True to its genre of a spy thriller, The Bourne Legacy (2012) was filmed across the world in countries including Canada, Philippines, USA, and South Korea. A large part of the movie is set in the US capital. But the real Washington DC is mostly shown only via aerial shots. The bulk of the movie was shot in New York and Manila.
Most of the scenes shot in NYC were shot at the Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens. One of the movie’s most famous scenes, the laboratory scene where a researcher goes on a rampage, was set at the fictional Sterisyn-Morlanta pharmaceutical plant meant to be in Manila, but was shot in New York. The scene starts off with Rachel Weisz shown working in her cubicle in front of a monitor, which looks somewhat like the Lenovo school laptop. The scene proceeds to show the character of Dr. Donald Foite (Željko Ivanek) shooting all but one of his colleagues, Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) in the laboratory. At the end of the scene, Foite turns his gun on himself. This scene was actually shot at the New York Times newspaper’s printing plant. The plant was modified to look like a laboratory in Manila by Kevin Thompson, the production designer.
The old house in Hudson, used as Rachel Weisz’s character Marta’s house, was only used for the exterior scenes. The scenes filmed inside the house were actually shot at the Kaufman Astoria Studios. The scenes based in Washington DC showing the corridors of power were also shot in New York at Kaufman Astoria.
In the Philippines, the bulk of the shooting was done in the capital city of Manila and on the Palawan island of El Nido.
Several scenes of Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz’s characters running from Filipino policemen and from a Thai operative were shot across Manila. The actors were also filmed riding a motorcycle inside a Manila wet market.
In addition, a war scene supposedly taking place in South America, was actually shot in Intramuros, a historic walled area in Manila.
Scenes set in Alaska were actually shot in Alberta, Canada. These scenes, including the one where Aaaron Cross (Jeremy Renner’s character) is on the run, were shot at Kananaskis Country in Alberta.
Several train scenes from the movie were shot in subway stations in Seoul, capital city of South Korea. Areas included Gangnam in South Seoul. Other locations in Seoul include the Garak Market station on Line 3 of the subway and Seocho.
In addition, the movie had a number of scenes based in various airports. American Airlines helped with some of the scenes, contributing their own airline staff as well as one of their planes for the interior terminal and cabin scenes at the JFK Airport.
The Bourne Legacy movie did a good job of showing enough international locations that every bona fide spy movie needs. The locations and sets definitely add to the realism of the scenes. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times praised the movie’s cinematography, calling it ‘arresting’. High praise indeed.