The Circle movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was The Circle filmed?

2017

About The Circle

The Circle (2017), directed by James Ponsoldt, is based on a novel by Dave Eggers of the same name. The Circle is a techno-thriller based on the social media and internet transparency, freedom, and social validation issues that society faces. The Circle pinpoints the fundamental problems of constant social proof and internet privacy in the modern world. The Circle had a huge premiere at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival.

Mae Holland (Emma Watson) is stuck in a call center job with a boring company when her friend, Annie (Karen Gillan), tells her that she has successfully set up an interview for Mae. Mae does quite well in her interview with tech and social media giant The Circle. Mae is excited about the new job and the pay grade since she wants to support her parents. Her father cannot work due to his medical condition, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and her mother assists the father.

At a company meeting, the CEO of The Circle, Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks), introduced new high-res cameras called SeeChange to provide real-time analytical HD video. This new tech leads to Congresswoman Olivia Santos (Judy Reyes) agreeing to open her political dealings, emails, phone calls, and more to the public for 'transparency.'

The COO of The Circle, Tom Stenton (Patton Oswalt), and Eamon Bailey help Mae find her way when she nearly drowns in a kayaking accident and is helped by the SeeChange cameras. They offer Mae a chance to discuss her experience with the rescue operation, wear a small SeeChange camera, and expose her life on social media 24/7. She readily agrees because she believes that transparency saved her life.

However, this move distances Mae from her parents, friends, and loved ones and damages her relationship with her friend, Mercer Regalado (Ellar Coltrane). Mae also makes suggestions in the board meeting that upset Annie and alienate her.

Eventually, Mae goes through a highly traumatic experience that leads her to devise a plan to expose Eamon Bailey and Tom Stenton and have them go 'public and transparent too.

City Locations

Pasadena, Los Angeles, California

Location Types

American, Contemporary, House, Modern, Automotive, Buildings/ Offices, Bars, Diners/ Coffee, Schools

Location Styles

Art Deco, Beachfront, Classic Car, Classic Truck, Creative Space, Helicopter, High Tech, Futuristic

The Circle Locations

The Circle film scenes were shot at different locations across the US. The majority of the filming locations were in California. The film shoot crew used key areas in California like the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, Manhattan Beach, California, Angeles Crest Highway, Altadena, and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. These iconic landmarks helped give viewers a sense of geographical tagging and allowed them to visualize the film with known places in the real world. Since most of the film dealt with hyper-real technology, software, and digital applications, the backdrop of the region and landmarks were critical in reminding people about the people element of the film.

Several areas of interest like the Googleplex complex and Meta Headquarters have been instrumental in the picturization of The Circle offices in the film. Even the theater scenes with Tom Hanks were pictured on Steve Jobs of Apple. The classic setting of a theater with employees who get a first glimpse of the latest tech was eerily like all the new launches that Steve Jobs would be part of.

Since most locations are easily accessible over a few days, visitors should consider making The Circle trip into a gastronomic one, pack some days in at the beaches, and breathe in the beautiful Californian weather.

Fun fact:

Even though The Circle did not become a hit, it grossed $40 million globally with a budget of $18 million. It also became director Ponsoldt's highest-grossing movie ever.

Mae talks on the phone while driving scene in The Circle

Angeles Crest Highway

Mae Holland (Emma Watson) is on her way for a job interview at The Circle and is talking to her friend Annie Allerton (Karen Gillan) while driving. Annie got Mae the job interview at The Circle. She is giving Mae a brief description of the job: "Remember, it's just customer experience. So, answer phones, help people, what you're already doing but now a real company." Mae is excited and says, "I know, it's perfect." Annie says, "Tons of people started there." Mae, still excited, says, "I know, I know. Thank you."

Annie gets exasperated, "Stop saying that. We're hiring a hundred people this month. One of them might as well be you. This doesn't mean you're in. You have to kill the interview. Know The Circle inside out. I'm back next week. By then you'll be hired if you kill the interview." Mae is overwhelmed and responds, "Right, good."

The only way to get to this highway is if visitors drive through since it is not possible to visit The Circle location without a car. To get here from San Francisco, turn left onto CA-2, Angeles Crest Hwy. You can see the surrounding landmarks against those shown in The Circle. However, the rise of the circle building is inserted via CGI, so you would not be able to see the circular behemoth.

Mae gets a tour of the new office space scene in The Circle

Googleplex Palo Alto, inspiration

Mae Holland gets the new job at The Circle. On her first day there, Mae's friend Annie shows her around and tries to get Mae acquainted with the vastness of the office complexes and rec areas. Annie takes off, "Alright, heliport, gym, daycare, organic farm, petanque." Mae is confused and asks, "Petanque?" Annie giggles and says, "It's like bocce, but French."

Annie continues, all excited, "Tetherball, lap pool, social pool, doga (yoga with dogs). Kennel, nightclub, salon, maker space, rock climbing, trampoline, clinic, volleyball." They walk a little ahead and see a few Tibetan monks walking past. However, Annie continues, "Content people, news, arts, film, engineers, management and me, advertising and you." Saying this, she points to a beautiful glass and white building. She then takes Mae through an elevator where the interior is synced to sensors that read IDs and show photographs of people from their individual social accounts as a way of saying 'Hello.'

