One of the most surprising science fiction hits from 2012 was writer/director Rian Johnson’s Looper. Johnson has always been a good source for smart, entertaining movies, like his previous films Brick and The Brothers Bloom, but the time traveling action film really elevated (no pun intended) his game. The story of a hit man sent back in time to be executed by his younger self, captured the imagination of genre fans and general audiences alike. Now that it’s out on home video, Looper can find a new audience to entertain.
Strangely, one of the sets from Johnson’s film is still on location, seemingly abandoned by Looper’s production team. The diner, where the young Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) meets with his older self (Bruce Willis), remains in the middle of an open field along Highway 1010 near Napoleonville, Louisiana. A majority of the film was shot in New Orleans, which doubled for Kansas City in the year 2042. Looper also filmed in Shanghai, as a co-production with the Chinese company DMG Entertainment.
During principle photography, while the production team was building, many of the locals asked when the new restaurant was going to open for business. This is understandable considering how much the structure resembles a real-life diner, rather than a film set. While the diner never served actual flapjacks or coffee, it did showcase one of the more thrilling action sequences between young Joe and old Joe.
The diner is the location of one of the most memorable moments in Looper, where future Joe tells his present day self not to spend too much time thinking about the technical aspects of time travel. This scene also warns audiences not to be consumed with the mechanics of time travel, but rather to just enjoy the story as it unfolds. This is a brilliant piece of writing from Johnson, if you ask me.
One Looper fan took the time to track down the leftover set. Bailee Grissom, a student from New Orleans, traveled far and wide through back roads and highways trying to find the diner. When she eventually stumbled upon the location, she was surprised to see that it was in such good condition. Although the doors were locked, Grissom took a few snapshots through the windows and doors. She even tweeted them to Rian Johnson, who in turn posted the photos on the official Looper tumblr.
Considering the location and preserved condition, it’s curious to think if someone would want to open an actual diner in the existing set. New owners could easily make it a great off-the-beaten-path tourist destination, and advertise it as a location from the film.
Grissom posted the set’s coordinates on Google Maps, so other fans can experience a piece of movie history for themselves. Watch the diner face-off scene from Looper below: