Whether the players are from the U.S., the U.K., Brazil, or France, all the reality stars who cohabitate and manipulate together on The Circle reside in the same apartment building for the duration of the series. And though the participants and hosts like U.S. emcee Michelle Buteau seem to have the full run of the place, the neon-emblazoned apartment building is part of a real residential complex with more than 200 units.
Read on for more about the building owner and other details about how living in The Circle apartment works!
Where is 'The Circle' filmed?
Exterior shots in each series in the franchise show the modern complex, festooned with a bright neon circle on the front, though B-roll depicting the "city" they're in may vary based on the nationality of the residents. Show creator Tim Harcourt explained to Vulture that this is to give viewers a sense of familiarity and create the illusion the game is taking place in the participants' home country.
However, that's only true for participants in the original, U.K. franchise, which ended after three seasons in 2021. The apartments are located in Salford, a borough of Greater Manchester, England, and casts from all the franchises are flown in to film there. While they may get some decor refreshes and other aesthetic changes to make each cast's apartments seem unique, the locale is always the same.
You can actually stay at 'The Circle' building in Manchester.
If you want to experience what it's like to live in the catfishing game without becoming a player yourself, some Dream Apartments units are available to rent for brief stays on hotel booking sites. The building is marketed as a long-term stay accommodation for business travelers and people relocating to the area. However, some residents have complained that it isn't a very rosy living experience for people who aren't part of The Circle cast and crew.
Longer-term residents have complained to Manchester Evening News that access to parking is often obstructed due to the show and that noise, trash, and blocked entrances during filming have made living there less than a dream.
“When I moved in during lockdown I was working from home. It’s hard to concentrate," one resident complained. "There are people partying till three/four in the morning.”
Yes, the neon circle is real.
Some viewers have wondered whether the iconic neon circle on the front of the building is real or an effect added in post-production, but creator Harcourt says it's very much real, though it's LED and not neon. "I haven’t got the exact dimensions, but it’s about a 25-meter diameter aluminum track, I think, which is bolted onto the front of the building and then we run LED lights through and around the circle," he told Vulture.
"In the first season, everyone thought that we had created an effect in postproduction with the lights, but actually the lights are on the front of the building, reflecting and shining into the players’ rooms."
Another possible drawback for some residents, but perhaps a feature for others!