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GLASS

Location and Filming
Brick Warehouses and Abandoned Hospitals
The Search for Glass architecture

As with almost all of Shyamalan's films, Glass was shot in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The two most critical locations that Shyamalan needed to find were a brick warehouse, where The Beast is holding the cheerleaders he intends to kill and where The Beast and David Dunn engage in an epic brawl, and a building that could become Raven Hill hospital, where most of Glass takes place.

To find the perfect locations, Shyamalan asked location manager STACI HAGENBAUGH, with whom he'd worked on his films The Happening, The Visit and Split, to begin the search.

"We probably scouted at least 25 potential brick factory options before we landed on one," Hagenbaugh says. "We were down to two, and ultimately the Frankford Arsenal, a former 19th century Army ammunition plant in northeast Philadelphia, was the one that won. That location was going to have so many different things going on: a lot of stunt work, a lot of visual effects work, and everything happening at the same time. Plus, there's a lot of interior and exterior interplay in that scene. Night was very adamant that he needed the exterior and interior to be able to work together. For me it was such an iconic location to be at because it hasn't been shot for a very long time. We were really excited to be there."

Sadly, that did not mean that shooting there was much fun for the actors, primarily because it involved a massive fight scene in the rain. "The action sequences in this movie are really on another level," says executive producer Schneider. McAvoy puts it in more concrete terms. "Being in the rain and doing the stunts at the brick factory, it was fun," he says. "But you're playing someone who's impervious to cold and you're standing in freezing rain with your shirt off going, 'I'M THE BEAST!,' When what you really feel like is a wimp who is freezing and whose nipples are harder than diamonds."

Making matters worse, McAvoy had to attack Willis while Willis was wearing a camera rig. "So Bruce had a camera on steel poles, and the poles were coming out the back of his costume," McAvoy says. "But thankfully Bruce is a gentle giant. He was lovely."

To find the location for Raven Hill Hospital, Hagenbaugh had an inside track on one that might fit the bill. "I had worked with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania before at a couple of their facilities, and I'd known that Allentown State Hospital was closed for a few years, but I had never seen any photos of it," she says. "As soon as I took one look at it, I knew that Night was going to love it for his movie." She sent him the photos that a colleague of hers had taken. "Within five my phone rang and Night was like, 'What is this place? We have to go see it!' A couple of days later we were there and that was that. He's such a visual person, and I think there was an immediate connection to the location once he walked inside."

It was so perfect, in fact, that it helped shape the film itself. "We found the hospital so early that Night was able to do some revisions to the script and write to the location, and to really tailor, visually, what was happening in the space," says producer Bienstock.

Shyamalan and Hagenbaugh spent a few days exploring the hospital, which had been a psychiatric hospital from 1913, when it opened, until it closed in 2010. At its peak in 1950 it housed more than 2,000 patients. "We started making a list of which areas he really wanted to put in the movie," Hagenbaugh says. "He found some areas that he loved and then wrote scenes especially for them."

One room that provided a particular bit of inspiration was a former day room for the patients. "It was painted a bright Pepto-Bismol pink; it was pretty incredible," Hagenbaugh says. "Night and Ashwin and I looked at it, and Night really responded to it, but there were some difficulties with actually shooting that room. So we ended up replicating that same look, that same pink room, in a room one floor below it." Indeed, it became perhaps the most pivotal room in the hospital, the room where Dr. Staple meets with Dunn, Price and Crumb together for their group sessions.

In some ways, the hospital itself set the tone for the entire film. Because it was the first location selected, Hagenbaugh says, it determined the visual direction of everything else. "We wanted all locations to have that same kind of vibe," she says. "Just a little bit eerie."

The cast and crew definitely felt that eerie vibe while shooting at the hospital.

"That's a spooky place to shoot," Jackson says. "Sometimes, going from the set to the bathroom, you had to do a lot of long walks by yourself down those hallways, make some turns and do some twists. It's a little creepy in there."

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