Starstruck in the San Juans

By Courtney Oldwyn published on April 20, 2017

One would think the gorgeous, unique scenery of the San Juan Islands and the quiet community (i.e. no paparazzi) would make this area the perfect place for filming movies. Yet, over the years, the San Juans have set the scene for only a few movies. Some more well known than others.

I have collected some of the better known movies shot in and around our gorgeous islands. All within an easy drive of your cozy room here at the Tucker House Inn.

Practical Magic with Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock

In the summer of 1997 Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman (her superstar husband at the time Tom Cruise in tow) rented homes on San Juan Island and began filming Practical Magic. The movie appeared in theaters in 1998.

Sightings of the famous actresses were few. But visitors and locals could watch the actual filming from a trail head at the San Juan County Park. Filmmakers built a huge shell of a historic seaside home in the middle of the park’s grassy picnic area. The house was the long time family home of the Owens sisters played by Bullock and Kidman. They were witches who used their powers of practical magic in their searches for true love.

The Postman with Kevin Costner

Though not actually filmed in the San Juan Islands, The Postman, starring Kevin Costner, did film its final scenes in quaint Anacortes, Washington. Most of the filming was done in multiple towns around Oregon and Arizona.

The jumping off point and home of the Washington State Ferry service to all of the San Juans, Anacortes got a tiny of taste of stardom when huge star at the time, Costner, filmed the movie’s end with Mary Stuart Masterson.

Free Willy 1 and 2

Any 90’s kid will never forget that epic moment at the end of Free Willy. A huge orca whale soars to freedom over the head of the film’s star (and Willy’s savior) Jesse.

The film brought the majesty -and plight- of our local orcas to a nationwide audience. And also helped spur what is now a booming economic and environmental industry to the San Juan Islands.

The movies were filmed in multiple locations around Oregon. However, they filmed the harrowing scenes of orcas being captured in the wild right here in the Salish Sea.

Your Sister’s Sister with Emily Blunt

This 2012 film starring Emily Blunt as Iris, who invites her friend Jack (Mark Duplass) and her sister Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt) to her family’s ocean side cabin is set on Orcas Island. The film showcases why most people visit this quiet Island. Its scenic, rolling country roads, towering, mossy forests and rocky ocean shores. If this movie doesn’t make you book an island getaway nothing will!

Taming Wild – A Girl and her Mustang

Longtime San Juan Islander and accomplished horsewoman, Elsa Sinclair, created this documentary. Sinclair spent a full year answering one question: could she tame a completely untouched, wild mustang to voluntarily allow her to ride it within one year using no training tools, just body language and her own “freedom based training” methods.

So, don’t miss this documentary if you are enamored with the bond between humans and animals.

See for Yourself!

Whether you’re a movie buff or you love any of these movies, a stay at the Tucker House Inn here on San Juan Island is the perfect starting point for an island wide filming location road trip! We’ll even fuel you up with a 2-course meal and send you off to have your own “movie-like” experience.

Cheers!

Courtney ~ Local Blogger for the San Juan Island Inn Collection