On Location: New York’s Roosevelt Hotel stars in ‘Man on a Ledge’
To Los Angelenos, the name Roosevelt Hotel calls to mind the Spanish-style building on Hollywood Boulevard, the site of the first Academy Awards. But it's the other Roosevelt Hotel, the one in New York City, that is getting the star treatment in the new Sam Worthington thriller "Man on a Ledge."
Named for President Theodore Roosevelt (just as the Hollywood hotel is), the 20-story hotel in Manhattan has served as a Midtown Manhattan location for “The French Connection,” “Quiz Show,” “Wall Street” and "Maid in Manhattan," as well as episodes of “The Good Wife” and “Law & Order.” The hotel will also appear in this year’s “Men in Black 3” and Sacha Baron Cohen’s “The Dictator.”
But the Roosevelt Hotel plays an unusually prominent role in "Man on a Ledge," in which Worthington's character stands on a ledge of the building about 200 feet above the intersection of Madison Avenue and 45th Street, while his brother is pulling off a jewelry heist on the opposite side of the street.
“I think sometimes an audience demands a certain authenticity," Worthington told the Los Angeles Times at the film’s L.A. premiere on Jan. 23. "People actually knowing that I’m up there 200-odd feet in the air adds to the thrilling aspect of it.”
Filmmakers selected the Roosevelt in part because of its grandeur. The hotel was built in 1924 and has many features that can't be found in more modern New York hotels, including its neo-classical lobby, the French marble and limestone facade, and the ledge where Worthington's character appears to contemplate suicide.
“Really, the Roosevelt was the only building that had all the elements to get the film done,” said location scout Adam Baer.
“Man on a Ledge” producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura had shot exteriors for 2007 horror film “1408” at the hotel and said it was a “very film-friendly” location to which he was eager to return. “It was also the perfect location for ‘Man on a Ledge’ because it was right on Madison Avenue,'' di Bonaventura said. "You really got a sense of the big canyons of New York there.”
Roosevelt director of sales and marketing Kevin Croke initially expressed some doubts about having the hotel depicted in a movie about a man threatening to take his own life, but changed his mind after reading the script and talking to producers. Besides, film productions bring in some extra revenue to the hotel, which charges productions anywhere from a few thousand dollars to $15,000 a day depending on the project and what part of the hotel is used.
The promotion doesn't hurt either. Croke said that the release of “Maid in Manhattan” brought in an influx of calls with requests to come in and take a picture in the hotel's employee cafeteria -- the spot where Jennifer Lopez and Ralph Fiennes share a kiss at the end of the movie. (Depending on how busy they are, hotel staff usually grant the request.)
"All the mentions of the hotel in various reviews and articles – it's great publicity for the hotel,'' Croke said.
–- Emily Rome
Photo: Elizabeth Banks and Sam Worthington in “Man on a Ledge,” shot at New York’s Roosevelt Hotel. Credit: Myles Aronowitz / Summit Entertainment