November 9, 2007 / 6:09 AM / in 12 years

NBC star "Chuck" lives it up in old Hollywood

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - For a guy who works at an electronics store, geek-turned-spy Chuck Bartowski on NBC’s “Chuck” sure lives in high style — in the famous El Cabrillo apartment building in Hollywood.

When making the pilot, the producers set out to find a courtyard apartment location that was reminiscent of old Hollywood/Echo Park. They researched and scouted several courtyard and bungalow apartments from the 1920s before deciding on the El Cabrillo.

The building, designed and built in 1928 by celebrated early-20th century architects Arthur and Nina Zwebell, is steeped in old Hollywood lore, and it’s alleged that a Rudolph Valentino movie used the Spanish revival courtyard building as a set. For decades, the building was an apartment complex but recently was restored and converted into condos.

The makers of “Chuck” liked the El Cabrillo because it “offered many interesting textures — concrete blocks, wood spindle balconies, private balconies, an impressive interior courtyard turret and a courtyard fountain,” according to location manger Kelly Harris, “and provided an amazing background for our characters to interact.”

When shooting the “Chuck” pilot at the El Cabrillo, the production’s biggest concern was the neighbors in the high-density Hollywood area. To minimize the overall impact, the production parked the majority of its trucks in local lots and brought in only essential equipment.

Alas, Chuck does not live at El Cabrillo anymore. Not exactly, anyway.

In the pilot, Chuck’s apartment was comprised of several units at the El Cabrillo, and it was unfeasible to continue shooting at the complex for the series. Thus, the apartment and the building’s courtyard were re-created on a Warner Bros. soundstage.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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