Movies Come To Whidbey

Practical Magic, Snow Falling on Cedars, Double Jeopardy, The War of the Roses, and several more names that are probably being shouted out because folks know the list is much longer. Those four are movies that have been at least partly filmed on the island. Maybe it was just a scene, maybe it required repainting a town. Maybe searching on “Filming Locations, Whidbey Island” misses places like Langley, WA (mistaking it for Langley, BC; or Langley, CIA headquarters); or gets broad by locating a movie with something broad and close like “San Juan Islands”, or gets too specific like “Ebey” without mentioning it is on Whidbey. Whidbey is a handy place for photos, and moving ones, too. So, if you see a lot of lights, cameras, and action as well as celebrities, limos, and security guards don’t be too surprised. Here are four that can be inspirations to stream or rent, or to see if you can match the scenes by driving around.

(Thanks to for the database.)

Practical Magic

Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Stockard Channing

Snow Falling on Cedars

Ethan Hawke, Max von Sydow, Yuki Kudo

Double Jeopardy

Ashley Judd, Tommy Lee Jones, Bruce Greenwood

The War of the Roses 

Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito

The way movies are made can be odd and funny. Places stand in for other places, sometimes because it is easier to only film in one country. Sites are selected because a producer or director or actor likes a place, or it is convenient. Destinations like Deception Pass Bridge show up for their aerial and panoramic qualities even though no scenes are set there. Talk about fly-by country, eh? 

IMDB’s list (Internet Movie Database, is probably not as complete as some local videophile’s list. Hopefully Island County or Washington State have a comprehensive set. Local governments may also have the longer set of sets for TV shows, commercials, and documentaries. Cars are frequently photographed driving around the hairpin turn just above Ebey’s Landing. 

Hollywood’s influence is also more permanent than the temporary whirlwind that is a production set. The island is home to many writers, producers, actors, editors who move here to get away from the glitter of Hollywood. Quiet is valuable. That’s appropriate considering that the work behind the scenes is hectic, largely invisible, and necessary to make the scenes more visible. Thanks for doing what you do. We’ll try to keep the noise down, and try to keep from peeking until the production is released.

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