“While You Were Sleeping:” Christmas in Chicago

by hookedonhouses on December 9, 2008

It’s Christmas-time in Chicago, and Lucy has no one to share it with. She works the tollbooth in a train station and has a crush on a handsome commuter named Peter who walks past her every day. When he is mugged and thrown off the platform, Lucy jumps down onto the tracks to save him from an oncoming train.

You’ve probably seen the movie a hundred times like I have and know what happens next, right? In the hospital, Peter’s in a coma, and a nurse thinks Lucy is his fiancee (she overhears Lucy sighing and saying to herself, “Oh, I was going to marry him!”). The family believes the nurse and embraces Lucy into their brood. She’s so lonely, that she lets them. They invite her to spend Christmas with them, and she can’t resist.

When Lucy pulls up to the Callahan family’s house for the first time, she smiles:

Then we see the house and smile, too:

Don’t we all wish we had a home like this to go back to for Christmas?

The look on Lucy’s face as she watches the Callahan family open their presents says it all.

She spends the night on the sofa in the living room. Peter’s brother Jack, who hasn’t met her yet, comes in and sees her first time.

I love how the set was designed to look like a real home. Very lived in and comfortable. It’s easy to believe that Peter’s parents have lived here for decades:

Lucy meets Jack for the first time:

Jack says, “Welcome to the family.”

The exterior of Lucy’s apartment:

Lucy goes through Peter’s bag of belongings that was given to her at the hospital and finds keys to his apartment and a can of cat food.

Lucy goes to Peter’s high-rise apartment with the amazing view of downtown Chicago. It has no sign of life. No Christmas decorations. No color. We knew very little about Peter before this point. Now we realize that he’s probably not a good match for Lucy. She doesn’t belong here:

Peter has a photo of himself on the bar (his wallet was filled with photos of him, too):

Peter’s brother Jack shows up as she’s feeding the cat:

Producers used Lake Point Tower in Chicago as the setting for Peter’s apartment. Here’s what it looks like from the outside (courtesy Wikipedia):

Other movies shot in this building include “Meet the Parents” and “The Lake House.” Famous people who have lived here over the years include Goldie Hawn, Mickey Rooney, and Sammy Sosa.

A side view of the Callahan house at night:

Dinner with the Callahans:

Jack watches Lucy leave:

Here’s another shot of the house from the corner, without the Christmas lights:

And the front of the house, without all the lights on:

Ox (played by Peter Boyle) in the dining room:

Jack walks Lucy back to her apartment:

After Lucy leaves Peter at the altar, explaining that she can’t marry him after all, Jack and his family show up at Lucy’s tollbooth to propose to her:

She accepts:

The outdoor train scenes were filmed at State/Lake Station:

A little “While You Were Sleeping” trivia: did you know the role was originally written for Demi Moore? Sandra Bullock had just come off the blockbuster “Speed” and was ready to try something different. This was the beginning of her romantic comedy career when it premiered in 1995.

Visit my TV/Movie Houses page to see the others I’ve featured, from A Christmas Story to Home Alone.


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Mia's Pearls December 9, 2008 at 8:12 am

Yes, I love that movie, however my all time favorite it Sleepless in Seattle. I think I dig out While you were sleeping and watch it again tonight!!

Amy from Texas December 9, 2008 at 8:43 am

I love that movie too. I would love to have an old house with a porch. We don’t have many of those down here. Everything is NEW!

Kelly December 9, 2008 at 8:48 am

Oh I know what movie house #3 belongs to. It is “Step Mom”. I own that movie. I just fell in love with the house as soon as I saw it! Too bad it’s such a sad movie though.

Sharon December 9, 2008 at 9:35 am

I love that movie too! Now I’ll have to go rent it

Pat December 9, 2008 at 9:55 am

Love this movie and watch it again and again. I missed seeing your A Christmas Story post, until this morning. We love that movie, too!

Saturday, my youngest daughter who is a great enabler of her Mother’s passion for Christmas this and that, called. She was visiting Got A Deal and found that Sears was having a terrific sale on Dept 56, A Christmas Story pieces. Yep, you guessed it. We started another collection. I picked up several pieces at the store yesterday and had others shipped. I cannot wait!!

