Where does A Man Called Otto take place? Filming locations
A Man Called Otto, starring Tom Hanks, is one of the most popular movies on Netflix – here’s everything you need to know about where it takes place and the filming locations.
Helmed by Quantum of Solace director Marc Forster, A Man Called Otto is actually an American adaptation of the 2012 novel A Man Called Ove by Swedish author Fredrik Backman, which itself was made into a movie of the same name in 2015.
The latest iteration of this story hit theaters in January this year, but on May 6, 2023, it dropped on Netflix, reaching thousands of new viewers across the globe and entering the platform’s top 10 chart. The story itself centers on a grumpy old widower whose cold heart is thawed when a family comes into his life.
Although the first cinematic adaptation of A Man Called Ove was set in Sweden, Forster’s remake takes place in the US. We’ve broken down where the 2023 film is set and its main filming locations.
A Man Called Otto setting and filming locations
A Man Called Otto is set in a suburban area of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in north-eastern America. A majority of the movie was filmed here too, as well as some scenes in Ohio.
Speaking to the Pittsburgh Union Progress about the decision to shoot in the Pennsylvanian city, Forster said: “I didn’t feel it should be on either coast. It felt like it should be in the middle of the country, but somewhere where there’s still a lot of culture.”
The filmmaker went on to say that he landed on Pittsburgh after recommendations from his peers, adding: “I loved it. I would come back any day again. I thought the crew was terrific, the people were amazing. I loved the food. The whole experience was amazing.”
Below, you’ll find a list of the different Pennsylvania locations seen in the movie:
St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Oakmont
This normally quiet place of worship became a movie set in March 2022 when the A Man Called Otto crew showed up to film the funeral scene.
The owner of a nearby bakery, Marc Serrao, told Triblive at the time: “We are making some baked goods which should appear in the movie. The hospitality company has been purchasing baked goods for the crews.
“We have talked to some folks from California who have been stopping in the bakery for food. It’s very exciting and we’re hoping to see some famous faces around town before filming is finished in Oakmont.”
Simpson Reinforcing in Arnold
Simpson Reinforcing is a construction company based in the Pennsylvanian city of Arnold, specializing in structural steel.
The company’s president, Robert Simpson, was excited by the news that the crew wanted to film scenes at his establishment.
In a conversation with Triblive, he said: “They just showed up at our door one day. They came in, looked around, asked if we would be interested, and we said ‘yes.’ We never expected them to pick us, but they did.”
Sewickley Cemetery in Sewickley
Sewickley Cemetery has been offering a sensitive and professional service to its clients since 1859.
It also became the location for the scene in A Man Called Otto when Tom Hanks’ character visits the grave of his late wife, Sonya (Rachel Keller).
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary is a Presbyterian graduate seminary in Pittsburgh, which houses one of the largest theological libraries in the tri-state area.
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When it was used as a filming location for A Man Called Otto, the institution wrote on Facebook: “Remember our post at the end of March when we mentioned a major motion picture was filming on campus? Well, we can now say it was for the upcoming Tom Hanks film A Man Called Otto!”
“We even got to meet Tom’s son, Truman Hanks, who is playing Otto in a flash-back in the movie.”
Merchant Street in Ambridge
You may remember Merchant Street in Ambridge as the location where Otto teaches Marisol (Mariana Treviño) how to drive.
The street has a rich history, which you can learn more about in the video below:
Gilliland Ave in Pittsburgh
Gilliland Ave plays an important role in A Man Called Otto, as it’s the place where the ever-grumpy Otto lives, and one where the new neighbors who change his life move to.
Forster told the Pittsburgh Union Progress that his production designer Barbara Ling stumbled upon the Bellevue cul-de-sac by looking through Google Earth.
Stangl’s Bakery in Ambridge
Stangl’s Bakery is a real-life bakery offering everything from wedding to birthday cakes, as well as cookies and other sweet treats.
In A Man Called Otto, it was featured in the scene where Otto takes Marisol to the bakery he used to visit every Saturday with his late wife.
Other locations in the movie
Other A Man Called Otto locations in Pennsylvania include:
- Busy Beaver of Lawrenceville, a Pittsburgh store
- Bay 41, a public/private event space in Pittsburgh
- Monroeville Senior Citizens Center, a senior citizens center in Monroeville
- North Park, a 3,075-acre park in Allegheny County
A Man Called Otto filming locations in Ohio include:
- Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, a tourist excursion railway in Brecksville
- Cuyahoga Valley National Park, along the Cuyahoga River between Cleveland and Akron
- The Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza (formerly Central Union Terminal), a transport station in Toledo
A Man Called Otto is available to stream on Netflix now. It is also available to buy or rent on various platforms including Amazon Prime Video, which you can sign up for here.
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