Sofia Coppola had her 21st birthday party at the Chateau Marmont — a fact she had forgotten until Phil Pavel, the hotel manager, reminded her while she was there shooting her new film, Somewhere. It’s the first feature to be granted clearance to shoot extensively inside the rooms and on the grounds of the infamous Sunset Boulevard hideaway, legendary for its starry scandal sheet. It’s the site where John Belushi and Helmut Newton died, where sometime Coppola muse Scarlett Johansson allegedly had sex with Benicio Del Toro in an elevator (an event nodded to in Somewhere), from which Britney Spears was — allegedly! — banned for “smearing her dinner on her face.” It is an official landmark, No. 151 on the city’s list of Historic-Cultural Monuments. In contemporary pop culture, it’s a symbol of Peak L.A. — a concentrated dose of a certain fantasy version of this city’s secret life. Sofia Coppola, Lost at the Chateau Marmont.

Sofia Coppola had her 21st birthday party at the Chateau Marmont — a fact she had forgotten until Phil Pavel, the hotel manager, reminded her while she was there shooting her new film, Somewhere. It’s the first feature to be granted clearance to shoot extensively inside the rooms and on the grounds of the infamous Sunset Boulevard hideaway, legendary for its starry scandal sheet. It’s the site where John Belushi and Helmut Newton died, where sometime Coppola muse Scarlett Johansson allegedly had sex with Benicio Del Toro in an elevator (an event nodded to in Somewhere), from which Britney Spears was — allegedly! — banned for “smearing her dinner on her face.” It is an official landmark, No. 151 on the city’s list of Historic-Cultural Monuments. In contemporary pop culture, it’s a symbol of Peak L.A. — a concentrated dose of a certain fantasy version of this city’s secret life.

Sofia Coppola, Lost at the Chateau Marmont.