Captain Fantastic movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was Captain Fantastic filmed?

2016

About Captain Fantastic

Premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2016, Captain Fantastic follows the story of a family who is forced back into society after being off-the-grid and living in isolation for over 10 years. The main character, Ben Cash is played by Viggo Mortensen, and it follows his journey of trying to take care of six children after his wife had passed away. Spoiler Alert: This all-inclusive guide will discuss some of the major plot points that occur throughout the film!

The story follows Ben Cash as he leads his children through a once-in-a-lifetime road trip out of their isolated lifestyle that is sure to change their perspective on things forever. Through his travels, Ben makes a stop by his sister Harper Cash’s house and discusses methods on how to raise his children. Meanwhile, the children begin exploring more of the outside world and their thoughts begin to change slowly but surely. With Rellian rebelling against his father’s parenting methods, accusing him of killing their mother, as well as Bodevan accusing Ben of under-equipping the children for the real world, Ben is at a loss as to how to confront his children.

In the conclusion, however, the children choose to still honor their mother’s last wishes and convince Ben to join them as they cremate their mother according to her wishes in her will. The movie ends with the family around a kitchen table, Bodevan has gone to explore Namibia, and the rest of the children waiting for the school bus to arrive, showing their slow but sure integration back into society.

City Locations

Las Cruces, Sultan, Gold Bar, Albuquerque, Kirkland, Seattle, Portland

Location Types

Naturescapes, Airports, Diners/Coffee, Hospitals/Medical, Religious

Location Styles

Bus, Camper, Trailer Park/ Manufactured Home, Dated/Retro

Captain Fantastic Locations

With an aim to give an off-grid environment for Ben Cash and his family, the producers for Captain Fantastic sought to look for production locations that matched the aesthetic of the Cash family. To do this they looked for areas with a lot of greenery and showcased a lot of the landscapes, which helps highlight just how off-the-grid the Cash family is. The location used for the home of the Cash Family came to be somewhere in the wilderness of the Northwest, especially in Whatcom County. It’s here that many of the scenes revolve around how their father taught them to be survivalists, as well as where he broke the news that their mother passed, were filmed.

With a large portion of the film involving travel, the crew went through portions of the Pacific-Northwest, especially on the western side of Washington state.

With many scenes of travel involving the bus, the baby pictures that were taped on the school bus walls that the audience could see were of Viggo Mortensen’s son, Henry Mortensen. Some of the scenes not mentioned were shot in other areas, specifically, the funeral pyre erected at Rosario Head was shot at Deception Pass State Park which is also located in Washington.

Fun Fact:

One of the directors, Matt Ross mentioned that experiences with parenting inspired him to make this film. Many of the cast in the film were really into their roles, including Bo, who practiced yoga 3-4 hours a day to get into shape for the poses he was to do in the film.

Bo’s awkward interaction scene in Captain Fantastic

Index General Store, Washington

Unfamiliar with his new surroundings as well as interaction with people outside his family, Bo is speechless when people exit the Index General Store and ask him whether he’s coming in. His father Ben observes all of this and tells him to hand him what he was carrying earlier and to, “Go talk to them.” With Bo’s clear intention to not want to talk to the people, he heads inside to check the post-box inside the general store for any mail addressed to the Cash family. Meanwhile, Ben, who is more experienced in communicating with people, later talks to the shopkeeper with ease.

One of the filming locations in Captain Fantastic, the Index General Store is in the relatively small town of Index. This scenic town is surrounded by trees and mountains, and it makes for a beautiful setting that aids in the world building of Captain Fantastic. To get to the Index General Store where this scene was filmed, you can drive along 5th Street and then take a turn down Avenue A. Nearby the store is the North Fork Skykomish River which is one of the more natural beauties that this town offers.

Ben Cash fakes a heart attack scene in Captain Fantastic

Gold Bar, Washington

With little to no money, and a family that’s hungry, Ben devises a plan to get the necessary necessities from a grocery store without having to pay for anything. He walks down an aisle that has another woman in it and feigns a heart attack. At this, Rellian Cash runs to the cashier and tells her that, “An old man’s having a heart attack! Call 911!”

While everyone is distracted, the rest of the children run into the store and grab groceries as well as other foodstuffs and items and run towards the bus. Once Ben sees that everything they need has been retrieved, he stands up and says that he forgot to take his pills. They then drive off with the stolen groceries in the bus.

