ByVaria Fedko-Blake, writer at
Staff Writer at Moviepilot! [email protected] Twitter: @vfedkoblake
Varia Fedko-Blake

It may come as a surprise but although J. K. Rowling is taking her wizarding world stateside with the release of the first movie, production of the magical extravaganza has remained firmly in Harry Potter's old stomping ground — the United Kingdom.

Indeed, with the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them swooping into cinema screens all over the world, many may be slightly taken aback to learn that the '20s Prohibition-Era New York backdrop was not actually filmed in the Big Apple.

In fact, most of the Fantastic Beasts filming actually took place at the spiritual home of Harry Potter — that is, behind closed doors at the Warner Bros. Studios in Leavesden, London. Alongside this, the beautiful city of Liverpool welcomed film crews to capture its stunning architecture to stand-in for primary American locations. Here's a comprehensive run-down of all the filming locations we know of so far:

Where Was Fantastic Beasts Filmed?

1. Warner Bros. Studios

Warner Bros. Leavesden Studio | WikiCommons
Warner Bros. Leavesden Studio | WikiCommons

Location: Leavesden, United Kingdom

After being used for all eight of the blockbusters, it is no wonder that production returned to Leavesden in efforts to bring back to life the magic of J.K.'s beloved, fictional world. Located just an hour outside of London, the area is also home to the Harry Potter Studio Tour, which probably turned out quite the treat for the cast and crew if they ever felt like popping over for a bit of wizarding inspiration.

A stone's throw away from the hordes of Potterheads visiting the attraction, production designer Stuart Craig worked relentlessly to build an enormous New York City set, spanning almost an entire block and a number of city streets. Complete with storefronts, '20s advertisements, streetcar rails and even functioning man-hole covers, no detail went a-miss when bringing the Fantastic Beasts puzzle together.

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2. St. George's Hall

St. George's Hall | WikiCommons
St. George's Hall | WikiCommons

Location: Liverpool, United Kingdom

Although the majority of the Fantastic Beasts filming took place at Leavesden studios outside London, there were also three on-location shoots in North-West England's Liverpool.

Recently, producer David Heyman spoke of the importance of the city for production, saying:

"The architecture in this beautiful city works perfectly for our film set in 1920s New York."

Perhaps the most recognizable of these three filming locations is St. George's Hall, which was employed to capture the grandeur of '20s New York — notably, it can be recognized in the scene that sees the majestic Thunderbird flapping away into the sky:

Situated in the heart of Liverpool, St. George's Hall is a Grade I-listed, Neoclassical-style building with foundations harking back to 1841. The breathtaking venue is also home to one of the greatest brick arches in the world, as well as a magnificent mosaic floor of over 30,000 tiles.

Although the building has had a vibrant history over the centuries, when it's not being used as a filming location these days, it continues to serve local residents as a concert hall and law court.

3. Martins Bank

Martin's Bank | Geograph
Martin's Bank | Geograph

Location: Liverpool, United Kingdom

Just as with Harry Potter's Gringotts (filmed at London's Australia House), banks seem to also play a crucial role in Rowling's upcoming franchise.

In particular, Martins Bank in Liverpool is another location that has opened its doors to Fantastic Beasts, with many speculating that the building will be standing in for the US version of a wizarding financial hub.

Founded in 1563 under the name of "The Grasshopper," the bank moved into its Liverpool headquarters in 1831 where it was acquired by the Bank of Liverpool. Today, as well as being a building of historic interest in the city, it remains a location of great attraction to movie crews from all over the world thanks to its stand-out Georgian architecture.

4. The Cunard Building

The Cunard Building | Chris Howells/WikiCommons
The Cunard Building | Chris Howells/WikiCommons

Location: Liverpool, United Kingdom

As well as St. George's Hall, Liverpool's Cunard Building was also used to mirror New York's architecture and in particular, to bring to life the facade of MACUSA's headquarters.

Located on the waterfront at Pier Head, the Grade II-listed building was constructed between 1914 and 1917 and boasts Italian and Greek influences, adorned with ornate sculptures on the sides. In the 1960s, the Cunard Building was home to the Cunard Line, an Anglo-American cruise line that operated passenger ships across the North Atlantic Ocean.

Did you spot any other locations where Fantastic Beasts?


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