New York Film Locations

otsoNY in 2009: The Proposal

29 October 2019

In the same year that was launched, the romantic comedy “The Proposal” was released to cinema audiences and starred Sandra Bullock as a Canadian and executive editor-in-chief of a New York book publishing company, who had violated the terms of her work visa and been selected for deportation back to Canada. In an attempt to stay in the United States, she persuades her downtrodden assistant, Andrew Paxton played by Ryan Reynolds to marry her. “This was one of the first films that I used onset photographs of Sandra Bullock to pinpoint locations,” said otsoNY’s creator Mark Rogers. “It seems crazy now to think that I didn’t wait for the DVD release of the film as it tends to make finding locations much easier as you pause, zoom in on scenes etc... but I think at the time I wanted to include the few brief scenes that were actually shot in New York and to be able to do that, I had to refer to the paparazzi photos taken in 2008.”

Film Poster: The Proposal

The script was development in 2005, though principal filming didn’t occur until March 2008. There were only a few locations in New York, which included Church Street, Chambers Street, and the Federal Plaza building on Broadway. “There were a lot of photos online of Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds rehearsing their scene outside the Federal Plaza,” said Mark. “This was the scene where Sandra Bullock’s character knelt down on the pavement and asked him to marry her. What the photos actually showed was Sandra Bullock kneeling on a soft matt rather than the cold concrete pavement!”

On the set of The Proposal with Sandra Bullock

On the set of The Proposal with Sandra Bullock

Federal Plaza building on Broadway

The film received mixed reviews from critics, who criticised its screenplay but praised the chemistry between Bullock and Reynolds. Nevertheless, it was a box office success, grossing over $317 million worldwide, and becoming the 20th highest-grossing film of 2009, whilst Bullock was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical.

"Much of this film was shot in Boston,” reveals Mark. “I’ve never really understood why a film production company, who has shot some of the scenes in Manhattan, then opts for office buildings and cafes in a completely different US city, especially when it is so obviously not New York. Boston and typically Toronto in Canada often double for New York City as it is a means of saving money with the film production company.” Mark adds, “It is disappointment, and probably more so for any film location fans, much like I was in 2009, completely naive to this fact that a completely different city or even country has been used for a scene that should have been shot in New York, but I guess that’s movie-making... these days!”

Click HERE for a full list of film locations from The Proposal

In the next article of this series, Mark talks more about the disappointments that come with tracking down film locations in New York City.


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