See if you recognize Everett in these films

It’s not quite 31 Days of Oscar, but I do have an idea for you.

Say you’ve already seen all the great flicks broadcast by Turner Classic Movies during Academy Awards season. You still have hours to kill before tonight’s Oscars. How about a Snohomish County film festival?

This is hardly a complete list of movies shot in and around Everett. That’s OK, there isn’t enough time to watch more than a few before the start of the 81st Academy Awards show. With these movies, the fun is picking out places you recognize.

In “Assassins,” with Sylvester Stallone and Antonio Banderas, Everett’s Evergreen Cemetery plays a part. Look quickly, you’ll catch a glimpse of the Rucker tomb in the 1995 movie.

Back in 1985, Gene Hackman, Ann-Margret and Ellen Burstyn starred in “Twice in a Lifetime.” The tale of a factory worker’s mid-life crisis was shot largely on Everett’s waterfront and in Snohomish.

“The Chocolate War,” based on the Robert Cormier novel, is a 1988 movie about boys’ cruelty to each other at a prep school. Many scenes were shot under gray skies in north Everett.

In 1992, “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me,” David Lynch’s film version of the TV show, was filmed partly in Everett. I walked with co-workers to see the filming of a scene in which a car pulls away from an old house on Grand Avenue.

More recently, scenes were shot aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln in Everett for the 2003 movie “The Core.” In 2001, part of the spooky “The Ring” was shot in Stanwood and Monroe. And in 2000 and 2001, crews from the TV series “The Fugitive,” with Tim Daly, were frequently spotted in and around Everett.

Lanie McMullen, executive director for the city of Everett, said those glory days have slipped away for several reasons. That’s not to say the city has turned its back on the film industry, said McMullen, whose duties include economic development.

“We had ‘The Ring,’ that was a big film,” she said. “And ‘The Fugitive,’ that was huge. We’d have two crews leap-frogging each other, preparing for each episode.”

For a time, McMullen said, much of the Northwest’s movie business moved to Vancouver, B.C. Among the reasons, McMullen said, were a favorable dollar exchange rate in Canada, union agreements that helped film companies north of the border, and soundstages that were built with Canadian government subsidies.

Just as Vancouver, B.C., took film business from the Seattle area, Toronto became a location that often doubled for New York City. Even as production companies fled to Canada, McMullen said, Everett thrived as a location by getting leftover business. “Soundstages up there were full, and we had empty warehouses,” she said.

She credits former Everett Mayor Ed Hansen with being “film friendly” by not charging permit fees. Everett is also within a 30-mile circle from Seattle, allowing some unions to work here, she said. “We started losing business when Vancouver started losing business,” McMullen said.

Now, millions of movie dollars goes to other countries: Romania, Mexico and India’s Bollywood, said McMullen. “So much is filmed in these places. Like with any industry, we compete in a global economy.”

Amy Dee is executive director of Washington FilmWorks, which works with the Washington State Film Office. She said our state is one of 39 that offers production incentives to movie companies. “We offer 20 percent of … costs associated with production in Washington — for labor, rental equipment, hotels,” she said. For every million dollars spent, that’s $200,000 worth of help for film companies.

Those incentives were launched in 2007. Dee said 2008 was a good year. Two movies shot in the state, including “World’s Greatest Dad” with Robin Williams, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

McMullen would love to see movie boom times back again, but much has changed. “It’s a different game now,” she said.

Still, our region’s years in the limelight were important. “That period of filming played a role in our evolution of civic pride,” McMullen said. “The film community kept coming back.”

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460, muhlstein@heraldnet.com.

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