TV & Movies

How Locked Down Decided To Center A Heist At An Iconic Department Store

Harrods, to be exact.

by Jessica Lachenal

HBO Max is the latest streaming service to offer quarantine-inspired entertainment. Locked Down follows a recently-broken up couple, Linda (Anne Hathaway) and Paxton (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who are stuck living together as a result of the lockdown. But as the two settle into quarantine, an opportunity arises for Paxton to carry out a heist on Harrods, London's world-famous department store. Linda just so happens to be an executive at Harrod's, and offers to help him carry out the heist.

And while the production had many limitations due to the coronavirus pandemic, securing Harrods as a shooting location was one of the easiest parts of the process. "We approached Harrods with nothing, [we had] a Zoom call, saying ‘We want to write this but we’re not going to do it unless you commit that we can shoot it.,'" director Doug Liman told Variety. "Because they’re also going through a pandemic, a company that might normally have said to come back with a finished script and give us three months and we’ll give you an answer. They just said, ‘We’re in.’ We all held hands and jumped."

It's a particularly rare achievement of note, because it comes just two years after the very first film to be allowed to shoot in Harrods: 2018's Peter Rabbit. To contrast, Harrods has been in business since 1849, and while its exterior can be seen in quite a few films, 2018 was the very first time a Hollywood production was able to shoot within its walls. What's more, Locked Down managed to get deeper than the store's exhibition floors, shooting in its underground hallways, which are normally reserved for employees and security.

Another interesting note about Locked Down's filming location: the West London home that served as the set for Ejiofor and Hathaway's lockdown performances is a real home, and the people as seen in many of the exterior shots are actually just neighbors who live in the area. Per Variety, "Hathaway and Ejiofor’s neighbors on Portland Street in West London were not actors, but compliant civilians willing to humor the visiting movie stars." Desperate times call for desperate measures.