This scene took place in Gold Bar in Washington. One of the grocery stores in the area, the Gold Bar Family Grocer was the chosen venue for one of Captain Fantastic’s many action scenes. The grocer itself is located close to the main highway that passes through the town so reaching this destination is relatively easy. To get to the Family Grocer in Gold Bar, drive along the Stevens Pass Highway and then make a turn on 10th Street. Make a right to get to the grocery store.

RV camp park scene in Captain Fantastic

O’Sullivan Sportsman Resort at the Potholes Reservoir, Othello, Washington

As Ben makes a stop on the way to their in-laws, they decide to camp at an RV Camp Park where Bodevan and the girl make eye contact. She observes him and follows him around and watches as he does some type of “yoga” as she calls it. She then asks about his name and as he explains to her why his name sounds unconventional, he mentions that “Our names are unique. There’s only one of us in the whole world.” They later spend more time together and Bodevan’s perception of the world outside his family begins to change even more.

One of the best scenes in Captain Fantastic, the RV camp scene helps audiences see just how far detached the Cash family is from the rest of the world, and as a result, Bodevan suffers from rejection for being “weird”. This scene was shot in the O’Sullivan Sportsman Resort at the Potholes Reservoir in Othello. This area is close to one of the main state highways so it's pretty easy to reach. To get to the camp, you can travel along the O’Sullivan Dam Road on Highway 262 and then take a turn to get to the campsite.

Funeral ceremony scene in Captain Fantastic

St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church, Albuquerque, New Mexico

While the funeral is being held in a church, the audience sees that most of those who attended are dressed in black and white. The Cash family makes a last-second appearance wearing all sorts of extravagant clothing. The youngest daughter even goes as far as wearing a gas mask. With the funeral discourse proceeding as planned, Ben interrupts the discourse to tell everyone that his deceased wife practiced Buddhism and that, “This is not what she wanted!” He gets led out of the premises forcibly and the children follow suit.

This heartbreaking scene, considered one of the best scenes in Captain Fantastic, was filmed inside the St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church in Albuquerque. This location is in a suburban area and all around the church are residential buildings. This leads to not many attractions close by apart from a park nearby named Paradise Hills Park. To get to this location, drive along Paradise Boulevard Northwest and make a turn along the top of the road close to the park to reach the church.

Ben Cash argues scene in Captain Fantastic

6500 Vista De Oro, Las Cruces, New Mexico

With some of the children rebelling against their father like Rellian, Jack decides to confront Ben by mentioning that “Abby and I have decided that we’re going to file for custody of the children.” With this statement, Ben is shocked and must escape the premises before the cops, called by Jack, arrive to apprehend Ben. As they scout the area, they see the room that had Rellian inside and they begin an operation to free Rellian, but it goes horribly wrong when Vespyr falls from the roof and narrowly avoids breaking her neck.

The scene involving Jack and Ben arguing was shot in a house that’s in Las Cruces in New Mexico. The exact address for the house used was 6500 Vista De Oro and it features the same looks as what you can find in the movie, should you decide to check it out. To get there, travel along the Calle Del Sur road and then take a turn in one of the entrances that has a long driveway to reach the house that was used to shoot this portion of the film.

Saying goodbye scene in Captain Fantastic

Seattle, Washington, USA

In the finale, we see Ben Cash take his children along to the airport as they say goodbye to Bodevan Cash. Bodevan is going to Namibia and plans to travel through the country, but before he goes, the family have one last thing to do together, and that’s to honor Leslie’s last wish. As the music plays in the background, we see all the family members crowd around an airport toilet stall as Ben empties a paper bag filled with Leslie’s ashes into the toilet. We see everyone’s faces and then as the music cuts, we hear Nai Cash say, “Goodbye Mommy!” and then flushes the toilet as the entire family watches.

This portion of the film was shot in the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle. This venue was used for a relatively short portion of the film but shows the culmination of the character development that was shown throughout the film. Since this Captain Fantastic film set was located at an airport, there are many ways to reach the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. One way is by driving along the 518 highway and taking one of the exits that lead to the airport, but another way is by taking the A Line bus that travels along Pacific Highway South.

Conclusion

With the possibility of Ben Cash being either the best or worst father to walk on the earth, Captain Fantastic does a great job of walking on that tightrope of a statement. Many scenes throughout the film emphasize just how difficult it is for his family to reintegrate back into society albeit with their undoubtedly higher knowledge of difficult concepts and topics.

Bringing together the challenges that families face as well as keeping a tough yet vulnerable personality on Ben as a father, Captain Fantastic gives audiences food for thought as they get a glimpse of how difficult it can be to reintegrate into society.