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(Credit: Far Out / Columbia Pictures /Valentin Petkov / Dean Ward)

Travel

Exploring the UK filming locations of Marvel movie 'Morbius'

Morbius is one of the biggest releases of the year. Yet another offering from the ever-expanding universe of Spider-Man, it’s the first time that we’ve seen the longrunning Marvel Comics character Morbius, the Living Vampire, in a live-action setting. Distributed by Sony Pictures, it is the third film in Sony’s Spider-Man Universe (SSU), and like the prior three films the studio has released, it has a much darker tone than that of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). 

Directed by Daniel Espinosa, the mind behind Child 44 and Life, the film was written by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless and features an all-star cast. It stars Jared Leto as the titular character alongside Matt Smith, Jared Harris, Adria Arjona, Al Madrigal and Tyrese Gibson. In the movie, we follow Dr. Michael Morbius as he becomes a living vampire after curing himself of a rare disease and his bloody conflict with his surrogate brother, Milo. 

After announcing their plans for a new universe of films inspired by the Spider-Man canon, which began with 2018’s Venom, Sony knew that they had to produce a Morbius film, and now, it looks like their decision to realise this plan was a successful one. Filmed across Manchester and London, the crew did a magnificent job in making us believe that this was actually New York. Adding to this surprising revelation, some of the locations they utilised are some of the most iconic in England.

Duly, we’ve listed a collection of some of the filming locations of Morbius for you to feast your eyes on and be dazzled by the transformative effect cinematographic choices can have in making or breaking a film. These choices augmented the dark atmosphere of the script, and when you heed just how un-Marvel like some of these locations actually are, you’re sure to be blown away.

Without further ado, join us as we explore some of Morbius‘s filming locations. 

The filming locations of Morbius:

Northern Quarter, Manchester

Remarkably, it was Manchester’s iconic Northern Quarter that was used instead of the actual streets of New York. However, when you scratch just a little beneath the surface, you realise that the two cities share a lot of similarities. “It resembles Brooklyn – the red-brick buildings, the fire escapes, the warehouses, that post-industrial world,” location manager Dan Connolly told i. in a recent interview.  

“The Northern Quarter still has a grittiness, especially the back streets and alleyways,” he explained. “So Morbius was skulking around – as his character does – in the back streets, shoulder to shoulder with people staggering out of clubs.”

Whether it Morbius climbing up walls in Piccadilly Gardens, or Stevenson Square being made to look like Greenwich Village, the location team did a stellar job here. For anyone wanting to visit Manchester, the Northern Quarter is a good place to start.

(Credit: Dean Ward)

Crystal Palace Park, London

Another miraculous accomplishment on the part of the location team was that they chose South London’s historic Crystal Palace Park as their replacement for the sprawling Central Park. It was picked specifically for its balustrades, steps and statues that echo the unmistakable architecture in New York’s green beating heart.

Added to this was the fact that Crystal Palace is situated on a hill, so in post-production, they could drop in the skyline of New York into the background, fooling us all into thinking this was Central Park. To create this authentic sense of us being in New York, the crew also brought in American police cars and even constructed a full-size replica of Central Park’s fountain.

Crystal Palace Park is well worth a visit for anyone who hasn’t been there and for those who want to veer off the beaten track when exploring London. Complete with five dinosaur statues dating back to the Victorian era and a boating lake, it’s perfect for a walk with a coffee on a Sunday morning.

(Credit: Ewan-M)

HMS Belfast, London

Another incredible bit of visual trickery comes in the form of the location of Morbius’ lab on the container ship. Here we see him conducting his illegal experiments, and instead of using an actual container ship, the Thames’ most prized possession, HMS Belfast, was used.

The Second World War battleship is one of the city’s reminders of the War and is docked on the River Thames close to Tower Bridge. It hasn’t been operational for years, and these days, it’s a living and breathing museum where you can jump into the lives of the British Navy at the time and discover everything from the operating theatre to the punishment cells.

In addition to this, a cancer research facility in Dagenham and the corridors of Slough’s former Horlicks factory were also woven together to create Morbius’ unsettling ship.

(Credit: Alvesgaspar)

Saint Sophia Cathedral, London

At the start of the film, we see Morbius as a young boy, where he’s a patient in a Greek hospital, coming to terms with the life-altering effects of his condition. Instead of filming in Greece itself, Bayswater’s Saint Sophia Cathedral was selected. It was built in 1882 by Antonios, Metropolitan of Corfu, as a focus for the prosperous Orthodox Greek community that had settled in the area. It is a marvellous tribute to the culture of their homeland.

Complete with a stunning wall and captivating floor mosaics, as well as Byzantine icons, it’s another part of London’s history that’s well worth a visit. Added to this overlooked architectural marvel, the white stucco building with arched windows on the opposite side of the road and the cobbled street with palm trees around the corner were enough to convince the crew that they didn’t have to relocate to the Mediterranean.

(Credit: Edwardx)

Whitehall Court, London

Perhaps the most impressive building in the whole film is where Matt Smith’s Milo lives. Intended to be one of the many expensive Upper East Side apartments that protrude into New York’s skyline, the location team on the film found the ideal building that reflects the gothic nature of the subject material and the origins of vampires themselves.

Whitehall Court is one of the most magnificent buildings that line the River Thames, and as you walk along the Westminister area, you’re blown away by the scope of its architecture. Constructed in 1884 as luxury apartments, it was designed with French chateaus in mind and has remained one of the most eye-catching buildings in central London. It’s been frequented by MI5 agents and even Winston Churchill in the past but is now an up-market hotel. If you decided to drop in, make sure your wallet’s ready.

(Credit: Tony Hisgett)

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