Brooke December 9, 2008 at 10:02 am

Oh yes, this movie is one of my favorites too!
Don’t you just love Bill Pulman?
A perfect movie rental for a cold winter night.
Steve will just have to sit through it again (actually, he loved it too. Just don’t
tell anyone)!

xo

Brooke

Mike December 9, 2008 at 10:22 am

#3 looks to me like the house from A Family Stone. If it’s not, I recommend that one later this week. ;-)

desiree December 9, 2008 at 10:28 am

I think you’re right Mike. When SJP backs the car down the drive she hits a tree. One of my favorite scenes. These homes are absolutely gorgeous.

Christine December 9, 2008 at 10:30 am

Such an adorable movie! I thought her land lord was halarious, and I have a special place in my heart for the grandmother since she was the mom in Mary Poppins.

Heather December 9, 2008 at 10:48 am

This is also one of my favorite romantic comedies. I love the lead glass windows on either side of the door.

Holly December 9, 2008 at 10:59 am

I haven’t seen that movie in years, probably since shortly after it was released, so I’m not sure who all the family is, but in the toll booth scene isn’t the woman in the bottom right corner the mom from Mary Poppins?

Angela December 9, 2008 at 12:03 pm

Gosh, it’s been a LONG time since I’ve seen this movie!! Thanks for sharing!

Natalie December 9, 2008 at 12:25 pm

Another great movie. I think this was a perfect roll for Sandra Bullock, and don’t think it would’ve conveyed as sweetly had Demi Moore done it. Another great post, can’t wait for tomorrow!

Liz@VioletPosy December 9, 2008 at 12:59 pm

Oh I love this movie, it’s in my top 10 favourites of all time and wonderful Christmas movie. I remember feeling very much like Lucy when it came out and I think that’s why I have such fond memories of it. I can’t believe it’s 13 years old!

mercedes December 9, 2008 at 1:32 pm

Great pictures,Julia, thanks.I hope that if the next house isn´t of Stepmom,please find this house for us, the bedroom belongs to Susan Sarandon character was amazing.
Best wishes for you and your family.
Mercedes
PD: sorry my English

Ms.Tee December 9, 2008 at 2:02 pm

This is one of my all-time favorite movies! Has it really been 13 years?!

Marla in Ohio December 9, 2008 at 3:22 pm

I’m with Mike – tomorrow’s looks like the Family Stone – another awesome house.

Starwoodgal December 9, 2008 at 4:58 pm

I love that movie!

visual vamp December 9, 2008 at 6:55 pm

I just love your decor in the movies postings!
xo xo xo

Shelley Jo December 9, 2008 at 7:39 pm

This is one of our favorite movies, too. “These mashed potatoes are so creamy” is one of our favorite moments in the movie… When our daughter (now 18) was little, she would make us rewind it over and over again on the part where the newspaper boy falls off his bike!! She would just crack up over that. I LOVE THAT MOVIE!! We need to watch it soon.

Melinda December 9, 2008 at 9:06 pm

Aww I love that movie …it’s so cheesey!

Sue December 9, 2008 at 9:27 pm

Oh how I adore this movie…so, so much. I think I have every word embedded in my head. Our older cat is named Lucy Eleanor Moneratz after SB’s character. : )

Love that house…*sigh*

Love,
Sue

Devita December 9, 2008 at 10:42 pm

I really love this movie! really really love it!

Tam December 10, 2008 at 1:49 am

Great house-great movie-great post!
Makes me want to watch the movie now! Lol!
~Smiles~Tam

Shirl December 10, 2008 at 2:38 am

The scene where Lucy is going through his wallet has always stuck with me. She is going through it slowly, with amusing curiosity, when all of a sudden she comes to a scrap of paper and she gets alarmed. We then sees why; it’s a coupon for cat food. She rushes over to feed the cat and this moves the story forward for the romance to build with the guy’s brother. It’s a great scene. I often wonder if I would have connected the coupon with the thought that there might be a hungry cat waiting for food at his apartment.

Sheila BD December 10, 2008 at 3:57 am

I LOVED this post. Loved the movie. The architecture of the homes was so beautiful. I never noticed it before. Thanks so much! I look forward to reading more of these – what fun!

