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Snoqualmie’s Smokey Joe’s bar, local bartender appear in independent film
Celebrity sightings are starting to be almost commonplace here, as movie companies come through, shoot a few scenes, then pack up their stars and equipment. When one of those movies premieres, though, the Valley will have a resident celebrity.
Diane Sheets, a bartender at Smokey Joe’s Tavern in downtown Snoqualmie, is a familiar face in a couple of scenes in the upcoming “Captain Fantastic,” from Electric City Entertainment. In fact, aside from the star, Viggo Mortensen, hers is about the only face in those scenes.
“He handed me the phone, and said ‘here Diane,’ and I hung up the phone,” she says, a few days after the July 28 shoot. “Then I was just in the background, cleaning and doing what I usually do.”
Electric City staff had scouted the pub, owned by Jim and Pamela Leland, about a month earlier, and had arranged to rent it out for the morning and afternoon.
“They were looking for a local bar,” said Jim Leland, who met with the writer and director Matt Ross, to arrange things before the shoot, and to approve small changes. A few signs were moved, but Leland says when Smokey Joe’s regulars see the place on the big screen, “I think they’ll recognize it… it has a certain look to it.”
The bar is the setting for two scenes in the movie, which is about Mortensen, a father of six children, returning to modern life after years of living off the grid.
Without giving anything away, Sheets said the bar was the setting for two scenes, and one of them was very difficult for her.
“I had to hand him the phone, and he was crying,” she said. “It was really neat to see (his acting) but then we shot about seven more takes of the scene… I was sad by the end of it.”
Every scene was shot and reshot, but there was also some time for Sheets and the Lelands to get an inside look at the movie biz.
“We figured there were probably close to 100 people,” said Jim. “And they were all super easy to work with,” said Pamela.
They also got to talk with the star on smoke breaks. Far from being star-struck, Sheets didn’t realize who he was until after the filming. Each of them agreed that “He was really cool, and so friendly!”