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Major motion picture ‘Train Dreams’ is filming in Spokane, to star Joel Edgerton and Oscar nominee Felicity Jones

By Amanda Sullender, The Spokesman-Review
Published: May 12, 2024, 6:00am

SPOKANE — Adapted from a novel set in the Idaho Panhandle, “Train Dreams” is filming in Eastern Washington and will begin its shoot in Spokane later this week.

The film is led by Joel Edgerton and Felicity Jones, who was nominated for an Oscar for her leading role in the Stephen Hawking biopic “The Theory of Everything.” The movie also stars William H. Macy, Kerry Condon and Clifton Collins Jr.

“Train Dreams” is based on a 2011 novel of the same name written by Denis Johnson. The book tells the story of an early 20th-century day laborer who works his way through the Inland Northwest constructing railroad tracks. The small novel is abound in references to places such as Spokane, Sandpoint, Wallace and the Kootenai River. The main character also hails from Bonners Ferry, where Johnson lived at least part of the time before his death in 2017.

Filming began on the movie in mid-April and is set to end later this month, according to producer William Janowitz. About 90% of the movie is being filmed in Eastern Washington, including Metaline Falls, Colville and downtown Spokane. Filming in the city is supposed to begin sometime this week or the next, according to Spokane Development Services Center employee Nicole Riley. The major motion picture has some “interesting requests” involving street lights being turned off, she said. Janowitz declined to say when and where filming will occur in city limits.

But according to the Black Bear Pictures and Kamala Films producer, filming in the Inland Northwest has “always been the north star” for the film crew.

“You can’t get more authentic than being in the place that the story actually took place. The Kootenai tribe plays a hand in our story. It begins just over the border in Bonners Ferry, and there is just a lot of connective tissue to this place,” he said.

Janowitz called the film a “cautionary tale” while also being a “love story about American culture.”

According to the producer, audiences can expect to see the film in a year to 1 1/2 years from now. Once post-production is complete, it will play at film festivals before they hope it’s picked up by a distributor. Janowitz said he expects the film to receive a wide theatrical release in part because of the stars attached.

The film is being directed by Clint Bentley, who helmed 2021’s “Jockey,” and is produced by Black Bear Pictures. Founded in 2011, the studio most recently produced “Immaculate,” which starred Spokane native Sydney Sweeney.

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