Over the years I’ve gotten a lot of requests to feature La Fortuna, the charming Spanish-style courtyard apartment building from the 1997 movie ‘Til There Was You. I remembered the romantic comedy, starring Jeanne Tripplehorn and Dylan McDermott, and the beautiful sets, but it was hard to find it on DVD.
So when Netflix recently added it to their catalog, I was excited to finally watch it again and see that La Fortuna was just as magical as I remembered. Not only that, but I found out that it was filmed in a real courtyard in Hollywood, and you can actually stay there. Take a look!
In the movie, the picturesque courtyard apartment complex known as La Fortuna is slated for demolition, and the residents band together to fight it.
When Jeanne Tripplehorn’s character Gwen walks into the courtyard for the first time, she’s enchanted by it.
You know a place is magical when you walk in and flower petals are falling from the sky…
…and there’s a guy softly playing a guitar on the balcony overhead.
I had forgotten how many stars were in the movie, like Sarah Jessica Parker, who plays a troubled former child actor who sells the complex to developers. Whenever someone recognizes her in public, she says, “No, I’m not dead!”
We didn’t get to see much of the interior of Gwen’s apartment, but in this scene her friend (played by Jennifer Aniston) drops by for a visit–and brings her a cat, something she, as a single woman, objects to:
We also get a glimpse of her fireplace when she’s moving in:
Her elderly neighbor, who was once a silent film star, lives across the courtyard:
The movie is also memorable for “The Awful Truth”–an awful restaurant where Jeanne’s character hates to eat but keeps getting invited to. It’s so cool that this is the front door–and she can’t figure out how to open it (she finally falls through it):
Inside, everything has sharp and pointy edges, and she keeps hurting herself on them:
Lindsay, who blogs at I Am Not a Stalker, is my hero. Not only is she even more obsessed with TV and movie houses than I am, but she manages to track a lot of them down.
She reports that the movie was filmed at a real apartment complex called El Cabrillo in Hollywood:
“El Cabrillo was constructed in 1928 by none other than Cecil B. DeMille, who needed a place to house his out-of-town actors. The building was designed by noted architects Arthur and Nina Zwebell, who built numerous Los Angeles courtyard style apartment buildings in the 1920’s, many of which are now on the National Register of Historic Places.”
I read on one message board that the courtyard was recreated on a soundstage for filming, but others say it was actually shot here. May have been a mix of both. Either way, I thought it was the star of the movie.
There’s a vacation rental website that shows photos of a unit at El Cabrillo that you can rent. Here are some of them:
This fireplace looks similar to the one in the movie:
Wish the photos were a little clearer, and that we could see more of this kitchen–love it:
Lindsay says that other things have been shot here over the years, too, from a Rudolph Valentino movie to the TV show Chuck:
“Chuck’s pilot episode was actually filmed on location at El Cabrillo. The courtyard area and three different apartments were used for that episode. But once the show got picked up by NBC a replica of the apartments and the courtyard were rebuilt on a soundstage at Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank.”
If they built more apartment complexes that looked like this, I think a lot more of us would want to be happy to rent!