Released in 1993, the cult classic film “The Sandlot” featured several Utah locations, including Ogden’s Lorin Farr Pool.
North Ogden resident Mitchel Foreman, who was able to witness some of the filming said, “I never got in the shot as an extra or anything because I forgot my swim gear that day, but I was there on sitting on the sidelines the day they filmed that pool scene.”
In comparison to movie havens like Hollywood and Los Angeles, Utah fails to receive attention as a place to film a movie or television show. Few are aware Utah has been host to several high profile films.
There are some Utah scenes that are more common knowledge than others. The Bonneville Salt Flats, for example, is unmistakably unique to Utah and has appeared in many renown movies.
The flats are seen in “Independence Day,” as actor Will Smith dramatically dragged an alien to Area 51, as well in “Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End,” when actor Johnny Depp was lost in Davy Jones’ locker.
Not to mention the High School Musical trilogy—whose first movie had 17.2 million premiere viewers—was also filmed in Utah. While the movie’s setting is Albuquerque, NM, East High, the high school in the first movie, is located in Salt Lake City.
The second movie, which features a high-end country club, was filmed in St. George development, Entrada.
Lesser known to the populous, many Hollywood productions have been shot in the hometown of many Utahans. Ogden, Midvale, Glendale and Salt Lake City were the filming locations to “The Sandlot.”
Ogden’s Lorin Farr Pool was the site of the movie’s infamous pool scene, where the beloved character known as “Squints” kissed the local lifeguard after pretending to drown in the deep end of the pool.
“I remember thinking that whole idea was weird, since pretending to drown only to plant a big kiss on the cute lifeguard would never happen in real life, but when I later saw the whole movie for myself, it made a lot more sense and I love it,” Foreman said.
Despite what has been filmed in Utah in the past, Weber State University instructor Edward Spangler feels that the Utah film-making industry is on the decline.
“Film making in Utah is a sporadic thing,” Spangler said. “At this time, the state of Utah does not have the best financial package proposals for producers looking to film on location. Production companies seek out location bids that offer the best tax incentives.”
“A Hollywood-financed movie spends on average $70,000 per day while filming. This means that all the states and cities have film commissions dedicated to luring them to film in their respective sites,” Spangler said.
Parallel to Spangler’s statement, the number of high-budget productions filmed in Utah have fluxed in years past.
In the past ten years, since 2007, 12 high-budget films have been filmed in Utah either partially or entirely. A number which may seem high but is in fact down from the previous ten years.
A recent decade with noticeably few movies filmed in Utah’s was the 1980’s. According to a report done by the Standard Examiner, only four major productions were filmed in Utah during that ten-year period.
Although the number was few, one the most iconic movies to be shot in Utah was filmed in that time period. The 1983 production of “Footloose” was filmed almost entirely in Utah, the majority of which being in Utah County.
“I actually met Kevin Bacon and most of the other stars,” American Fork resident Ross Moretti said.
“As a kid, I went to church where they filmed all the chapel scenes in ‘Footloose.’ Naturally, when I heard that Hollywood movie was coming to town and they’d be using my church, well I just had to hang around. One day, I actually sneaked on set to talk to Kevin Bacon, he was surprisingly a nice guy,” Moretti said.
When asked about current Utah County generation’s knowledge of the movie’s filming, Moretti said, “I feel like they either don’t know or don’t care. I mean, I know by the millennial definition, it’s an old movie but I still took place here. In a sense, Utah County was Bomont. That will forever be immortalized in the movie and that’s important I think for everyone to remember.”
While a number of high profile films have been shot in Utah, Utah residents often remain unaware that movies they may have seen have been filmed in their backyards.
“I had no idea so many movies were made in Utah,” WSU student Michelle Edwards said.
“Especially since a good number of them were made nearby, right around where I grew up. I mean, I always knew they done a few near St. George because of the red rocks, but I never imagined that so many have been made all over the state, some of which are in like my backyard, so to say. It kind of makes me feel prouder to live here,” Edwards said.
For some, it is exciting to find out that the scenes they see on the movie screen are places intimate, hometown locations.
“I recognized Kirt’s Drive Inn in the movie ‘Drive Me Crazy,’” Ogden High graduate, Taylor Allen said.
“I used to go there all the time in high school on dates and after class on Fridays with all of my friends and so when I saw what I thought was my favorite high school hang out spot in the movie, I totally freaked out,” he said.
Allen also said, “I looked it up online and it turns out that it was actually Kirt’s Drive Inn. It’s so cool to think that I’ve been on a date and hung out in the same place as people in the movies. It made my day to say the least.”