Movies and TV Shows filmed at the 5Cs

If you have a sharp eye and are a big film and television fan, you may recognize the Claremont Colleges as the site for some of your favorite media pieces. 

During my freshman year of college, Rob Lowe made waves across the campuses when he was spotted filming scenes for his show 9-1-1 Lone Star. Select locations at Pomona College served as a stand-in for Austin, Texas, where the show- which ended earlier this year- was based. 

Rob Lowe in 9-1-1 Lone Star.

A popular film that the Scripps admissions ambassadors love to highlight is Netflix’s 2018 hit Bird Box, a post-apocalyptic thriller starring Sandra Bullock. Bird Box’s ending, in which the protagonist and her children reach an idyllic safe haven away from the monsters that had been chasing them for years, was filmed at one of the many courtyards on the Scripps campus. 

A still from the final scene of Bird Box. The windows to the right of the shot are actually those of the admissions office!

Other episodes of shows filmed at Pomona College include Season 3, Episode 8 of Gilmore Girls and Season 2, Episodes 10 and 13 of The West Wing. In the Gilmore Girls episode, protagonist Rory Gilmore is invited to a Yale reunion by her grandfather, Richard, who wants to set up a meeting between Rory and the dean of admissions. “Yale” just happened to be Pomona, and the dean’s office was filmed in Bridges Auditorium. 

Bridges seems to be a popular filming location, as it stood in for portions of the White House in The West Wing, a hit political drama series that aired for seven seasons. What is unique about episode 10 in particular is that it features Yo-Yo Ma, the world-renowned cellist. Aaron Sorkin, creator and writer of the show, recently came to Scripps to give a talk and shared that although Ma only needed to record one take of him playing the cello and could pretend to do so in subsequent takes, he insisted on playing the piece through every single time- a true testament to the musician’s work ethic and skill.  

Yo-Yo Ma in Season 2, Episode 10 of The West Wing.

Real Genius (1985), which stars Val Kilmer as a teenage prodigy who attends a top engineering university, was filmed at Pomona, and so were the opening credits of the Emmy-nominated 80s television show The Facts of Life. Most recently, the Serena and Venus Williams origin story film King Richard was filmed just two miles off-campus at the Claremont Club.

Still from King Richard.