12 Jul 2019
This week, Spider-Man: Far From Home premieres on the big screen (and *will* be at the Island Cinema at Bailey’s Shopping Center). As summer is home to blockbuster movies, it should be noted that Southwest Florida is no stranger to stardom. With that in mind, here’s a little Islands Hollywood trivia:
- Sanibel Island and Fort Myers were filming locations for George Romero’s 1985 film Day of the Dead. In the beginning of the movie, a helicopter flies over downtown Fort Myers before reaching a base with a helipad, which is actually the Bowman’s Beach Helistop on Sanibel. The helistop is owned by the Lee County Mosquito Control District.
- If you’ve been to the barrier islands north of Sanibel and Captiva, you may have heard about Cabbage Key and Useppa Island. One of its most famous winter visitors (or “snowbirds,” as we call them now) was the Rinehart family. Mary Roberts Rinehart was a famous writer, mostly of mystery novels. She is often called “the American Agatha Christie,” though Rinehart’s novels precede Christie’s. One of Rinehart’s novels, The Door, is credited with the often-used phrase “the butler did it” when it was adapted into a musical, The Butler Did It, Singing. She also co-wrote a play titled The Bat, which was adapted into the 1930 film The Bat Whispers. That film was part of the inspiration for Bob Kane (with Bill Finger) to create BATMAN!
- The 1995 film Just Cause (starring Sean Connery and Lawrence Fishburne) was filmed in Southwest Florida, including downtown Fort Myers, though not on the islands. We noted this because it was one of the first films of an up-and-coming actress who played Connery’s 10-year-old daughter and went on to blockbuster roles as an adult, most recently in record-breaking Avengers: Endgame…Scarlett Johansson!
- Though not filmed there, the 1995 family comedy Captiva Island was filmed in the area (beaches on the mainland), starring Ernest Borgnine and Arte Johnson.
- The Sanibel Causeway has been featured in network commercials. In 1998, the Causeway was cast as the location for a commercial for the 1999 Chevy Blazer produced by none other than George Lucas. The premise was to show the Blazer being able to travel safely in any conditions (including a hurricane?), with the Lucas team providing post-production special effects. Filming took six weeks, with traffic tied up between production takes and the drawbridge opening for large ships needing passage. The Force was not with the average commuter, but the commercial turned out well. (Though the Causeway is actually closed if winds reach 40 mph or higher.) Mercedes-Benz caused a similar situation in 2013 when they spent a day using the Causeway to produce a commercial for the 2014 E-Class Coupe. Let’s hope Michael Bay doesn’t get any ideas for the next Transformers movie.
Come check out what makes this island so iconic: Book direct now at Sanibel Holiday