Arts, Culture, and Entertainment

SCenes behind the scenes

List of popular productions filmed on USC’s campus

Elle Woods smiles with chihuahua in hand.

Have you ever gone to a spot on campus that seemed familiar, yet you’re sure you’ve never been? At one point or another, you may have seen one of the numerous TV and movie productions filmed at USC’s University Park Campus. So, grab your popcorn and prepare to go down memory lane — here are some films produced right outside your classrooms.

Movies and TV shows filmed on campus

In 1994, the iconic film “Forrest Gump” was brought to the big screens. Despite the movie being set in Alabama, Forrest Gump’s graduation scene is actually filmed at USC’s Bovard Auditorium, where we see Forrest walking across the USC stage to get his diploma.

Another hit film shot on USC’s campus is the classic movie, “Legally Blonde.” Subbing in for Harvard, The Bovard Administration Building is a set in this production.

“I remember rewatching ‘Legally Blonde’ in high school and when that scene with Elle Woods walking through USC came on, I was so excited about the possibility of going to USC,” said Alexandra Rahimi, a sophomore sociology.

USC alumnus Kevin Fay spoke on his experience as a student walking around while productions were on campus.

“Even when I was a student over 20 years ago, it was always a cool sight to see camera crew and actors you recognize when passing by between classes,” Fay said.

If you’re not a fan of old time classics, then perhaps you’ve seen more recent hits on Netflix. The well known “Kissing Booth” series filmed its third movie at USC in 2021. At the end of the movie, the main character, portrayed by actress Joey King, decides to attend USC for college to study video game design. Featured in the film is the iconic University of Southern California sign located on Hoover Street and Jefferson Boulevard.

If comedies and rom-coms aren’t your thing, then perhaps you’ve seen the series “How to Get Away with Murder.” The very first episode features the main character riding a bike throughout campus past the Physical Education Building, Wallis Annenberg Hall and the Bovard Administration Building.

“It’s so cool how all these big-time companies and productions use USC campus for their movies and ads,” said Anna Parish, a sophomore studying public relations It really shows just how much of a power-house school USC is.”

USC Film Team

The USC Film Team makes these scenes possible by facilitating agreements between production companies and the university.

Director of USC Campus Filming Torie Daves shared the requirements USC upholds when allowing outside productions to film on campus.

The USC Filming Office gives a packet to each production containing the procedures, guidelines and fees required to follow.

Some key guidelines include script approval, as the packet states, “a complete copy of the final script or storyboard must be submitted for approval by the Campus Filming liaison.”

Additionally USC doesn’t permit “photograph[y] or use [of] any written signs or any other evidence that, directly or indirectly, identifies the University or any building name.”

While many of these productions were filmed on USC’s campus, they are often intended to portray a different non-fiction college or university. As a result, USC requires that production “must obtain written permission from said non-fictional entity prior to filming at USC, according to “USC filming packet.”

Daves also shared insight on some recent productions filmed on campus.

“We have had several commercials over the last few months including Therabody, Nike, IFit, Buick and State Farm,” she said. “We also had the television show, ‘American Crime Story: Impeachment’ filmed here in July.”

USC’s involvement in iconic productions has allowed students, alumni and faculty to feel a sense of Trojan spirit through their screens. From classic movies to hit TV shows to popular commercials, Trojans can view their home across numerous platforms.