MCU: Location Scout | SFPD Headquarters and Chase

by Jovial Jay

As a tie-in to the Agents of SHIELD: Case Files podcast this month, MCU: Location Scout is looking at some of the locations from Ant-Man.

SHOW: Ant-Man

As long time readers of this column may know, I am not a location scout, and do not work in the film industry. I am just a fan that likes the brand of films that Marvel makes. What I do is figure out the location of different shots in the various MCU films based on the footage in the final film, as well as any behind-the-scene images or video and online reports of filming areas. Using Google Maps, I then attempt to pinpoint the exact location that the film used to shoot the scene in question. This week, the location that I “decode” is the SFPD Headquarters and the subsequent police chase to find the escaped Scott Lang from 2015s Ant-Man.

Exterior SFPD Police Station

After Scott has been captured by the police, Hank Pym visits him in jail and provides him an Ant-Man suit to aide in his escape. After putting it on and shrinking Scott is able to escape the precinct and fly away on a winged ant. As he flies away from the police station, Officer Paxton calls on all cars to set up a perimeter around the police headquarters. Being as small as an ant, Scott is able to sneak through this police cordon, and escape.

While the film takes place in San Francisco, this was the first MCU production to be shot at the new Pinewood facilities outside Atlanta, GA. Additional, some of the film was shot in San Francisco. So the question became, “is the footage in the film San Francisco or Atlanta trying to look like San Francisco.

SFPD Headquarters SFPD HeadquartersThe first shot we see of Scott escaping on the flying ant, with Paxton & Gale running out of the building as SFPD police cars drive out of the parking lot, was the most difficult to find. All of the other scenes were filmed in Midtown Atlanta, while this one scene was shot about 5 miles north in Buckhead. The parking lot behind the Georgia Republican Party offices at 3110 Maple Dr NE, Atlanta served as the location the SFPD police cars drove out. Paxton & Gale actually came out of the building next door at the home for Technicolor On Location Services (470 East Paces Ferry Rd NE, Atlanta). The overhanging roof at the entrance/exit to this parking lot was key to finding this location.

SFPD Headquarters SFPD HeadquartersFrom there, the police cars spill out into the city streets. This scene was shot at Williams St NW & Fairlie St NW in Midtown before quickly cutting into a series of macro-shots of Scott on the ant.

San Francisco Police Chase

Cinefex #143 provided some insight on how much of this chase and macro footage was shot in Atlanta versus San Francisco. Of the four main sequences, the first half were shot on location in Atlanta while the last two aerial shots were filmed in the city by the bay.

SFPD Headquarters SFPD HeadquartersAs Scott flies up to the taxi’s rear-view mirror, there are several Atlanta locations that resolve and it becomes clear that this scene was shot in Midtown as well (around 102 Forsyth St NW Atlanta). At one point in the shot, you can see the weird statue in front of the Atlanta Central Library. Many of the other out of focus shots appear to have been filmed on and around Forsyth St NW as well.

SFPD Headquarters

SFPD Headquarters

SFPD Headquarters

A side angle of the Street Car sequence, showing the distinctive planter around the tree.

What made discovering the next shot of Scott flying through the streetcar difficult, was the fact that there was a streetcar. As many people know, streetcars are a staple of San Francisco transit, so realizing that these streetcars were actually being filmed in Atlanta was key to figuring this location out. A quick shot of part of the sidewalk also helped pinpoint the exact location where Scott boarded the vehicle (around Luckie St NW at Forsyth St NW).

SFPD Headquarters SFPD HeadquartersThe final two shots, were relatively easy to find. The first aerial shot shows Scott climbing above a twisty street. It fact, it’s Lombard Street, the crookedest street in the world, at least for this block. This street would also go on to be featured in part of a miniature car chase in 2018s Ant-Man and The Wasp.

SFPD Headquarters SFPD HeadquartersFinally, just before Scott passes out, he ascends over the Coit Tower, a popular and iconic location of San Francisco. Most films shot in the town take advantage of this location including Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo and the first Dirty Harry film.

The longer I spend exploring a town for a particular film, the easier it becomes to determine if particular locations belong in a certain part of town, as each city has a distinctive look and feeling to their varied neighborhoods. Stay tuned as MCU: Location Scout continues to look at Ant-Man and other films (and television shows) from the Marvel Cinematic Universe!

To see the filming location listed above, and hundreds of others, please click the map icon below.
From there you can explore all the locations and scout your trip to the Marvel Cinematic Universe!
Got tips? Got corrections? Let me know on Twitter @JovialJay or @MCUlocations!

MCU: Location Scout
Click the image above for the homepage and older posts.

Behind every scene in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a location. Some are iconic. Some are functional. Some are completely fantastic. But all of them are there to support the story.

Here at the MCU: Location Scout, Jovial Jay digs deep to uncover the real-world filming locations behind your favorite super hero films. From Iron Man to Inhumans and everything in between!

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Accept Privacy Policy