Meet the Breakout Star From Brian De Palma’s BODY DOUBLE…The Chemosphere.

Brian De Palma, coming fresh off the commercial success of Scarface was given a blank check by Columbia Pictures to make his next film…Body Double. It’s an obvious homage to Hitchcock’s Vertigo and Rear Window. Playing on elements of voyeurism, obsession, and illusion through Craig Wasson’s performance as Jake Scully and his relationship with Melanie Griffith as Holly Body, the punk pornstar femme fatale, who's instantly iconic and steals nearly every scene she appears in. Considering a large portion of the movie consists of stunning camera movement paired with a hypnotic score I'd say it's safe to assume this is De Palma showing off his ability to tell a story through cinema. The plot obsessively deals between the boundaries of the real and unreal, Pino Donaggio’s dreamlike synths and strings only helps add to this level of ambiguity. Body Double also contains a film within a film sequence in which pop band Frankie Goes to Hollywood performs their song "Relax” on the set of a porn film starring Holly Body. However, the least discussed element in Body Double is the unbelievable place that Jake Scully is offered to housesit…the Chemosphere.


The Chemosphere was built in 1960 by Los Angeles architect, John Lautner. At the time it was regarded as the most modern home built in the world because of its unique shape and its ingenuity at making use of the land. The building stands on the San Fernando Valley side of the Hollywood Hills, just off Mulholland Drive and requires a short cable railroad ride to reach the front door. This innovative design sits atop a 5-foot-wide concrete pole nearly 30 ft high--Lautner's solution to a site that, with a slope of 45 degrees, was thought to be practically unbuildable. Because of a concrete pedestal, almost 20 ft in diameter, buried under the earth and supporting the post, the house has survived earthquakes and heavy rains. To build the house, the commissioner of the project--Leonard Malin attracted chemical manufacturers to help fund the construction, hence the nickname – CHEMOSPHERE.

The house has long been regarded as a Los Angeles landmark, you can often catch tourists on Hollywood Bus Tours and hear the tour guide mention its significance in Body Double as they pass by. De Palma’s movie has transformed the Chemosphere into a pop culture icon on its own; it famously doubled as the home of Troy McClure from The Simpsons season 7 episode titled ‘A Fish Called Selma’ and has also made an appearance in Grand Theft Auto V’s fictional video-game version of Los Angeles. Since 1998, it has been the Los Angeles home of Benedikt Taschen, of the German publishing house Taschen. The new owners recently had the place restored and fortunately are aware of the significance this house carries in both the architectural and film communities. The best way to represent your enthusiasm for De Palma's Body Double and Lautner's Chemosphere is by copping our official Director Fits Bootleg T-shirt!

Troy McClure's house in The Simpsons Season 7 Episode 

‘A Fish Called Selma’ (1996)

From Grand Theft Auto V's fictional version of L.A. - Los Santos (2013)

Watch this if you wanna nerd out on some Architecture :)


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