As the Seattle International Film Festival prepares to wrap up its three plus weeks of cinematic adventure this weekend, my thoughts turned to films shot at the Pike Place Market. I’ve been fortunate enough to be an extra in a big Hollywood production shot in the North Arcade (my scene was cut) and also lucky to be in the audience enjoying the way our Market looks on screen. Here’s a short list of recent or well-known movies shot in or around the Market.
Love Happens (2009) was the aforementioned big Hollywood production shot at the Market. Several signs in and around the North Arcade and Outside Slabs area were added and the large tree at the very end of the slabs was festooned with fake fall leaves (this was shot in the late winter when the trees were totally bare) as the film was supposed to take place in autumn. A rain-making truck was also on the scene to augment our famously moist atmosphere. Trust Seattle to be dry as a bone on days when a rainstorm is needed for a take! Though we never spotted Jennifer Aniston, her handsome co-star Aaron Eckhart was seen both while being filmed walking up and down the mainline of the North Arcade and on breaks, shopping amongst the crafts line. He was, I can report, a pleasant, understated fellow and the rest of the crew also did their best to minimize the disturbance that shooting a movie has on running a business. Several of my hats went home with crew members and many members of the crafts line and busking community were also paid as extras for our presence as convincing background atmosphere in a number of shots.
Late Autumn (2010) is a delightful Korean romantic drama set here in the Market. It features the accidental melancholy romance between a Korean-American woman out on furlough from prison to attend a family funeral and a handsome Korean rent boy who is on the run from gangsters. Yes, I know, it doesn’t _sound_ that delightful or romantic or Market-centric from that brief description, but, trust me, it’s a real gem and showcases how charming our Market can be at night after all the hustle and bustle is over. Our star-crossed couple even encounter a Market Ghost Tour group in their evening excursion around the Arcade as he tries to woo her and she does her best to resist his charms. Bring a hankie to this one.
Sleepless in Seattle (1989) You know I couldn’t have a list of Market movies without mentioning this classic Seattle-set romance. Shot at the venerable Athenian Inn in the Market, Tom Hanks and Rob Reiner perched on bar stools, discussed their problems and knocked back a few cold ones (probably ginger ale in reality) and you can too!
The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989) Wow, 1989 was a great year for films shot at the Market! The daystalls provide background for Jeff Bridges to stroll past as he makes his way around scenic Seattle in the film’s opening sequence.
Television has also been good to the Market. Though most of the show was never actually shot in its Northwest setting, Frasier did reference quite a few real life Seattle locations and their memorable 100th episode was shot in town, with a classic scene of Niles getting hit in the face with a fish thrown by our famous Pike Place Fish fellas.
I have no doubt that there will be many more future films shot at the Pike Place Market: we’ve got some of the best scenery in town and a whole cast of extras waiting for our close-ups!