A Day in The Life … takes you on a twenty-four-hour LA adventure through the perspective of a movie or TV character. Using a combination of personality references and actual shooting locations, we humbly invite you to spend the day crossing terrain through a new lens.
In this edition of A Day in the Life … we follow the Driver from Nicolas Winding Refn’s 2011 film Drive: a Hollywood stuntman, mechanic, and getaway driver. The film fuses suspense, Ryan Gosling, the most bad-ass soundtrack ever, and stunning shots that could (almost) convince an audience that driving in Los Angeles is as boss as it looks.
Asterisks (*) denote places that Gosling actually touched in the movie Drive. So get out your driving gloves, roll down the windows, and respond to that Nightcall, starting with:
4:05 AM – Morning Cruise, LA Warehouse District
START YOUR ENGINES at 3rd Street and Central Avenue, technically, in Little Tokyo. If you drive east on 4th St. into the Arts District, you’re likely to stumble onto one of the many murals that grace the walls of the buildings there.
7:07 AM – Early Morning Run, MacArthur Park*
BURN OFF ADRENALINE at 2230 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90057 In Drive, this was the park the Driver’s apartment looked out over and the place where he agreed to do the dirty work. MacArthur Park is somewhat notorious for offering Fake IDs and dealing drugs (Anthony Kiedis bought heroin here back in the day); points even those giving five-star Yelp reviews of the park are quick to concede. However, there has been a recent push to clean up the park, and the Levitt Pavilion has been hosting free outdoor concerts and screenings.
9:03 AM – Breakfast: Black Coffee, Tuna Can, Big 6 Market*
FUEL UP at 550 S Rampart Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90057. In Drive, this is the market where the Driver sees Irene getting groceries with her son. When Irene’s car fails to start, the Driver offers her a ride back to their apartment complex. Big 6 is a run-down market (they didn’t just do that for the movie) with a butcher shop. People seem to really like the guacamole, but we think the Driver would be more of a black coffee and tuna can kind of guy.
11:10 AM – Hammer Time, Anzen Hardware
SHOP FOR TOOLS at 309 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012 In Drive, the Driver protects Irene with an ordinary weapon: a hammer. While Home Depot has a broad selection, we feel that the Driver would stop at Anzen Harware, in Little Tokyo, to arouse less suspicion. It’s also supposed to be a great place for culinary knives.
12:34 PM – Buy Mask, Hollywood Toys and Costumes
FIND A DISGUISE at 6600 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028 In Drive, the Driver wears a Michael Meyers type face mask to shield his identity. Unlike those seasonal pop-up shops that appear in the empty carcasses of Blockbuster stores, Hollywood Toys and Costumes is open year round. While it’s a bit out of the way from Downtown, we feel that Driver would revere the view of the Hollywood sign as he cruises down Hollywood Boulevard. Just be sure to put plenty of change in the meters.
2:02 PM – Fix Stuff, Picture Car Warehouse*
REV THE ENGINE at 8400 Reseda Blvd, Northridge, CA 91324 In Drive, the Driver spends a lot of his time working at Shannon’s Garage with Walter White, erm, Shannon. The real location is Picture Car Warehouse, a shooting set with over 700 production vehicles. They don’t appear to be open to the public, but we feel the Driver is the sort of guy that would do a drive by just because. To stay in character, no instagram photos allowed.
3:10 PM – Business, Vincenzo’s Pizza.*
EXTRA CHEESE at 11045 Balboa Blvd, Granada Hills, CA 91344 In Drive, the Driver goes to Nino’s Pizzeria to meet Bernie and Nino (Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman) who run the place as a front. Vincenzo’s Pizza is the actual location where the movie was shot, and it’s also a fully functioning delicious pizza joint. We see the Driver getting a couple slices to eat under the Neon “Free Beer Tomorrow” sign that hangs in the restaurant.
4:48 PM – Replace Scorpion Jacket, St. Vincent DePaul Thrift
GET SOME THREADS at 210 N Ave 21, Los Angeles, CA 90031 That scorpion jacket has become as famous as Jennifer Lawrence. You can buy a replica for $159.99, but we think it would be more in the spirit of the film to find a grungier replacement. St. Vincent De Paul Thrift Store often makes its way onto the top 10 lists of thrift stores in Los Angeles due to its plentiful selection and great finds. Of course, as with all thrift stores, it depends on timing.
6:05 PM – Target Practice, LA Gun Club
BREATHING EXERCISES at 1375 E 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90021 In Drive, the Driver doesn’t like to carry a gun, but you don’t need to do that at the LA Gun Club in Downtown Los Angeles. For those not in the mood for a Vegas trip, Downtown LA has a place to learn gun care and safety. That’s something the Driver could get behind.
7:00 PM – Christina Hendricks, Pink Motel*
BLEND IN at 9457 San Fernando Road, Sun Valley, CA In Drive, the Driver hides out at the Pink Motel when the job goes poorly. The dated interiors of the rooms are available for viewing for the price of a room for the night.
10:00 PM – Client Pick-up, Staples Center Parking Lot*
12:05 PM – Drop Off Client, LA River*
SEE THE TREES at Reseda Park Lake, Reseda Blvd. & Victory Blvd., Reseda, CA In Drive, the Driver takes Irene and her son to the LA river. While most of the river is bordered by thick concrete walls and entrance is blocked off by chain-link fences, there are some areas that allow you to go right up the the river. This part of the movie was filmed at Reseda Park Lake at Reseda Blvd. and Victory Blvd. in Reseda, CA. However, our favorite entrance to the LA River is adjacent to the Los Feliz par-3 Golf Course located at 3207 Los Feliz Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA. This part of the river has lots of trees, birds, and other wildlife (thousands of pigeons and a few dozen squirrels), and you can walk right next to the river.
1:00 AM – Car Chase, Point Mugu*
CRUISE at 9000 W Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265 The Driver and Mel Gibson know that Malibu is a great place for a car chase. After cruising by the same street sign at least ten times, as the Driver does in the opening shots of the film, it’ll be a pleasant relief to end the day with a night ride along the coast, or a car chase if things go awry at the Pawn Shop.
4:05 AM – Repeat
Do it all over again.