“Don’t Worry Darling” Filmed at This Iconic Palm Springs Home
“Don’t Worry Darling” — which is now in theaters — may be known for its star-studded cast, but there is one particular filming location that steals the spotlight: the Kaufmann House, a Palm Springs abode that was famously featured in Slim Aarons’ “Poolside Gossip” photograph in 1970.
Built in 1946, the home was designed by architect Richard Neutra and boasts five bedrooms and six bathrooms, across 3,162 square feet. It last sold for $13 million, earlier this year. The Kaufmann House gets its name from its original owner, department store owner Edgar J. Kaufmann, Sr., the same man who commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. One of its later owners was none other than Barry Manilow.
Locations manager Chris Baugh spoke to Apartment Therapy about the Kaufmann House’s appearance in “Don’t Worry Darling,” revealing how director Olivia Wilde and her cast and crew managed to shoot in a historic location that had never been filmed in before.
“During our first visit to the Kaufmann House,” says Baugh, “Olivia [Wilde] shared with me that her inception moment for the project occurred while staring at a framed Slim Aarons photo in her living room.” When Baugh first visited the famed residence, he recalls looking “out over the pool [and] feel[ing] the hair standing up on the back of my neck. It was the type of experience that a location manager can only dream of.”
In “Don’t Worry Darling,” the Kaufmann House is the home of Chris Pine’s character, Frank, who Baugh describes as “the most powerful and inspirational person in the region.” And although this particular home was always at the top of Baugh’s list of ideal filming locations, it was initially unattainable. “The response to my first inquiry was a firm and resounding ‘absolutely not,’” he reveals.
Eventually, through “professionalism, persistence, and passion,” Baugh was able to secure the Kaufmann House as a filming location. “I contacted the owner [of the Kaufmann House] through a woman named Catherine Meyler, who brokers film locations professionally. Catherine actually owns the other [Richard] Neutra house in Palm Springs,” the Grace Miller House.
Naturally, the biggest concern with filming in such a historic, 70-something-year-old home was ensuring its continued preservation. “The home was fragile and extremely valuable,” adds Baugh — not to mention the fact that it was built with “irreplaceable materials.” Subsequently, Baugh “presented a thorough plan for protecting the home and monitoring the filming,” which included covering the home in bubble wrap and having docents in every room. Additionally, “crew members were required to remove their shoes or wear protective booties” and “certain types of traditional film equipment were not allowed inside if they were deemed too big or bulky.” In the end, no damage was done to the abode.
And while the neighborhood that you see in “Don’t Worry Darling” looks too picturesque to be real, it does, in fact, exist in real life, much like the Kaufmann House. Located in South Palm Springs, it’s known as Canyon View Estates. For filming, “every driveway had to be cleared for blocks and blocks [and] every non-period element had to be temporarily removed.” Essentially, Baugh and his team “had to control the entire neighborhood for an extended period of time. It affected the daily routine for hundreds of people. So, that was quite an exercise in logistics and diplomacy.”