Posted by: Jerry Garrett | March 22, 2011

Ten Secrets Behind How LIMITLESS Was Filmed

What is the number one question people have after seeing the 2011 fantasy-action film “Limitless”?

1. For women, it’s ”Are Bradley Cooper’s eyes really that blue?” Answer: No. (They are Paul Newman blue, but the blueness seems to have been enhanced digitally in some scenes, and perhaps also with the assistance of aquamarine-tinted soft contact lenses; in a couple of shots, you can see the blue is outside the lines of his irises.)

2. For men, it’s what was that car in the racing scene? Answer: A 2011 Maserati GranTurismo Coupe.

3. Where was that little snippet of Maserati blasting around cobblestone streets filmed? Answer: Downtown Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. (To be exact, at the junction of Morelos  and Paseo Diaz Ordez, right on along the waterfront Malecon area – in front of Senor Frog’s bar, where a lot of the “Girls Gone Wild” videos come from.)

4. The bigger question is why was that filmed there, of all places? That’s where the filmmakers wanted to go, it seems. According to locals, the crew was in town for almost six weeks, starting in June 2010 for the filming. Doesn’t it seem like six weeks is a long time to be “on location” for less than 30 seconds of footage? Yes, it does! (Possible motivation: See the Senor Frog’s explanation above.)

5. So this brings up a lot of other questions. Such as how did the Maserati get to Puerto Vallarta? According to the Hollywood Reporter, there were two identical cars; one from Maserati’s Mexico distributor, and another that was shipped in from the U.S. Maserati apparently paid nothing for this delectable bit of product placement. From what I know of Puerto Vallarta, a Maserati is a rare sight indeed.

Bradley Cooper & Maserati in Puerto Vallarta (Relativity Media)

6. Did Mr. Cooper do any of the actual driving? He did, although most of it was done by a stunt driver.

7. Where was that cliff-diving bit filmed? Answer: The filmmakers didn’t even have to leave the Puerto Vallarta area. The bay upon which Puerto Vallarta is located – Bahia de Banderas – has, at its mouth, a series of desolate, rocky islands. These are the Islas Marietas, and that scene was filmed there. And, no, that was not Mr. Cooper doing a swan dive off the rocky cliffs. (The fancy resort, where scenes were also shot in Mexico, was at Punta de Mita on Banderas Bay’s northern tip.)

Islas Marietas

8. Where was the rest of “Limitless” filmed? If you’ve seen the film, you’d swear the answer was New York City, notably in Chinatown, lower Broadway, Central Park and the Natural History Museum. But a lot of “New York” filming was actually done in and around Philadelphia.

9. Where does the source material for the movie come from? A 2002 novel, “The Dark Fields” by Alan Glynn. Many similarities exist between the book and the film, but there are some notable differences: NZT is MDT-48 in the book. Spoiler alert: The book and the film have different endings. Did you like the movie’s somewhat surprising ending? It was a bit of a surprise to filmmakers too; it was changed via re-shoots after the balance of the filming was done. Apparently those who saw the rough cut didn’t like the original outcome.

Book’s cover, and movie’s the original star

10. Finally, what did you think of the casting of Bradley Cooper? Most reviewers think the role is Mr. Cooper’s breakout as a leading man, instead of mere scene-stealer in ensemble casts, like the “The Hangover”. What would you have thought of Shia LeBeouf in the role instead? Did you know he was originally cast as the lead? He reportedly had to pull out because of a horrific 2008 hand injury (many reconstructive surgeries were needed, including trying to re-attach severed fingers). Disappointing to Mr. LeBeouf’s fans. But, ladies, Mr. LeBeouf does not have blue eyes.

Jerry Garrett

March 22, 2011


  1. Some great bits of trivia in here, including the somewhat gruesome surgery of LeBeouf’s! Any ideas on the name of the actress sitting in the Maserati with Cooper? In case you’re interested, we just posted a review of the film on our blog.

  2. I love the luxury high rise that Eddie moves into, what is the name of the building? Is it in NYC or Philly?

    • Good question! Does anyone know? My guess is Philly…

  3. The condo in the movie, at least the exterior shots, was located at 310 West 52nd Street in New York.

    This is the building. . .

    • Good eye! Thanks for sharing this.

  4. I am sure that I am not the only one who noticed a metal finger brace on Bradley Cooper’s finger at the beginning of “Limitless”, which suddenly disappears?

  5. Hello there I am contacting you regarding the movie limitless. I am very intrigued by the first movie, I really enjoyed it. I would love to watch a sequel of Limitless, Perhaps can you make a sequel in the future please & thank you.

    • There is a sequel to Limitless! It’s a television series, now in its second season.

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