Training Day | 2001
All-round good guy Denzel Washington takes on an the role of irredeemably corrupt cop Alonzo Harris, (originally written as Latino), and is rewarded with an Oscar.
The drama of cynicism and street-level realpolitik is set over 24 hours in a scruffy, urban Los Angeles. “All the locations are real.”, says production designer Naomi Shohan, “All the interiors done on stage were taken from the locations and researched in the neighbourhoods with the help of the residents. We sort of became urban anthropologists.”
Seasoned veteran Alonzo toys with rookie Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke) in the familiar Quality Coffee Shop, 1238 West Seventh Street, downtown, seen also in Se7en, Mr & Mrs Smith, Ghost World and the 2000 remake of Gone In 60 Seconds.
The pair head out to Alonzo’s snazzy customised 1978 Chevy Monte Carlo, parked in the lot across West Seventh, and are soon having fun scaring the bejasus out of a VW full of college kids at the graffiti-emblazoned junction of Beverly Boulevard and Second Street and Toluca Street, just northwest of downtown (alongside the spot where Mr Orange rehearses his cover story in Reservoir Dogs). Jake unwittingly starts to get sucked into Alonzo’s plan with a powerful hit of PCP as they drive north on Glendale Boulevard, past Echo Park.
Jake gets a taste of work on the streets, cruising Crenshaw Boulevard, chasing Blue (Snoop Dogg) into Parisian Wigs, 4102 Crenshaw Boulevard at Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard, Leimert Park.
He gets sidelined, though, as Alonzo meets up with the ‘three wise men’ in the Pacific Dining Car, 1310 West Sixth Street, at Witmer Street just west of downtown. Pretty unprepossessing from the outside, the restaurant has been serving up steaks since 1921. Don’t confuse it with the newer branch in Santa Monica.
The house of drug dealer Roger (Scott Glenn), where Jake finds himself set up as the fall guy, is 1031 Everett Street, on the tiny green patch of Everett Park, off Sunset Boulevard, southwest of Elysian Park. The same house crops up again as the home of Alison Lohman in Sam Raimi’s Drag Me To Hell.
The drive for authenticity led to some pretty dodgy areas of South Central LA – so visiting is not advised. With the support of the local community, the production got unprecedented cooperation from local gangs, allowing filming for the first time in areas of Crenshaw; Hawthorne, and Rampart (home of the infamous LA police corruption scandal which inspired the movie). The Sandman’s apartment, where Alonzo serves a fake warrant on Macy Gray, is in the Imperial Courts Housing Project, Croesus Avenue at Imperial Highway, Watts.
‘The Jungle’ (“You don’t come in here with anything less than a platoon”) got its nickname, despite what you might assume, from the lush plantings of early developers. Officially Baldwin Village, it’s the area south of Coliseum Street between South La Brea Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard.
The dead-end street on which Alonzo finally finds himself without friends is Palmwood Drive, off Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard.