LOCATION, LOCATION, Location? #13 – Revealed ~ Bowfinger


Did ‘ya Guess It?

Our thirteenth LOCATION, LOCATION, Location? entry is about as obscure as the Z-movie producer/director whose home and headquarters it serves.

The location in question is the Hollywood home of Bobby Bowfinger in the 1999 Steve Martin comedy, Bowfinger.

Bowfinger Poster

Steve Martin & Eddie Murphy in “Bowfinger”


Let’s take a look at the NOW and THEN picture and a bit of information about the location …

(A click on each picture will expand them into a new window for a better look)


“Bowfinger International Pictures” location


A shot of Martin looking from the location window.

Written by Steve Martin and directed by Frank Oz, Bowfinger is a parody of Hollywood filmmaking, celebrity and pursuing impossible dreams.  The film stars Martin as a less-than-stellar filmmaker living and working on the fringe of Hollywood supported by an eclectic cast headlined by Eddie Murphy in a dual role.  Although the film performed well at the box office during its release and was critically acclaimed (it hit the #2 spot right after The Sixth Sense), in recent years it has been somewhat forgotten and underrated despite it being one of Steve Martin’s best comedic films. Occasionally, it still shows up on cable in reruns and is definitely worth a repeat viewing.

Martin’s writing is clever, biting and right on the nose in taking a fun jab at the fakery that exists in Hollywood…often inspired by real-life situations that closely shadow Martin’s own experiences and that of his fellow stars in the business. In addition to a solid script, director Frank Oz was smart in realizing that he was working with top comedic geniuses who were also quite adept at improv.  The result adds some of the best lines in the movie having been entirely improvised by the cast.

Old Hollywood hotels in the background are now obscured by the new.

Old Hollywood hotels in the background are now obscured by the new.

The production was filmed, fittingly, in and around Los Angeles and was done so with much economy by Oz and the filmmakers under the umbrella of Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s, Imagine Entertainment.  The location used as Bowfinger’s home and headquarters for “Bowfinger International Pictures” was a little hidden gem actually set in the heart of old Hollywood.

Only a couple blocks from Hollywood Boulevard and the typical tourist attractions including the famed Capitol Records building, the location is tucked away down a side street in what used to be a district populated by old apartment buildings. At the time of filming, the Bowfinger home was occupied by an accounting firm and rented out by the production for exteriors while the interior was built entirely on a soundstage at Universal. For the exterior, not much was done to dress up the location other than place fake colonnades around the front door – just one of several small touches spread throughout the film to show Bowfinger’s many tactics for bolstering his flimsy filmmaker image.

Waiting for a FedEx'd script.

Waiting for a FedEx’d script.

Unfortunately, the Bowfinger home and street are now just a shadow of their appearance in the film – victims of modifications and tear-downs all in the name of progress. For quite a long time since filming completed, the building and adjoining street remained relatively unchanged and it has only been within the last 5 years that the location has become somewhat unrecognizable. Today, the Bowfinger building is a dispensary for medical marijuana and its exterior has been changed up quite a bit. The front door has been stucco’d over and moved to a side entrance while most of the shrubbery surrounding the building has been ripped out and replaced by fencing. The front window sports metal bars with a large security light above and the large tree which backed the entire structure is now missing. The original red concrete driveway has been paved over, but you can still see a patch of color where some of the pavement has worn off. The buildings lining one side of the street leading up to the Bowfinger home didn’t fare as well and are now all torn down, making way for a parking lot which serves a newly-built plush hotel on Hollywood Blvd. Tearing down old buildings, some with unique architecture, still seems to be the status quo for the misguided Los Angeles civic planners bent on turning everything into a parking lot. Although, a strong case can be made that any effort put forth for improvements in the city of Hollywood are just that…an improvement.

Buildings circa 1999 make way for a parking lot in 2013.

Buildings circa 1999 make way for a parking lot in 2013.

“Bowfinger International Pictures” headquarters can still be visited in person to this day, although it might be a bit disappointing as it’s missing any vestige of its old charm. For better enjoyment of the location and its use in Bowfinger, check out the film again as it features brilliant performances by Martin and Murphy (their first appearance together in a film) and benefits from a diverse and equally humorous supporting cast. For film buffs and wannabee filmmakers out there, Bowfinger is a must-see. The commentary by director Frank Oz is probably one of the best film commentaries ever put on a DVD in that it clearly and concisely explains the intricacies of making a film, the creative choices that were made and also gives great insight into the collaborative work of the director (Oz) and writer (Martin). Also, don’t forget to check out the short action-movie parody at the end of the film – it’s hilarious.


A perfect location that completely defines the main character and his environment.

The Bowfinger home – A movie location that perfectly defines the main character and his environment.


There are three things that matter in filmmaking and television:

Location, Location, Location.

Exclusive to Beyond the Marquee, LOCATION, LOCATION, Location? is a popular recurring feature that chooses random filming locations from some famous (and not so famous) film and television productions throughout the years.  The locations are posted for BTM viewers to take a guess as to what movie or TV show the location was used.

The location as it looks NOW is posted on a Monday.  On Wednesday, the answer and THEN picture identifying the location as it was seen on the large or small screen is identified, usually with a brief history lesson to go with it. Some entries may be very easy to guess, others may be difficult and sometimes a clue will be given to help point people toward the right answer.

The goal is not to point out exact address information for these locations, but to encourage viewers to put on their own marquee’ologist hats and experience the thrill of the hunt to discover and visit these real world settings themselves.


Previous LOCATION, LOCATION, Location?  Entries can be found here:



Kevin Stern is a co-producer and contributing writer for Beyond the Marquee.  His articles can be found on BTM via this link:  http://beyondthemarquee.com/category/about-us/articles-by-author/kevin-stern/ 

Kevin can be reached via e-mail at: kstern129@gmail.com


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