The post-Oscar buzz has likely reached your office desk over the past few days. You have probably overheard the break room chatter. Who showed up with whom? Did George Clooney match his world peace accolades with a shiny gold trophy? Will Amy Adams outdo her 2005 Caroline Herrera getup with an ‘Enchanted’ fairytale gown? Oh, and who won the award for Best Sound Mixing? Right.
Whether you are willing to admit it to your co-workers or not, you do hold a place in your heart for Hollywood glamour. Many of you are still recovering from the all-nighter you pulled in order to catch a live feed of the 80th Annual Academy Awards. Some of you have since wasted hours of valuable work/Facebook time ogling red carpet wire images and fashionista ratings. Let’s face it, a noteworthy portion of your Google searches are dedicated to pop culture happenings (after all, how did you end up here?) .
More significantly, you may even dream of one day journeying to the motherland of fame and fortune—strolling down Rodeo Drive, embarking on a behind-the-scenes tour, and, if you’re lucky, spotting a celebrity or two in person.
It is here that I provide some new inspiration for adventure-seeking film buffs. Why not replace your celeb-stalking hour with a bit of online travel planning? A rapidly increasing number of Hollywood films are being made in beautiful and exotic destinations across North America and around the world. With some research and careful budgeting, you could turn your next trip abroad into a personalized, unique ‘Hollywood’ tour—without having to brave the Los Angeles freeway in a cheap rental car. I can get you started now with a few suggestions:
Some new frontiers for film lovers…
The American South: Berendt’s Mysteries Unveiled
If the U.S. is your vacation playground, you may want to forgo the usual big city jaunt for bit of southern charm. Savannah, Georgia is arguably the friendliest and most picturesque city in the country; over sixty motion pictures have been filmed amidst its captivating tree lined streets and majestic antebellum mansions. Take a guided bus tour and search for sites from Forrest Gump, Cape Fear and, most famously, John Berendt’s novel-turned-blockbuster film: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Trace the murder mystery plot (based on true occurrences) by visiting the Mercer House, former home of the legendary Jim Williams, and catch a performance by the real “Lady Chablis” at Club One. If you’re lucky, you may encounter other book and movie characters—old acquaintances of Berendt’s—who still reside in Savannah today.
Enchanting Oxford: Hogwarts Mania
If you want to color your escapade with a bit of history, I suggest a visit to the ‘dreaming spires’ of Oxford, UK, former home of C.S. Lewis, Oscar Wilde and T.E. Lawrence (just to name a few). With its well-preserved buildings, unchanging academic traditions and authentic English pubs, this enchanting intellectual hub truly feels like a fourteenth century period film set. If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you have likely already spotted some of the city’s captivating Gothic Revival architecture on the big screen: take the hop on hop off bus tour and stop at Christ Church College, the most grandiose of the city’s thirty-six colleges and home of ‘Hogwarts’ Hall. Venture across the famous Tom Quad (where you would have recently spotted Nicole Kidman in a sparkling evening gown during the making of The Golden Compass) until you reach the landmark of all landmarks—the college’s grand, portrait line Great Hall, as replicated for the famous Harry Potter dining scenes.
A Trek Through History: Famous Footsteps in Jordan
Perhaps you prefer something more daring. Much like T.E. Lawrence during his Oxford Then why not follow the brave, controversial footsteps of this scholar-turned-soldier and travel east to Jordan, where you will experience the ancient sites and breathtaking desert landscapes described in his autobiography and pictured in David Lean’s film, Lawrence of Arabia. Begin your tour in the ‘Rose Red’ city of Petra, where you will be fascinated by the sandstone whirls of burnt red, yellow, white and deep brown, which have been so remarkably preserved in the intricately carved facades for thousands of years. Venture out on a Beduoin Jeep Tour through Wadi Rum, and explore vast expanses of desert valley: you will immediately realize why Lean was so inspired to travel abroad in the production of his 1962 award-winning film. days, you are hungry for new sights and uncharted territory.
Whether you’re into drama, fantasy or history, chances are that you can transform your film fetish into a unique and exciting travel itinerary. Let the red carpet gossip inspire you: it’s time to design your own Hollywood adventure. In the words of Juno’s Ellen Page: “Dream Big!!”
Other suggested film tours:
The Hollywood in Tunisia Tour, locations for Star Wars and The English Patient.
The Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg, Austria.
The Schindler’s List Tour in Krakow, Poland.
Tour of Ouarzazate, Morocco, location for Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven and Babel.
Universal Studios in Los Angeles.