With its distinct architecture and relatively close proximity to Hollywood, Cal Poly Pomona has been used as a filming location for various productions over the past few decades. Thanks to the futuristic buildings, many of the movies, television shows and commercials shot here on campus have been science fiction or otherwise ultramodern. 

The space-agey CLA Building has grabbed the attention of multiple productions over the years, most of which have used the building for establishing exterior shots.

“Gattaca” (1997)

“Gattaca,” released in 1997 and starring Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, set in “the not so distant future,” is a science fiction film that features the CLA quite prominently. 

The CLA acts as the exterior of the house of Hawke’s character Vincent Freeman. Although the movie didn’t do well at the box office, it has since become a cult favorite, and was even mentioned as being a remarkably realistic science fiction film by NASA.

The exterior of the CLA has been used as a shooting location for various productions. (Christina Manuel | The Poly Post)

“Imposter” (2002)

Another movie that features the CLA is the 2002 science fiction film “Imposter.” Based on the 1953 novel of the same name by Philip K. Dick, the movie is set in 2079 and stars Gary Sinise, Madeleine Stowe, Vincent D’Onofrio and Mekhi Phifer. 

The film used both establishing exterior shots and close-up shots of the stairwells and walkways. 

The most interesting thing about this particular production is the way the CLA was edited; it was digitally altered and multiplied to create a sort of “super CLA” consisting of multiple peaks. 

“Westworld” (2016)

The most recent and perhaps the most prominent production to film on campus is the HBO television series “Westworld.” The show filmed a few scenes of its first season in the atrium of the College of Environmental Design, aka Building 7. 

Loosely based on the 1973 movie of the same name, the show is set in the future at a sprawling western-themed amusement park populated by hyper-realist robots. The show features an ensemble cast including Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, James Marsden and Anthony Hopkins. 

The atrium is used for the design laboratory of the robot characters, and features a scene with Anthony Hopkins. The critically acclaimed series is currently still running and has been renewed for a third season.

The interior of the College of Environmental Design has been used as a filming location for the first season of the HBO science fiction series Westworld. (Brian Sease | The Poly Post)
(Courtesy of HBO)

Other productions that featured Cal Poly Pomona include the 1964 film, “The Sandpiper,” starring Elizabeth Taylor, which was filmed on the Voorhis Campus and was reported on by The Poly Post at the time. 

The scene featured Taylor and her co-star Richard Burton driving in a Jeep. Cal Poly was also in a 2007 Acura advertisement where the CLA was featured as a backdrop, and the 1926 film “The Son of Sheik,” where one of Kellogg’s Arabian horses, Jadaan, was featured in a movie for the very first time, ridden by actor Rudolph Valentino.

For now, only time can tell whether our campus has a future in Hollywood film settings.

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