Before that, when Bradley Cooper set out to make A Star Is Born (2018), a remake of the 1937 romance about the tribulations of life in the spotlight, he sought to film the big concert sequences at live music festivals. Home to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and Stagecoach, the Empire Polo Club in Indio received significant screen time. The production started principal photography there on a weekday in April 2017 so as not to interfere with Coachella’s two consecutive weekends, headlined by Cooper’s co-star, Lady Gaga, who jumped into the festival lineup when a pregnant Beyoncé bowed out. The production returned to the polo grounds the following weekend, during Stagecoach, to shoot the movie’s opening concert sequence with Cooper as rocker Jackson Maine. The performance was filmed discreetly — and without a live mic, so as not to publicize the original tracks — in between sets by Willie Nelson and Jamey Johnson.
What’s in a name? Well, that’s a question for the producers of Palm Springs, the 2020 Andy Samberg comedy that The New York Times called “wildly funny.” What’s not so funny is that, although the plot centers around a destination wedding in our desert, the movie was primarily shot in less costly Santa Clarita, Palmdale, and other Southern California locations, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Fortunately, the desert wins an appreciable number of productions.
Anyone who’s ever driven the twisty Palms to Pines Scenic Byway, aka Highway 74, will find themselves hitting the imaginary brakes while watching Jimmy Durante negotiate its hairpin turns at 80 mph in the opening scene of It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963). While far less unsettling, additional high-speed segments of the star-spangled movie were filmed in Palm Springs and Twentynine Palms.