Where was fences filmed? All filming locations explained

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  • Filming for the Denzel Washington film Fences took place in Pittsburgh, using various locations throughout the city to bring the story to life.
  • The film mainly focuses on the Maxon family’s struggles within their home, using a small brick house in the Hill District as the main set.
  • Even though the film mostly takes place in one area, shooting in Pittsburgh added a sense of realism and provided the city’s working-class urban feel as a supporting character.

While many films have resorted to filming scenes on sets or using extensive CGI, Denzel Washington’s film, Fences was filmed using locations in Pittsburgh as the basis for this character and dialogue-driven drama. Based on the play of the same name, Fences follows Troy Maxon, played by Denzel Washington, and his family’s troubles set in the 1950s. More bitter after not being able to pursue his dreams of becoming a professional football player, when an opportunity presents itself for his son to play college football, Troy destroys this opportunity.

Fences received mostly positive reviews, even winning some awards praising various aspects of the film. Most important was his focus on character-driven storytelling in a single setting, a carryover from his time as a play. That being the case, that meant most of the film would be shot in one location. While this type of drama and cinema would be well suited for filming on set or stage, Denzel brings the shows to life using the working class urban atmosphere of Pittsburgh as a small but effective supporting character. Most of the film uses a house in an urban area as well as various locations throughout the city as the main backdrop for Troy Maxon’s struggle with his son.

Wabash Street, Pittsburgh, PA

Fences #4

During Troy’s time on the job as a garbage collector, audiences get a glimpse into his day-to-day life as well as one of the rare times a film ventures outside the house. In this scene, the film shows different parts of Pittsburgh, but specifically, these scenes were shot on Wabash Street, explained by World film location. One quick look and viewers will see the Granville Hotel in the background, another place to visit with its own unique history. Even if it is only seen for a short time, it is a great piece of culture and a connection found in the area gives a sense of authenticity to the environment.

Hill District, Pittsburgh, PA

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Just like the play, Fences takes place mostly in one place, Maxon’s home. When it came time to shoot the movie, it would be filmed in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (via Pittsburgh Journal). On Anaheim Street, the small brick house would be their home and was where many of the scenes were shot. Looking at the house, it’s clear that some work was done on it when he saw the final result, but the house is mostly as shown in the film.

Related: Are Fences Based on a True Story?

2409 Wylie Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA

Fences #2

In one of the rare moments that the film leaves the Maxons’ home, Troy goes to a bar where he and Bono, played by Stephen McKinley Henderson, talk a little about what ‘ go in their lives. Despite showing off the interior only, Shirl the Pearl’s is a true Pittsburgh spot where one can still grab a drink or two. Located at 2409 Wylie Avenue, the building is still there, but it’s hard to say how much it has changed since then. Fences it was filmed there.

Fences it is very much a character driven story that explores the struggles of a working class family and their home as they deal with deep feelings of jealousy and anger. Although it only showed a few locations outside the house, hunting in Pittsburgh helped bring the environment to life with its natural history built into the walls of the Maxon home and came becomes a character in itself. Fences It is a good example of character drama supported by the feeling and appearance of a town that shows hardship and struggle.

Sources: World film location, Pittsburgh Journal

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