Budapest stands in for Berlin

Atomic Blonde filmmakers cast the Hungarian city as 1980s Germany
Budapest stands in for Berlin

In the new espionage thriller Atomic Blonde (out July 28), Charlize Theron’s super-spy Lorraine Broughton goes on a rampage through pre-unification Berlin in 1989, meaning the filmmakers were tasked with recreating a rough-edged version of the city, including one of its most iconic Cold War symbols: the Berlin Wall. Atomic Blonde production designer David Scheunemann clued us in on a couple of his secrets. —Jeff Miller

While the real Berlin was employed for some of the film’s exteriors, several scenes were shot in Budapest. “The urban layout and the streets of Budapest are more compact than Berlin,” says Scheunemann. “That makes it almost a cinematic backlot version of Berlin.”

The Berlin Wall featured in the film is actually a 250-foot-long, 12-foot-high reproduction built out of wood. The barricade’s graffiti was crafted from painters handpicked by Budapest-based graffiti artist Nikon, who relied on 20 years of history to get the vibe of the wall just right.