William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet | 1996
Baz Luhrmann’s brashly imaginative and hugely successful reinvention of the Shakespeare play sets the action in ‘Verona Beach’, seemingly in ‘Miami, but was made at the famous Churubusco Studios in Mexico City.
The aerial shot of ‘Verona’ is the Zona Rosa business and shopping district of Mexico City. The Ángel de la Independencia monument towering above the roundabout on Paseo de la Reforma is digitally replaced with that enormous statue of Christ.
Cheekily, the Sheraton Mexico City Maria Isabel Hotel, Paseo de la Reforma 325, is rebranded as the 'Capulet' HQ tower block. On the opposite corner, the Banorte Bank tower became the 'Montague' HQ.
The Capulet’s family mansion, where Romeo (Leonardo DiCaprio) first glimpses Juliet (Claire Danes) is Castillo de Chapultepec (Chapultepec Palace) in Chapultepec Park, Mexico City. Built over the period 1780 to 1840, this was the summer house of Mexican presidents until 1940. It now houses the National History Museum.
‘Sycamore Grove’, the beachfront resort where the younger members of the rival families hang out, and where the killing of Mercutio (Harold Perrineau) triggers off the tragedy, is Boca del Rio, Veracruz, on the Gulf of Mexico, about 200 miles east of Mexico City. That ruined theatre proscenium was built just for the film.
After the death of Tybalt (John Leguizamo), Romeo’s banishment sees him holed up in a trailer in the barren badlands of Texcoco, northeast of Mexico City.
‘St Peter’s’, the Modern Brutalist-Gothic concrete church, where Romeo and Juliet wed in secret and where they die together, is the Iglesia del Purísimo Corazón de María (Immaculate Heart of Mary Church), Calle Gabriel Mancera 415, Colonia del Valle, a neighbourhood in the Benito Juarez borough southwest of Mexico City.