21 Jump Street

Interesting 21 Jump Street Filming Locations

By:Sarah Schmidt
Staff Writer

March 30, 2012

If the title 21 Jump Street sounds familiar, that’s because it’s also the name of a TV show that aired from 1987-1991. Starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, the movie, based loosely on the show, follows two guys in their twenties who were at opposite ends of the social latter in high school. Schmidt, the nerdy kid, and Jenko, the popular jock, run into each other at the same police academy seven years after high school. Combining Schmidt’s smarts and Jenko’s athleticism makes them best friends as well as partners. After failing to properly arrest their first criminal, they are sent to 21 Jump Street, an undercover program that sends them back to high school to bust a drug ring, which leads to desperate attempts to get popular, parties, school plays, and high-speed chases.

The film was shot entirely in New Orleans, LA, but despite the iconic scenery in that well-known city, it was very important that the scenes shot in the film did not blatantly reveal the location. The reason for this is that the premise of the story (starting in the TV show) is “Anywhere, U.S.A.”, so the location finder had to choose places that looked like they could be anywhere. Therefore, they avoided revival houses, the Mississippi River, and the Superdome. However, an observant eye can see clues that the film was shot in New Orleans, and filming in LA was far from boring.

Interesting 21 Jump Street Filming Locations:

• 21 Jump Street is the address of the office for the undercover operation and is actually a church. Its comical name in the movie is Aroma of Christ Church, but its real name is St. James AME Church. Established in 1844, the church had recently been renovated before the film crew came. Despite a fresh coat of paint, the crew painted the church “dirty” to make it look derelict for the film, but kindly painted the church white again before they left.

• In the beginning of the film when they fail to make their first arrest, they were riding their police bikes around Metairie’s Lafreniere Park. The park was founded in 1972 and the gorgeous lagoon with an arching fountain, elaborate gazebo, and the wide bike path is the focus in this scene.

• Of course a lot of scenes in this movie prompted the need for a high school and there were four high school filming locations featured in this film. The typical American Riverdale High School was used for the opening scene of the movie set in 2005—they showed a panoramic view of the front of the school and a hallway of lockers where Schmidt was rejected after asking a girl to prom.

• West Jefferson High was used for the first day fight scene, play tryouts, drug exchange, bathroom scene, the scene with the principal, and the science class scenes. It was 95 degrees during filming at this school. The cast and crew spent one week at Belle Chasse High School where the band room and science experiment scenes were filmed. Grace King High School was featured because they had the best auditorium and the play scene was done here.

Some of my favorite scenes in the movie were the high speed car chases. The first one is in broad daylight when Schmidt spots the drug dealer and his supplier making a handoff in front of the school. They steal a couple of cars before crashing them both and end up in a pink VW Bug.

• This comical scene with Jenko being the tough guy and Schmidt in a Peter Pan costume takes place on the Crescent City Connection in New Orleans. This highway bridge goes over the Mississippi and was also used in movies like Déjà Vu and A Love Song for Bobby Long. The 8 lane highway, which opened in 1958, was partially closed down in this area for five days of filming. Attractive skylines, bright lighting, and bold gun-shooting sequences make this one of the most intense parts of the film.

• The final chase scene in a limo that results in all the arrests takes place at night in the Central Business District of New Orleans near Perdido Street. Part of the French Quarter, this area features vibrant tall apartment buildings and busy bright-lit streets. This specific area of New Orleans has been chosen by several location finders because of its lively nightlife.

All of these Filming Locations are an excellent backdrop to hilarious scenes that make up this goofy comedy. Here are a few more trivia facts you may not know about the movie:

- Emma Stone was considered for the female lead, but had to drop out due to conflicts with another movie.

- Johnny Depp, who appeared in the TV series, is seen in the park in disguise as a biker eating a jar of peanut butter.

- Jonah Hill lost over 40 lbs for his role because of all the demanding stunts he had to do.

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