Evolution movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was Evolution filmed?

2001

About Evolution

Alien life is about to arrive on Earth and things are about to get very, very weird — that pretty much sums up the plot of Evolution, a 2001 comedy with an all-star cast such as David Duchovny and Julianne Moore.

This rollicking action adventure begins with a huge meteor crashing down in the middle of the Arizona desert at night. Trainee firefighter Wayne (Seann William Scott) witnesses the fiery impact, narrowly escaping with his life.

The next day, two scientists from the local community college, Ira Kane (Duchovny) and Harry Block (Orlando Jones) head out to investigate the crash site. What they find is truly alarming: the meteor crashed into an underground cavern and harbors extraterrestrial life. But it’s not quite life as we know it, as the microorganisms on board can complete millions of years worth of evolution within hours.

Just a couple of days later, the alien microorganisms have evolved into aquatic lifeforms, and it’s not long before the military arrives and quarantines the site. The army, led by General Woodman (Ted Levine) and Dr. Allison Reed (Julianne Moore), attempt to contain the rapidly evolving alien life forms, but their efforts prove futile.

Not only have the extraterrestrials evolved into all manner of terrifying and violent creatures, but those creatures are escaping through other caverns and wreaking havoc in a nearby town. As freakish reptiles and amphibians attack innocent civilians, and a dragon-like beast goes on a rampage at a shopping mall, Woodman believes the only solution is to launch a napalm strike on the cavern and the surrounding town.

But when Ira and Allison discover that heat activates the extraterrestrials’ evolutionary process, they realize that such a strike will be disastrous. Of course, if they’re going to overcome the might of the military, defeat the aliens, and save their town, they’re going to need all the help they can get.

Evolution is a fun and fast-paced comedy with action and laughs aplenty. And if you’d like to see where some of the best scenes in Evolution were filmed, you can. We’ve gathered together a selection of Evolution locations and memorable scenes below (spoiler alert!), so keep reading for details on how to check them out for yourself.

City Locations

Arizona; Los Angeles, California

Location Types

American, NatureScapes, Retail, Schools/Colleges

Location Styles

Desert

Evolution Locations

Want to visit the filming location of Evolution? You’ll need to start your adventure in Arizona, where the meteor crashes to earth.

The desert scenes were shot in the town of Page, which sits on the shores of Lake Powell in northern Arizona. The town has a population of just over 7,000 and was also used to film scenes for the ape-run planet in 1968’s Planet of the Apes. Lake View Primary School in Page features in Evolution as the site where the military prepare to launch a napalm strike on the aliens.

However, the rest of your Evolution location scouting adventure will take place in California. Many scenes for the movie were shot at a variety of spots around Los Angeles, including California State University in Fullerton, SouthBay Pavilion Mall in Carson, and Hawthorne Plaza.

Fun fact:

David Duchovny said no to a part in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones so he could appear in Evolution.

Ira and Harry visit the crash site scene in Evolution

Coyote Creek Road, Page, AZ

After hearing the news of the meteor crash, Ira and Harry head out to the site to investigate. As they arrive, Wayne watches in horror as his wrecked car is put back on its wheels and demands to know who will pay for the damage.

Confronted by the sheriff, Harry introduces himself as being from the United States Geological Survey, with Ira his secretary. “We’re here to investigate the meteor if, indeed, that is what it is,” he says. “Of course, it’s a damn meteor, it almost blew up my damn car,” Wayne interjects angrily.

The sheriff again quizzes Wayne about what he was doing in the desert in the middle of the night. Understandably, he doesn’t completely buy Wayne’s story about practicing for his fireman’s exam, especially when there’s a blonde mannikin at his feet. “So, you and the blonde found the meteor?” Ira asks, gesturing at the dummy, before he and Harry approach the crash site.

This scene was shot in Page, Arizona, in a neighborhood that has since been developed. You can find this spot on Coyote Creek Road, just a couple of miles north of the town center.

Shopping mall scene in Evolution

SouthBay Pavilion Mall, 20700 Avalon Blvd, Carson, CA

Ira and Harry know that the extraterrestrials represent a serious threat, but they’re having trouble convincing the military hierarchy of that fact. Despite a number of aliens escaping and terrorizing the town, the army still thinks they can contain the problem.

They’re about to be proved completely wrong, as Ira, Harry, and Wayne witness the hatching of a winged, dragon-like creature in the desert. They’re alarmed to realize it’s oxygen tolerant and frightened even further when it flaps its wings and takes to the sky. “It’s flying away. Is that a bad thing?” Harry asks. “Only if you’re a human being,” says a panicked Ira.

Meanwhile, at a nearby shopping mall, a bickering older couple are shopping for clothing when the dragon crashes through the window, sending shattered glass flying in all directions. As terrified shoppers run for their lives, Ira, Harry, and Wayne arrive, arm themselves with guns, and watch in alarm as the alien flies past with a screaming shopper clutched in its claws.

After Wayne’s singing attracts the monster, Ira hatches a plan. “You grab the girl, I’ll get the bird,” he tells Harry, before they carry out a daring rescue.

This Evolution filming location is actually a couple of sites in the LA area. The exterior of the mall is SouthBay Pavilion Mall, which is found on Avalon Boulevard in Carson, while the interior scenes were filmed in Hawthorne Plaza on Hawthorne Boulevard.

Napalm scene in Evolution

Lake View Primary School, 1801 N Navajo Dr, Page, AZ

Ira and Allison know that heat triggers the aliens’ evolution, and that attacking them with napalm would be a disaster. They warn the General of their fears, but he refuses to listen. So, while our heroes prepare to combat the aliens with selenium, an ingredient in Head & Shoulders shampoo, the army pushes forward with its plans to blast the aliens to kingdom come.

As they prepare to launch their attack from an army operating post, the General is surprised to see Governor Lewis (Dan Aykroyd) arrive. “I don’t see anything burning. Where are all the explosions, the Governor asks brusquely. The General explains that the operation is about to get underway, but he didn’t know that Lewis was coming to see the show.

“You damn well better make it a good one, Sergeant,” he says. When Woodman corrects the other man and informs him the correct title is General, the Governor’s response is blunt: “Not if you screw this up.”

This Evolution film shoot location is Lake View Primary School in Page, Arizona. You can find it at 1801 North Navajo Drive on the north side of town.

Conclusion

There’s a real Ghostbusters-like feel to Evolution that makes it very easy to like. Though it was originally written as a sci-fi thriller, we reckon the transition to an action-comedy works perfectly. We love the subtle references to Duchovny’s alter ego on the X-Files, and the fact that you’ll never look at anti-dandruff shampoo the same way again after watching this film.

Best of all, there’s nothing to stop you from hitting the road and checking a few memorable Evolution locations for yourself. But if you’re in the Arizona desert and you see a meteor headed your way, it’s probably best to flee as fast as you can in the opposite direction.