Many viewers felt this was one of the best scenes in The Circle. While this filming was part of a set, the inspiration for the offices of The Circle was taken from the corporate headquarters of Googleplex, Meta, and more. To get here, hop onto bus number 40 and get off at the Charleston and Google (W) stop. From this bus stop, you can walk for 5 minutes to reach the entrance.

Mae explains the significance of the art sculpture piece scene in The Circle

Art Center College of Design, Pasadena

In this scene, Mae Holland speaks to her followers on her live feed. She is walking them through The Circle campus and comes across an art sculpture that many followers have been asking her about. Mae walks towards the metallic art sculpture with suspended handcuffs.

Mae explains, "A lot of you guys have been asking me about this sculpture, which is a treat for me. I finally get to use my art history degree. This was made by an artist who has frequently been in trouble in his own country. I wanna thank all the watchers who sent frowns to the government there, both for their persecution of the artist and for their restriction on Internet freedoms. We have sent 180 million frowns from the US alone. You can bet that's gonna have an effect on the regime."

This scene was shot with the help of green screens for the background and greenery from the location to ensure that the Circle office building is seen in the background. To get to this gorgeous The Circle filming location, hop onto Metro Gold Line, get off at Filmore, and walk for approximately 5 minutes to reach the college.

Mae and Mercer arguing about the death threats scene in The Circle

Skyview Capital, Los Angeles

Mae Holland (Emma Watson) puts up a picture on The Circle social media about how her friend Mercer Regalado (Ellar Coltrane) makes beautiful chandeliers out of deer antlers. While she does this to help her friend, the entire thing backfires, and Mercer starts receiving death threats from people who think he kills the deer to make the chandelier. As a result, Mercer comes to Mae's office to discuss it with her.

Mercer corners her and tells her, "The stuff you posted about my work.." Mae asks, "The chandeliers?" He says, "Yea, I know you meant well, but they started calling me a deer killer. There's a campaign to shut me down. I wasn't even online. I was working. And when I checked my email, there were death threats." Mae says she's sorry, but Mercer looks at her horrified, "Death threats, Mae!"

This filming location of The Circle is the incredibly popular Skyview Capital building at 2000 Avenue of the Stars in Los Angeles. Get here, click some fabulous pictures, catch the number 4 Downtown LA-Broadway-Venice bus, and get off at Santa Monica/ Ave of the Stars.

Mae is crying while kayaking scene in The Circle

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Mae is heartbroken and goes kayaking alone, where she is crying in her kayak in front of the Golden Gate Bridge. Just before this scene, she is at a gathering with her parents, and they are talking about how Mercer's antler chandelier business is doing well. They are trying to get her to date Mercer for a while because they feel he is a nice boy. Mae tries to avoid the topic each time and changes the subject. She says, "Did I tell you I'm up to an 87 so far? They say that's pretty good for a guppy."

Hearing this, her father chuckles and asks, "Who's a guppy?" He suddenly gets uneasy and asks Mae's mother to help him. As he gets up, his pants are soiled. Mae feels extremely sad about his MS (Multiple Sclerosis) medical condition and that she can't do anything about it. Even the medical bills are rising, and insurance isn't helping.

Out of all The Circle locations, this famous landmark needs no introduction. The famous Golden Gate Bridge is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. To get to the bridge, hop onto the 101 bus and get off at Golden Gate Bridge Toll Plaza stop. Walk for a minute to Vista Point. This is one of the greatest vantage points for the Golden Gate bridge.

Mercer drives on the bridge and the tragic accident scene in The Circle

Breakneck Canyon, LA County

As Mae climbs the corporate ladder in The Circle, she presents new technology in front of her colleagues in a theater. It's called Soul Search and helps in finding people within 20 minutes. While the first random example is a success, she realizes she has made a huge mistake by allowing her colleagues to dictate they should find her friend, Mercer, using the new 'Soul Search.'

People immediately triangulate Mercer, and he is swamped by drones and small cameras, causing a scare. He zips into his pick-up truck and drives out at breakneck speed, trying to escape, yet he is followed relentlessly. Mae speaks to him through the camera devices and tries to calm him down, "Mercer. Mercer, stop driving. It's just me. Mercer, stop the truck. You're surrounded by friends." Mercer doesn't listen to her, and the drone comes in front of his car while he is on a bridge. He swerves to avoid it and ends up going over the railing with his truck and plummeting to his untimely death.

While there aren't many The Circle action scenes, this tragic one was shot at Breakneck Canyon in Los Angeles County. The bridge is beautiful, and people do not go off it. The security and safety features are excellent. Visitors can get here by taking the CA-70 N to Retson Rd. Once you get to Retson Rd, take the exit onto the R Line.

Conclusion

The Circle was an eye-opener for many audiences, and it put to screen what most people are thinking about – the lack of internet privacy. The perils of social being online and allowing strangers to view all aspects of your life can result in harassment, judgment, unnecessary public prosecution, and publicizing your personal matters for harsh criticisms.

Audiences enjoyed watching the movie, but many felt the movie lacked more force about the real issues. The actors did a fantastic job in the film, and the filming locations, geographical shots, and landmarks corroborated well with the movie's premise. However, the highlighted issues were not on-point, and viewers found a crushing lack of suspense that thrillers are known for, which is why The Circle did not do well at the Box Office.

The Circle production team has done a fabulous job with the technology, filming locations, actors, and showcasing the overall grimness of the situation. The locations, scenes, greenery mixed with technology, and the ecological balance make the movie stand out from many others.