Sunday, September 3, 2017

Sleeping With The Enemy (1991)

Laaaaauuuuuuura!  A template for Lifetime movies to come, Sleeping With The Enemy is a guilty pleasure for the masses.  Julia Roberts plays a battered housewife held prisoner in an idyllic beachfront property on The Cape.  She's found the perfect opportunity to escape when she and her abusive OCD husband Martin are invited to go sailing with a neighbor who makes Gilligan look like Sir Francis Drake.  Thought to have drowned, Laura relocates to Cedar Falls, Iowa to start a new life and be closer to her ailing mother.  She gets over her abuse alarmingly fast and begins a relationship with the semi-creepy guy next door.  Just as her life is back on track, Martin gets clued in that his wife is still alive.  Laura soon finds her bath towels and food cans perfectly aligned again before finally blowing Martin away.    

Sleeping With The Enemy has plot holes you can drive a truck through.  I can't TELL you how many times I've rented a place with no ID or a credit check.  Another favorite is Martin not using the toilet after Laura dies, but then deciding to bleed out into it instead of washing his hands. Julia Roberts picks up the baton from Halloween II (1981)'s Jamie Lee Curtis for most obvious wig in a movie.  Only to cut her hair, don another wig later used in a Goddess segment from Showgirls (1995), and then have her hair appear longer again.  And if you're confused by the cutesy, yet out of place, props department montage, don't be.  Pretty Woman (1990) was released just prior to filming, and the producers realized they had a rom com star in the making and decided to sandwich in the block of Velveeta. 

Sleeping With The Enemy was filmed in Clinton, Abbeville, Waterloo and Spartanburg, SC and Wrightsville Beach, Kure Beach and Wilmington, NC

Location: Martin & Laura's Cape Cod House
Address: 2700 Lumina Avenue, Wrightsville Beach, NC

Just like Bernie Lomax's house from Weekend At Bernie's (1989), Martin & Laura's house was a facade built specifically for the film and then torn down right afterwards.  Maybe it's a requirement of the North Carolina Film Office, but it saddens me to know two sweet pieces of real estate don't actually exist.  The house is just north of where the Shell Island Resort now stands...

Location: The "Welcome to Iowa" Sign
Address: Highway 221 South, Waterloo, SC

The exact spot is not known but somewhere along Highway 221 close to The Rolling S Golf Club is where the bus passes the "Welcome to Iowa" sign...

Location: Cedar Falls Town Square
Address: Court Square, Abbeville, SC

This area is seen again when Laura/Sara calls her mother...

And during the 4th of July parade...

Location: Laura/Sara's House
Address: 404 Magazine Street, Abbeville, SC

In the movie, the address of the house is actually 408...

Location: Ben's House
Address: 402 Magazine Street, Abbeville, SC

Location: The University of Northern Iowa
Address: 503 S Broad Street, Clinton, SC  Presbyterian College

My trip to the Carolinas began with an early spring monsoon.  Luckily, the rain let up for a few minutes upon my arrival in Abbeville, but when I got to Clinton, it was pouring so some shots are not exactly matched up.

The Library where "Sara" worked is Edmunds Hall...

Georgia Hall is seen when the drama teacher Martin mistakens for Ben walks back to his car...

After pistol-whipping the gay drama teacher, Martin is seen walking past Jacobs Hall...

It is seen again later when Ben exits the building...

Location: The Carnival
Address: 1739 Hewlett Drive, Wilmington, NC 
Cape Fear Fair & Expo

Oddly located at The Wilmington Airport...

Location: Laura Takes Center Stage
Address: 100 Court Square, Abbeville, SC  Abbeville Opera House

Many thanks to fine folks at The Abbeville Opera House for letting me take a peak...

Locations Visited: April 2016


  1. Thx for this site. I enjoyed much. Maybe I have a info for you according the 'Minnesota Nursing Home':

    A section of the old Spartanburg County Nursing Home, on New Cut Road, was remodeled for filming scenes of the movie. The building was later torn down and is now part of Spartanburg Community College's property. (Thank you Jayne Marsh for sharing this tidbit and for also letting us know that Julia Roberts stayed at the Residence Inn on Fairforest Road.)

