Where Did 'Girls' Film Hannah's School For Season 4? The Show Didn't Have To Go Far To Find Iowa
As Girls was nearing the end of its third season, creator/star/writer/director/producer Lena Dunham must have decided it was time to shake up the formula of her HBO show, as her character Hannah Horvath was suddenly admitted to a prestigious MFA writing program at the University of Iowa in the Season 3 finale. The big question going into Season 4 of Girls was, would the show really leave its trademark Brooklyn roots and travel cross country to the cornfed Midwest? Where would Girls film Hannah's new Iowa-based school? The answer, as it turns out, is a bit complicated
The Season 4 premiere, titled "Iowa," does indeed find Hannah preparing to leave her boyfriend, her closest friends, and her beloved Williamsburg to start classes in the Hawkeye State. So the show's film crew must have packed up and traveled to the heartland with her for some location shooting, right? I mean, there's a shot in the Season 4 trailer with actual trees and grass in it while Hannah bikes through a park surrounded by what just might be cherry blossoms. That's clearly not anywhere in New York City.
Actually, it is! You might be surprised to learn that, while Hannah may have moved to Iowa City, Dunham and the crew of Girls did not. Co-star Andrew Rannells, who plays Hannah's ex-boyfriend/bestie Elijah (and who joined Season 4 as a series regular after being a recurring player for the previous three seasons) revealed in an interview with ABC News that all of the scenes involving Hannah in Iowa were actually filmed in Brooklyn. "We got to go to lovely Ditmas Park which can look like Iowa, actually. It's a crazy neighborhood in Brooklyn," he professes. "It doesn't look like New York at all!"
Rannells goes on to reveal that HBO toyed with the idea of filming on location, going so far as to approach the University of Iowa about their interest in being involved. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the school didn't turn out to be super enthusiastic about the idea. "HBO did reach out to University of Iowa, [but] they were not so keen on having big film crews come and disrupt their campus. I can't blame them," the actor says.
There may not be any cornfields anywhere near Ditmas Park, but at least it's a new location for the HBO show, situated much deeper into Brooklyn than Girls has ever filmed before. For the past three seasons, Hannah & Co. have remained fairly consistently in Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Lower Manhattan. (You can check out all the main Girls locations on this handy dandy Google Map.) The neighborhood of Ditmas Park is located just south of Prospect Park (aka the Central Park of Brooklyn), a good six or seven miles south of where the show normally films.
At least the University of Iowa campus is a relatively easy location to emulate in Brooklyn — especially since Hannah will be spending most of her time indoors attending classes and parties. (I don't really envision her doing much corn shucking or cow tipping.) But if Girls were ever to attempt an exotic beach vacation episode? Well, good luck finding somewhere in Brooklyn that can pass for the Hawaiian coastline.
Images: Craig Blakenhorn/HBO (2)