Scripps gets its 15 minutes in Netflix feature film ‘Bird Box’

“Bird Box”, an apocalyptic film directed by Susanne Bier and starring Sandra Bullock, filmed its final scenes at Scripps College. (Talia Bernstein • The Student Life)

This article contains spoilers.

Since its worldwide release Dec. 21, the Netflix original film “Bird Box” has garnered staggering international attention. In its first week of streaming, Netflix reported that the horror film received over 45 million views — a record-breaking total for the multi-billion dollar streaming service.

And although “Bird Box” has quickly gained notoriety among many, 5C students may have an extra level of familiarity with the movie.

After more than two hours of nonstop suspense, the film resolves itself when main character Malorie Hayes (Sandra Bullock) and her two children find refuge in the fictional Janet Tucker School for the Blind, a paradisiacal garden that shields its residents from the perils of the outside world.

If you’ve seen the film, you may have wondered why the Janet Tucker School’s Spanish-style architecture and overgrown greenery looked so familiar. That’s because you’ve probably been there — it’s a combination of locations throughout the Scripps College campus.

According to Corrina Lesser, the director of public events and community programs at Scripps, the school started working with the producers of “Bird Box” in September 2017. She said it took 36 hours to transform the on-campus sites into the Janet Tucker School, and the actual filming lasted three days during January 2018.

Filming for “Bird Box” at Scripps occurred in January 2018. (Talia Bernstein • The Student Life)

Anisha Kaul SC ’20 was on campus at the time of the “Bird Box” shoot and was able to get a glimpse of the set after the crew had left.

“All we knew about the set was that is was supposed to be used in a horror movie,” she said. “It was really cool to see the courtyard transformed that way.”

Lesser said the film’s producers shot in the Sycamore and Eucalyptus Courtyards, and at the main entrance to the college outside the admissions office at Scripps.

“The location scouts took a full campus tour, but zeroed in on those locations almost immediately,” she said.

“Bird Box” is the most high-profile film to be shot at the college up until now, but other filmmakers are often interested in using the campus.

“Scripps has a gorgeous campus and our proximity to Los Angeles is certainly enticing for many local productions,” Lesser said. “On average, the college receives inquiries for possible filming a few times a month.”

In order to manage the interest in the campus, Scripps uses a location scouting company called Unreel Locations, which also represents Pomona College. The company, which represents a number of commercial and residential spaces, has participated in the making of movies like “Catch Me If You Can” and “Princess Diaries.”

The Scripps courtyards can be seen one hour and 54 minutes into the film.

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