Rebel Wilson’s Senior Year filmed on campus


Over the summer, the cast and crew of the movie Senior Year filmed on Westminster’s campus. The upcoming film, starring and produced by Rebel Wilson, has become a popular talking point on campus, generating excitement among the students after the shoot at the school. The film is produced by both Paramount Players, a new division of Paramount Pictures, and Netflix and is directed by Alex Hardcastle, who is well-known for directing episodes of Parks and Recreation, Grace and Frankie, and The Office

The comedy is set in 1997 and follows the story of Ruby, played by Wilson, who is the most popular girl in high school. She is the captain of the cheerleading squad, dating the quarterback of the football team, and on her way to becoming prom queen. All this hard work, however, goes to waste when she falls off the top of the cheerleading pyramid and goes into a coma. Ruby wakes up from her coma 20 years later as a 37-year-old woman. The main conflict in the story comes as the once-popular cheerleader returns to high school to regain her status and claim the prom queen crown that eluded her in high school. 

Wilson’s co-stars include Alicia Silverstone, who played Cher in the movie Clueless; Justin Scott Hartley, who stars as Kevin in the television show This is Us; Disney actor ​​Avantika Vandanapu, who starred in the Disney Channel movie Spin, and other prominent actors. What’s more, some Westminster alumni can be seen in the background of shots as they were given the opportunity to be extras on the set.

With Westminster’s combination of old and new buildings and the sharp contrast between buildings built in the 1950s, such as Askew, as well as buildings built more recently, like Campbell and Hawkins, it drew interest as a potential location. The scouting process for filming on campus began with a location scout coming and walking through multiple places. The scouting director for Senior Year, Ethan Firestone, came in March 2021 and started looking around the campus. A couple of weeks later, a smaller team of about eight people came to campus, and they walked the same spots. There was a final scouting, at which all of the department heads were brought onto campus, a team of 30 to 36 people. At that point, they were looking at the script and calendar and deciding on which scenes to shoot on certain days.

“Westminster was chosen for a handful of reasons,” said Firestone. “The main reason is that the campus has multiple buildings that fit the creative look, feel, and design that our producers and director wanted. With so many options in one place, we were able to film almost half the movie on your campus.” 

Filming took place at multiple locations around campus. A large pep rally scene was filmed in Turner, and a PTA meeting took place in Kellett Theater. A lunch scene was filmed in the Malone dining hall and a graduation scene was filmed on Pressly Patio, which is also where Westminster graduation takes place. In the Middle School’s Clarkson Hall, the language hallway, the sixth-grade boys’ locker commons, and the entire third floor were used for filming. In addition, a library scene was filmed in the George Woodruff Library.

The cast and crew of Senior Year spent eight weeks filming on campus. While they were here, students got to see the set and even got to interact with the team.

“During summer school, I got to go on the set and see everything,” said freshman Arnika Alikhani. “They put up a lot of posters that said things about prom and homecoming queen, and they decorated all the lockers.”

“I was able to go visit the set with the Studio W club,” said Studio W leader Sam Levine. “It was cool to go and walk around and talk to some producers, screenwriters, and people that do hair and makeup. The director of sound actually gave us some equipment to use to make it easier for us to work on our short films.”

Senior Year, however, is not the only movie that has been filmed on Westminster’s campus; the campus has held a high attraction for many other films as well. The Blind Side was also  filmed on campus. The same team that worked on The Blind Side also worked on Senior Year. Westminster hopes to continue as a site for future films. 

“Actually, we are being scouted for a Netflix movie right now,” said Kelley Day, the coordinator of enterprise operations at Westminster. “It’s just a pool scene that would be shot over Columbus Day weekend. We’re also being scouted for Quantico; they were interested in doing an outside scene over at the summer camp.”

The filming of Rebel Wilson’s Senior Year has concluded on Westminster’s campus, and the film is expected to be released on Netflix at the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022. Be sure to stay on the lookout when watching shows and movies; you never know when a familiar classroom, field, or building may show up on the screen.