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On Location

Shooting in Philadelphia has also become recognized as part of Shyamalan's signature style, so it was no surprise that he once again chose to film the story of "Unbreakable" in his hometown, as he had done for both "Wide Awake" and "The Sixth Sense."

The city's rich historical architecture combined with its beautiful suburban landscapes provided the production team with the perfect combination it needed for the film's setting. "In ‘The Sixth Sense,' Philadelphia was really shot as the Federalist Philadelphia which played to the strengths of its age and historical architecture to make it dark and mysterious," explains producer Sam Mercer. "In ‘Unbreakable,' it is accentuating both the new and old architecture, but still utilizes the kind of the dark silhouette images found throughout much of the city. It's perfect for the kind of real and surreal world we wanted to create."

Utilizing the old Civic Center Building once again as its base of operation, the production team used the historic facility to build many of the interior sets seen throughout the film. The majority of filming was completed at various locations throughout Philadelphia both in and around Center City as well as the surrounding suburbs including Franklin Field at the University of Pennsylvania, Fairmount Park in West Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Naval Base, Pretzel Park in Manayunk, Immaculate Conception Church in Germantown, and many other historic buildings in Center City such as Bookbinder's Restaurant, the Packard Building and the Curtis Building.

The filmmakers also relied on Philadelphia's deep pool of talented actors and worked with local casting agency Mike Lemon Casting to cast several local actors in various speaking roles as well as hiring several thousand local people to appear as extras in the film.

"Philadelphia is such an iconic American city that is so rich in its history as well in its talent base, both behind and in front of the camera," says Shyamalan. "I think it provides an amazing backdrop for any story, and I hope to continue making films here whenever possible."


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