Where Was Knives Out Filmed

“Knives Out,” the gripping murder mystery film, takes the audience on a thrilling journey through the halls of a grand mansion. But where was this intriguing movie filmed? Let’s uncover the locations that served as the backdrop for this cinematic masterpiece.

The Exterior and Interior: An Intricate Blend

Knives Out Exterior Mansion

To bring the mansion of Harlan Thrombey to life, the filmmakers utilized two distinct locations. The exterior shots were captured at a gothic revival mansion just outside of Boston, built in 1890. This majestic mansion perfectly set the scene and established a sense of foreboding.

For the interior scenes, the filmmakers turned to the Ames Mansion, situated at Massachusetts’ Borderland State Park. This 20-room historic site, previously seen in Martin Scorsese’s “Shutter Island,” provided the ideal setting for the tense family conflicts and intense interrogations that unfold after Harlan’s death.

Designing Harlan’s Office: A Unique Challenge

Knives Out Office

While the chosen locations fulfilled most of the film’s requirements, they couldn’t accommodate the specific layout needed for Harlan’s office. To overcome this challenge, production designer David Crank constructed the office and connecting hallway on a soundstage. Working closely with director Rian Johnson, they ensured the characters’ movements seamlessly aligned with the actual houses and sets used for shooting, creating a cohesive and immersive experience.

Creating the Atmosphere: From “Sleuth” to Automata

Knives Out Automata

To capture Harlan’s personality, Crank adorned the Ames Mansion with novels and knick-knacks that reflected the character’s tastes. Although the iconic board game “Clue” is playfully referenced in the film, Crank’s main inspiration came from the 1972 Oscar-nominated mystery film, “Sleuth.” This influence led to the inclusion of numerous automata and dollhouses throughout the mansion, evoking a mysterious and eerie ambiance.

Each automaton and dollhouse was carefully placed to ensure they felt like natural extensions of the mansion’s decor. From a sailor figure by the door to a captivating dollhouse seen over Daniel Craig’s shoulder, these additions enhanced the visual storytelling and paid homage to the film that inspired “Knives Out.”

The Noteworthy Knives: A Unique Design

Knives Out Knives

One standout prop in the movie is the ring of knives displayed in the Thrombeys’ living room. Positioned in front of a chair, these knives create a visually striking image, appearing to point directly at whoever sits in the seat. While some may draw parallels to the Iron Throne from “Game of Thrones,” production designer David Crank revealed that it wasn’t an intentional influence.

Initially, the design featured a rectangular structure with the knives pointing outward. However, through a process of iterations and exploration, the final version of a ring of blades pointing inward was born. This design choice perfectly encapsulated the vision of director Rian Johnson, creating an unforgettable and symbolic visual element.


Q: Where was the exterior of the mansion in “Knives Out” filmed?
A: The exterior shots were filmed at a gothic revival mansion located just outside of Boston.

Q: What is the significance of the automata and dollhouses in the film?
A: The inclusion of automata and dollhouses pays tribute to the film “Sleuth” and adds a mysterious and eerie ambiance to the mansion in “Knives Out.”

Q: How was Harlan’s office created for the film?
A: Harlan’s office and connecting hallway were constructed on a soundstage, allowing for precise alignment with the houses and sets used for filming.


The captivating world of “Knives Out” was brought to life through a combination of carefully chosen locations and meticulous production design. From the gothic revival mansion to the historic Ames Mansion, each setting played a pivotal role in immersing the audience in the thrilling narrative. The inclusion of automata, dollhouses, and the iconic ring of knives added depth and symbolism to the film’s visual storytelling. Now, you can experience the genius of these cinematic choices firsthand by watching “Knives Out” in theaters.

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