the life of Aileen Wuornos, said to be America’s first female serial killer, the film won an Oscar for star Charlize Theron. Although the movie is largely set in and filmed in Daytona Beach, where Wuornos was a prostitute, additional scenes were shot in Orlando and Kissimmee.
  • The Perfect Storm (2000) – Based on the book by Sebastian Junger, this true-life drama details the events of an October 1991 storm in the North Atlantic – a killer storm caused by a confluence of weather events – that claimed the swordfishing boat Andrea Gail, and the lives of all the men aboard. The film, which stars George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Diane Lane, includes scenes that were shot at Universal Studios in Orlando.
  • Jurassic Park III (2001) – A sequel that did not involve the original film’s writers or director (though Sam Neill and Laura Dern do reprise their roles), “Jurassic Park III” boasts more incredible dinosaur effects, but didn’t do half the box office. While much of this flick was shot at Universal Studios in California, some scenes were filmed at Universal Studios in Orlando.
  • Ocean’s Eleven (2001) – A remake of the Frank Sinatra heist picture, done with classic cool by filmmaker Steven Soderbergh and a galaxy of A-list stars, including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts and Andy Garcia. It’s a fun load of twists and turns as a gang of 11 thieves mastermind the biggest score in history – robbing three Las Vegas casinos at once! Though the picture is vintage Hollywood with a Vegas flavor, scenes of casino interiors and the vault were shot at Universal Studios and Infinite Horizon Studios in Orlando.
  • Minority Report (2002) – In a future where a special police unit is able to arrest murderers before they commit their crimes, an officer from that unit is himself accused of a future murder. An under-appreciated gem from director Steven Spielberg (and the inspiration for the current TV series), “Minority Report” featured Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell and plenty of dazzling special effects. And just like “Ocean’s Eleven,” it was filmed partially at Universal Studios and Infinite Horizon Studios in Orlando.
  • The Waterboy (1998) – A popular Adam Sandler comedy, “The Waterboy” tells the story of Bobby Boucher, the waterboy for a college football team who discovers he has a unique tackling ability and becomes part of the team. In addition to Sandler, this Florida-set sports movie stars Kathy Bates and Henry Winkler. It was shot in various locations around the Sunshine State, including the “big game” (the Bourbon Bowl), which was filmed at Orlando’s Citrus Bowl.

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