Lady Gaga's 'A Star Is Born' Character Travels All Over LA's Eastside
By Mike Roe with John Horn & Jonathan Shifflett
Film critic Alison Willmore talked to the Twitters this week about the wonky geography of the most recent A Star Is Born, and where the hell the lead characters live/go/exist.
Okay: Where do Ally and her dad live in A STAR IS BORN? Please cite evidence— The Ghost of Alison Willmore (@alisonwillmore) October 8, 2018
Her tweet has more than 140 responses so far, with many feeling like they're supposed to live in New York. Is it New York? Is it L.A.? Is it far from the Shallow? The movie doesn't get into details on such things.
Our pals at The Frame spoke with the film's cinematographer, Matthew Libatique, and he gave us the lowdown on how the locations were chosen — including where Ally (Lady Gaga) and her dad live.
The short answer: Eastside L.A. Using our spy kit of interviews, context clues, production notes, and Twitter theories, we've zeroed in on some of those likely Eastside filming locations:
- Ally's house — Angelino Heights | Kensington Avenue
- Grocery store parking lot — Glassell Park | Super A
- Bar where they met — Los Feliz/Virgil Village | The Virgil
- Other bar — Echo Park | The Short Stop
Libatique worked with production designer Karen Murphy to help find those locations and give them their cinematic feel. One key location that really set the film's tone, according to Libatique, was that Super A parking lot, when Ally (Gaga) and Jack (Bradley Cooper) start falling in love over a song.
"It was meant to root [Ally's] existence on the Eastside of Los Angeles," Libatique said. "It was very important for [Murphy], as a designer, to make sure the character had an identity through her environment."
That contrasts with Jack.
"If you look at Jack's character, he just bounced around," Libatique said. "The only thing that he had, and you don't see it until later in the film, is his home. And you actually don't know where it is."
It turns out that he lives in Topanga.
"They just escape away from Los Angeles, and they live in Los Angeles, but not on Los Angeles — that's Jack's existence," Libatique said.
The Writers Guild Foundation pointed out on Twitter that there's a general answer in the original draft of the movie's screenplay:
We have a first draft of the screenplay and it says Ally's dad lives "somewhere deep in the San Fernando Valley." This version of the script, also has Ally (whose name also started out spelled "Alli") living alone in East LA.— Writers Guild Foundation (@WritersGuildF) October 8, 2018
Other locations in the film include performances shot in front of live audiences. Those include real crowds at festivals like Coachella, Stagecoach, and Glastonbury.
Jack and Ally also play at an unnamed venue which Libatique said is patterned after the Greek Theatre, but, as Vanity Fair notes, isn't specifically named.
And, for some reason, Ally has to be flown (and then driven in a limo) there by Jack to perform. Maybe traffic on Los Feliz Boulevard was really bad that night? So, the dodginess of the movie's geography may never be completely solved.
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