With its jaw-dropping grandeur, it’s no surprise that Budapest is one of Hollywood’s favourite backdrops. And on October 6th the Hungarian capital will hit the silver screen once again, as one of the locations for box office smash Blade Runner 2049.
Of course, if you’ve seen the original movie you’ll know the grand, renaissance architecture and cobbled streets of Budapest aren’t exactly Blade Runner’s style. Set in a dystopian, technologically advanced Los Angeles in the year 2019, the first film’s setting couldn’t have borne less resemblance to the banks of the Danube. So where does Budapest fit in with this highly anticipated sequel?
Budapest Meets Blade Runner
Picking up exactly 30 years from where it left the story, Blade Runner 2049 is set to retain a dark and dangerous future – with LA as its setting. As such, almost all of its scenes involve more than a little digital trickery, with the green screen no doubt having had plenty of use over at Korda Studios, a facility just outside central Budapest.
But before you write off this city’s presence in the blockbuster – take a closer look. While many of the film’s backdrops are digitally produced, plenty of Budapest makes the cut; albeit looking like we’ve never seen it before. In the trailer alone, we see protagonist ‘Officer K’ (Ryan Gosling) climb the stairs at the city’s Stock Exchange Building in Szabadság Square. With moody orange lighting and Korean lettering adorning its windows, it looks a world away from the elegant Budapest we know and love.
Hollywood superstar Gosling only had great things to say about Budapest, commenting that it is a ‘beautiful place’. We agree, Ryan!
Budapest and the Movies: Other Blockbusters Filmed in the Hungarian Capital
Of course, Budapest was selected for Blade Runner 2049 because it’s already highly regarded over in Hollywood. Whether it’s being itself, dressing up as another city or imitating something out of this world, here are three other movies that put the Hungarian capital to good use.
The hilariously funny Melissa McCarthy hit sees her play a desk-dwelling CIA agent suddenly sent to chase some very bad people across Europe. Of course, shifting filming around the continent isn’t cheap. Instead, Budapest cleverly disguises itself as both Paris and Rome throughout the film’s plot.
We all remember Madonna’s turn as Argentinian icon Eva Perón. For accuracy, the film flew out to the real locations that touched and forged Evita’s life, from her birthplace to the president’s mansion. But for major city scenes where total accuracy wasn’t required, Budapest stood in for Argentina’s capital; particularly for the famous funeral scene.
A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)
As his plot-busting antics continue, John McClane is becoming quite the globetrotter. For the franchise’s fifth instalment, he heads to Russia to get his son out of jail, with the streets of Budapest standing in again, this time for Moscow.
The third instalment of the Da Vinci Code series saw Tom Hanks reprise his role as Robert Langdon, in yet another silver screen take on Dan Brown’s iconic novels. While much of the filming took place in Florence, it wrapped up over in Budapest, with its base at the same studios as 2049’s. Among the city’s landmarks to make the cut was Keleti Train Station, which played host to a hazy flashback scene.
Whether one of these movies’ spectacular backdrops have got you excited, or the glimpses you got in Blade Runner 2049 have whet your appetite, make the trip with flights to Budapest from Manchester Airport.