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Wednesday April 17th 2024

X-Men Origins: Wolverine | 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine location: Stirling Falls, Milford Sound, New Zealand
X-Men Origins: Wolverine location: Wolverine escapes from the ‘Alkali Lake’ facility: Stirling Falls, Milford Sound, New Zealand | Photograph: Wikimedia / Bernard Spragg

The locations for X-Men Origins: Wolverine are shared between British Columbia, Canada; New South Wales in Australia; and New Zealand.

The production was based at Fox Studios in Sydney, New South Wales, which is where the childhood home of young James was built.

After killing the man he subsequently finds out was his father, James and his brother Victor run away through Pine Grove on Loch Avenue in the heart of Sydney’s Centennial Park.

The pair grow up to become Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber, surviving a succession of wars, including the ‘D-Day landing’, which was filmed on the coast way to the north of Sydney, on Blacksmiths Beach, 15 miles south of Newcastle, a suburb of the city of Lake Macquarie.

James becomes aware that Victor seems to be enjoying the carnage a little too much as they both end up facing a firing squad after an unpleasant incident in ‘Vietnam’. The prison compound is the old Callan Park Hospital, a former asylum now part of the campus of Sydney College of the Arts, the visual arts faculty of the University of Sydney, at Rozelle.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine location: Buchanan Tower, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
X-Men Origins: Wolverine location: the raid on the ‘Lagos’ compound: Buchanan Tower, University of British Columbia, Vancouver | Photograph: wikimedia / Xicotencatl

Surviving the execution, James and Victor come to the attention of Major Stryker (Danny Huston), who recruits them as part of a covert mutant task force, Team X.

The team’s raid in ‘Nigeria’ to acquire a mysterious meteorite was filmed in Canada. The ‘Lagos’ highrise is the 12-storey Buchanan Tower, 1873 East Mall Road, on the campus of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia.

Confusingly, when the disillusioned James walks away from the team and retreats to a home in the ‘Canadian Rockies’, the dramatic mountain range is actually on the South Island of New Zealand.

The remote cabin of James – now living as Logan – was built on the peak of Deer Park Heights, on the peninsula just south of Queenstown, and the mountains overlooking it are the Remarkables at Otago, which have become a popular ski resort.

Unfortunately, Deer Park Heights which used to be open to the public, has now closed indefinitely.

The apparently nearby road on which Kayla Silverfox (Lynn Collins) defuses a tense situation between Logan and a couple of belligerent motorists, really is in Canada – it’s a remote stretch of road in Stanley Park, which occupies the peninsula north of downtown Vancouver.

The carnival sideshow in ‘Springfield, Ohio’ where Victor Creed catches up with Bolt (Dominic Monaghan), was set up alongside the Metro Light Rail in Federal Park, Annandale, on Rozelle Bay, west Sydney.

After Kayla is apparently murdered by Victor, Logan takes up an offer from Stryker to get revenge and submits to the radical procedure that gives him his virtually indestructible adamantium skeleton.

The ‘Alkali Lake’ facility, is above Stirling Falls, one of the two year-round falls on Milford Sound, a fjord in Fiordland, on the south west coast of New Zealand. At 150 meters high, the falls are three times the height of Niagara Falls.

Remote as it is, the spectacular Milford Sound remains one of New Zealand's top tourist destinations. The best way to see it is to take a boat tour, which takes around a couple of hours, departing from the Milford Sound Visitors' Centre. Road access to Milford Sound is via the Milford Road (SH 94), which runs north from Te Anau and along the edge of the Fiordland National Park.

After escaping the facility with his new metal frame, Logan holes up with a sweet old couple at their farmhouse, which was built at Paradise, 1771 Glenorchy-Paradise Road, in Glenorchy, at the head of Lake Wakatipu toward the south of the South Island.

Stryker’s forces soon catch up with Logan, and it’s nearby on the Glenorchy Paradise Road that Zero’s helicopter is downed.

The Paradise area previously became ‘Lothlorien Woods’ in the realm of ‘Lorien’, the site of the battle in which Boromir is fatally wounded in Peter Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and ‘Narnia’ in The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe.

There’s one more visit to Vancouver, to find the school from which Victor abducts the young Scott Summers. It’s Lord Byng Secondary, 3939 West 16th Avenue, in Vancouver – though the interior, as you might have guessed from the level of destruction, was recreated in the studio.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine location: Homebush Cinema, Parramatta Road, Homebush, Sydney
X-Men Origins: Wolverine location: the Blob trains in John Wraith’s ‘Las Vegas’ gym: Homebush Cinema, Parramatta Road, Homebush, Sydney | Photograph: wikimedia / J Bar

The ‘Las Vegas’ gym, where Logan visits John Wraith (Will I Am) and learns from the ever-expanding Fred Dukes/Blob (Kevin Durand) about mutants being imprisoned on Stryker’s island base, is the currently disused 1920s Homebush Cinema, 55-57 Parramatta Road at Knight Street in Homebush, a western suburb of Sydney.

As Logan and Wraith set off for ‘Louisiana’ to find more about Stryker’s island from Remy Lebeau/Gambit (Taylor Kitsch), there are brief second unit shots of the real New Orleans, with a couple of doubles riding bikes across the The Crescent City Connection, formerly and better-known as the Greater New Orleans Bridge, over the Mississippi.

There’s a quick scene-setting glimpse of happily raucous Bourbon Street in the city’s French Quarter, but the ‘New Orleans’ alley in which Creed kills Wraith and extracts a DNA sample, is another elaborate studio set.

Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour stands in for Pennsylvania’s notorious ‘Three Mile Island’ nuclear complex, where mutants are held captive as Stryker develops Weapon XI.

Between 1839 and 1869, Cockatoo Island functioned as a penal establishment, and until 199 well also housed one of Australia's biggest shipyards. Some of the old buildings were demolished, but the Island has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and if you’re in Sydney you can now visit the massive industrial complex.

Just to complicate the patchwork of locations a little bit more, Patrick Stewart’s uncredited cameo at the end of the film as Professor Xavier was shot in the UK, in London.