Matt Dillon and director M. Night Shyamalan walk down Pioneer Ave.

TV series begins shooting Thursday in Agassiz

Full road closure on part of Pioneer, but businesses will remain open



Set construction finished up in a frenzied pace on Wednesday in Agassiz, in preparation for the filming of a television series.

Shooting starts Thursday morning, along Pioneer Ave. The entire street has been redesigned to portray the imaginary town of Wayward Pines, ID.

The road will be completely closed to traffic and parking on Thursday and Friday, said location manager David Tamkin. But, two dozen production assistants will be on hand, redirecting traffic through Agassiz and helping people find parking. While the street is closed to traffic, all businesses will remain open.

Changes will also be seen for transit those days. Bus stops that are normally on Pioneer, outside Lordco and the Observer, will temporarily move to Cheam Ave., behind Lordco.

“It will be just like when there is a parade in town,” he said.

The excitement will wrap up on Friday night, but only temporarily.

Many of the stores are completely covered in movie set facades. Those will be removed and stored for the next shooting days, sometime in October, Tamkin said. Any business that is currently disguised or has its sign covered will be restored so that the business can operate as usual.

All set dressings will be pulled away or secured, as well, such as the outdoor cafe that has been designed around The Observer office.

However, the large set that is placed along Pioneer Park will remain in place until shooting wraps up in February. To keep the sets safe, the production company has hired 24 hour security, with two guards on site at all times.

While the downtown may be feeling some minor inconveniences, with the constant construction, one way traffic and limited sidewalk space all through the week, there are some benefits, Tamkin added.

By the time the series is done filming next year, they will have spent about $1 million locally.

“That’s a pretty accurate figure,” he said. “We are paying the District of Kent a monthly permit fee of a significant amount. There are also 30, 40 or 50 people staying in hotels, eating in restaurants, doing their laundry and all of that regular living stuff.”

They’ve also hired a large crew of local labourers, although not as many as they’d hoped to.

“We were not able to find as much local labour as we thought would could,” he said, due to a lack of available workers. He added that the union workers are all busy working on a George Clooney movie also shooting in Vancouver.

And many of the local labourers were already booked up for the time needed.

Of those staying from out of town, he estimates they’ve been using about 40 rooms a night in recent weeks.

“All those things add up and essentially we’ll leave a million dollars in the area that wasn’t here before,” he said.

Wayward Pines will star Matt Dillon, Carla Gugino, Terrence Howard and Juliette Lewis, among others, and is being directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

news@ahobserver.com