    This I found under


    1. Glad you enjoyed the pics! I actually came across that website when I was doing research for the locations. I was under the impression they were talking about the nursing home where Laura visits her mother. I couldn't find any information on the building seen when Martin visits the nursing home she was transferred out of.

    2. It was actually the old TB hospital On Broadcast Drive.. I know that for a fact because I worked on the movie. It was located behind the SCDC office and the work release center across the road from Spartanburg Tech..

  2. Hey! The picture location you attributed to Neville Hall on Presbyterian College's campus is actually Georgia Hall, a residence building. Great job with the article!

    1. Thank you and thanks for the correction! I updated the page.

    2. The modern picture is showing Neville hall, I could send you a picture of Georgia hall if you would like to update the photo as well!

  3. Thanks for the info. We live in Wilmington, NC and have been to that fair. They use the airport because there is so much unused land out there. I am waiting for the film, "Bolden" to come out. I got to be an extra in that film. Curious whether they cut the scenes with me in it, and whether it turns out to have been a worthwhile project.

    1. You're welcome, Ken! Hope you make it on camera for Bolden.

  4. This is amazing! Me and my nephew travel around California
    checking out filming locations as well. Do you often
    travel to get these pics for locations? Just asking because
    I have some interesting movie suggestions where I haven't
    been able to go see myself. I just popped onto this page so
    is this your homepage? Thanks!

  5. Thank you! That's awesome. What movies/shows have you visited? There's a link to the homepage toward the top on the right hand side. You can click on Locations Master List to see all the movies, tv shows and music video locations I've been to. I do try and take a trip or two a year.

  6. The “Laura takes center stage location” is wrong. That is Thalian Hall in Wilmington, NC.

    1. Really? According to a few websites, it was the Opera House. Are you able to confirm?

    2. I was searching for some more locations for this film, as I'm assembling a filming location website (which I started back in 2007 but left dormant for a long time), and had to check this for myself. I too figured it would have been in Abbeville, but that is definitely Thalian Hall. I didn't even think to check until I saw NC Native's comment.

      Have a look at my location guide for Dream a Little Dream. The very first photo you see should be Coleman's Dream inside Thalian Hall. Note the column design. The Opera House has plain cylindrical columns, but Thalian Hall has columns with busy stuff toward the top.

      Also the doors immediately behind him match this photo a friend took when they renovated:!1s0x89aa1fc6b1b15791%3A0x2406d42e96afc274!3m1!7e115!!5sthalian%20hall%20-%20Google%20Search!15sCgIgAQ&imagekey=!1e10!2sAF1QipN6Zp2uDSiMYQSWFe-Wzp3OB4JZt6Ri8A4Gc-XC&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwigj8GL76f1AhX3TjABHZxfBtEQoip6BAhPEAM

  7. Just a couple of small corrections: I lived in Wrightsville Beach when the filming was done. You are correct the modern beach house was just a facade but it was built north of the hotel. The hotel was already there and was built in the early 80s. Your third photo regarding the beach house (marked @btkphotos) is actually of the south end of the next island over, called Figure Eight. The modern house on the left side of that photo is real and was the inspiration for the shell that was built. I have heard that production wanted to use that house for the movie but have heard two different reasons why they did not: 1. The owners refused, 2. The interiors were very traditional and did not match the exterior. It is true the interiors were very traditional. Interior and exterior photos can be seen here:

    1. Ah, thanks for clarifying. That's cool that you were there during filming. Did you get to watch any of it?

    2. No, they shut down all pedestrian traffic on that part of the beach while filming. I got to see the shell of the house up close afterwards but not during. It stayed up for a few months after filming was over. It was built near the end of the island where there are no other houses or buildings. That area is now a bird sanctuary and nesting ground.

  8. This brought back great memories. I was in the carnival scene. It was at the old fairgrounds on Carolina Beach Rd., not the airport. I believe it’s a community now. Great fun at a free carnival!