Why Urbania House, New Orleans was the perfect film location for Deep Water

Bruno Cooke March 20, 2022
Why Urbania House, New Orleans was the perfect film location for Deep Water

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Hulu’s new psychological thriller Deep Water is set in the fictional Louisiana town of Little Wesley, and marks the long-awaited return of English director Adrian Lyne. One of Deep Water’s eerier – and possibly more recognisable – locations is Urbania House, New Orleans. Who owns it, and where else have you seen it?

Deep Water’s Urbania House is a bit of a New Orleans legend

First of all Urbania House in Lower Garden District, New Orleans, has its own IMDB page

As a filming location, it has featured in several major productions, including Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave and A Little Bit Of Heaven, which came out in 2011.

Such is its significance as a shooting location, Urbania House is number one on Curbed NOLA’s list of New Orleans’ “ultimate horror movie filming locations”. 

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Deep Water | Official Trailer
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It sits alongside Otis House (from Eve’s Bayou), Houmas House Plantation And Gardens (from Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte) and Evergreen Plantation (from Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), among others.

But most recently, it’s Hulu subscribers who have enjoyed a tour round Urbania House’s eerie walls.

Who is the owner of Urbania House? When was it built?

Urbania House, New Orleans, dates to the 1830s or 1840s, according to a NOLA feature on the house. Its owners, at least as of 2014, were actor Banks McClintock and wife Julie Simpson. 

He played “Keg Guy” in Not Another Teen Movie (2001) and an engineer in 2002’s Cherish. His background includes work as a bartender and server, while wife Julie Simpson is a designer.

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They have a history of developing 19th century New Orleans buildings, having also planned a European-style “speakeasy” renovation of a building in Magazine Street, also in the Lower Garden District.

The couple bought the building in 2003. They began buying and renovating old houses “mainly out of a shared love of historic architecture”, NOLA writes.

In McClintock’s words, they specialise in “important houses that are in terrible shape, that people can’t figure out how to redo them, are scared to redo them or there are other issues”.

What has Julie Simpson said about Deep Water’s iconic film location?

“When I work on a house,” NOLA quotes Simpson as saying of Urbania, in 2017, “I like to let the architecture speak for itself.”

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Source: YouTube [20th Century Studios]

She and her family, including her mother, acquired the house in 2009. Simpson followed a Notarial Archives Plan Book drawing of the house in its original condition, along with a photograph by Clarence John Laughlin (who died in 1985), in her refurbishment. 

At the time, she and McClintock were living between Urbania (not the house’s original name, but one Simpson appears to have chosen) and their other home in Magazine Street.

Deep Water arrived on Hulu on 18 March 2022, having forgone a theatrical release. 

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com.