Fifi Flowers December 10, 2008 at 11:39 am

I didn’t get that one… loved that movie too! You have GREAT photos of movie sets… I think I might have to ask you next time I cannot find photos of sets to paint! You are NOW in my reference bank! Hooked on Houses library!
Ok… I have one for you… Spanglish… I have not been able to find a good photo of the front of that house… hmmmmm… let me know if you have any phones.
ENJOY your day!
Fifi

Aubrey December 10, 2008 at 3:40 pm

I LOVE this movie and was thinking I should watch it just last night. Of course I love Lucy’s cluttered apartment and the family’s house–I never think of Peter’s cheerless apartment.

Ramona Owen December 10, 2008 at 9:14 pm

This is one of my favorite movies….the family is the greatest and very funny.

Smiles ~ Ramona

Grace @ Sandier Pastures December 14, 2008 at 2:51 am

One of my all time favorite movies! I love a Christmas scene in winter and with all those lights!

melissa December 20, 2008 at 10:17 am

sigh, i always loved that house. so perfect.
do you know where they filmed this movie??

melissa January 1, 2009 at 8:57 am

I watched the movie. The suburban shots are La Grange, IL.

kristine March 27, 2009 at 11:50 pm

haha this is so weird, that is my house!! yes it is in La Grange,IL, a SW suburb of chicago. oh and all the interior is actually my house too, none of it is a set as is mentioned above. the living room and all that is real haha

sandra July 2, 2009 at 4:57 pm

This is one of my all-time favorite movies ever! While visiting friends who moved from Texas to Chicago back in 1997, a couple of years after the movie came out, I was determined to find some of the locations! I called actor’s group out of the phone book and eventually spoke to Jon Turteltaub, himself! I wanted to see the house! He gave me an address in La Grange, but we could not locate it. :(

I’m writing to Kristine, who posted on March 27, that it is her house! I’d love to hear whether she lived there during the filming and what it was like! Thanks!

This is a GREAT website!!

Tracey October 25, 2009 at 10:01 am

I FOUND IT!!!! The address of the Callahan’s house is 328 E Elm Avenue in LaGrange IL. One beautiful house!!!!

kristine December 4, 2009 at 2:11 pm

that’s close, but not my exact address haha!
yes i lived there at the time, but i was only about 7. we had to move out for most of the shooting and we were living down the street. everyone was so nice. the snow was all fake and we were the only house on the block with it. i met everyone a few times and they were all so nice. for whatever reason, whenever we stopped by, there was LOADS of baskin robbins ice cream that they gave to us. they redid some of the interior for the movie but most of it is the same. shortly after the movie, my parents put an addition on the side of the house. and the kid falling off the bike is on 8th ave, south of my house. the actual house is on the corner of 8th and elm in la grange.

kristine December 4, 2009 at 2:12 pm

oh and you can’t see the address in any of the shots because it’s on the right side of the house, but it’s 203 :P

Seph January 19, 2010 at 12:59 pm

203 8th Avenue (address not on Elm Street side)

hookedonhouses January 21, 2010 at 12:35 pm

Kristine and Seph–thanks!! I might have to track it down next time I’m in Chicago. -Julia :-)

Tonya October 17, 2010 at 3:36 pm

My favorite part that reduces me to tears every time is when Jack looks back at his family after kissing Lucy in the booth when she accepts. I fell in love with Bill Pullman that moment myself!

Grace December 17, 2010 at 9:01 pm

Do you know the name and location of Lucy’s apartment?

hookedonhouses December 17, 2010 at 9:14 pm

Sorry, I don’t. Does anyone else?

Victor January 27, 2011 at 6:27 pm

A correction in the captioning is needed for the last image.

This is not the State/Lake El Stop. This is Wabash & Randolph stop. The view is looking due north towards the now demolished Chicago Sun-Times Building. Trump Tower Chicago currently occupies that site.

Cammy June 19, 2011 at 11:49 pm

That’s my house! I wasn’t born yet but I was the one ‘sleeping’ in my mom’s stomach! It makes me feel so happy when people say they think the house is so pretty. I think it’s too big. It scares me sometimes… :/ Kristine (above) is my sister. :)

Lauren September 11, 2011 at 5:43 am

When Winter comes around this movie was always in the VCR as soon as it was released, always reminds me of the holidays. I love it!

Now this post reminds me, I have to go to Best Buy and pick up the DVD version now ;)

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