Scene It Before: The Cellular House

Kim Basinger was kidnapped from a Westwood pad in the thriller, which turns 10 this week


Yesterday, September 10th, marked the 10-year anniversary of the original release of Cellular. I absolutely love the David R. Ellis-directed thriller. Sure, it didn’t win any awards and the storyline, which centers on the kidnapping of a mom named Jessica Martin (Kim Basinger), veers on silly at points, but I thoroughly enjoy it each time I watch the film. It’s fun, funny, and adrenaline-fueled. The fact that it stars cutie Chris Evans as Jessica’s rescuer doesn’t hurt, either.

The production, which was inspired by the Rampart police scandal of the late ‘90s, was shot in its entirety in Southern California and made use of such places as Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier, Marymount High School in Westwood, the Anaheim Convention Center in Orange County, and Los Angeles Center Studios in downtown L.A. Most of the locations have been well-documented online since the movie first premiered, but one that seemingly no one could track down was the large, traditional-style home where Jessica lived and was taken from in the flick.

I wound up finding the locale completely by accident one day in 2008. While visiting the Anderson house from the 1988 teen comedy License to Drive, at 536 Dalehurst Ave. in Westwood, the owner came outside to ask why I was taking photographs of his residence. As it turned out, he had no idea that his home was famous and had never seen the movie that made it so. (License to Drive was shot years before he purchased the property.) He did inform me that a dwelling around the corner had been used in Cellular, though. I hurried over to check it out and was thrilled to see that the house he mentioned was indeed the Martin residence.

In Cellular, the Martin family is said to live at 3270 Bonhill Rd. in Brentwood and producers even went so far as to paint the number 3270 on the curb in front of the Westwood abode for the shoot (perhaps to ward off location hounds like myself). In reality, the home is located at 527 Loring Ave., just a few blocks east of the UCLA campus. Aside from the change in address, the residence looks exactly the same in person as it did onscreen in 2004. The 5-bedroom, 4-bath, 4,389-square-foot pad is stunning in person and I am surprised that it has not appeared in more productions over the years.

It is amusing to think howmuch times have changed since Cellular was shot in 2004. The movie would be a bit different–and substantially less thrilling–if lensed today, what with the “hands-free” cell phone laws that took effect in 2008. Saving a kidnapped woman via a Bluetooth headset just doesn’t have the same panache as a cell phone. Can you hear me now?

Above: A screen capture from Cellular (top) and a photograph of the house taken in September 2008, courtesy of Lindsay Blake (bottom).

Lindsay Blake is an actress, writer, celebrity admirer and Los Angeles enthusiast who contributes to CityThink each Thursday. Her true love is filming locations, and she founded the Web site IAMNOTASTALKER in 2007 to document her vast findings on the subject. For more “stalking” fun, you can follow Lindsay on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.