Movie making has a tremendous history in Moab, Utah. “Need for Speed” produced by DreamWorks Pictures, was written based on a video game series of the same name. It was released in March 2014. A street racer races cross-country to avenge the death of a friend, who was killed by a rival racer. Among the 3D action are scenes of Moab’s interesting landscapes. “Transformers: Age of Extinction”, fourth in the Transformer series, stars Mark Whalberg and is in theaters starting June 27, 2014. These 2014 films follow productions by Disney, as recent as 2013’s release of “The Lone Ranger” and the 2010 release of “John Carter”. Hollywood’s love affair of Moab began in 1949 when Director John Ford filmed “Wagon Master” starring John Wayne.
With its amazingly diverse terrain, producers found that Moab could take on the face of most any place on Earth and beyond. With hoodoos and arches and its red rock landscape, Moab was perfect for the filming of “Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone”, where Moab becomes the planet Terra XI and as the planet “Barsoom” in the Disney production of “John Carter”. The Colorado River has been portrayed as the Rio Grande River in another John Ford film in 1950, “Rio Grande”. In the “Greatest Story Ever Told” the Colorado River became the Nile. Arches National Park is the gorgeous backdrop for the start of the movie “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and many scenes for “Thelma & Luoise”. In fact, from Moab, visitors get two National Parks from a single destination, which is rare.
“Thelma & Louise” was an American adventure buddy movie starring Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon, and Brad Pitt, in his first significant role in a major Hollywood film. The pair begin travel from Oklahoma with a desire to get to Mexico through Texas alluring viewers with the perceived size and freedom of America; although primary filming locations for the movie took place in rural areas around Bakersfield, California and Moab. The famous Grand Canyon scene was not the Grand Canyon but the Colorado River flowing through the canyons near Dead Horse Point State Park, southwest of Moab. That spot is affectionately known locally as Thelma & Louise point now.
A spin-off of the film is the Thelma & Louise Half Marathon, a race for women athletes only. Pairs register early to personalize the race bib to indicate Thelma or Louise. New for the June 2014 half marathon, race organizers added a 2 person team relay. The relay travels the very same course as the entire half marathon. The relay involves a river boat shuttle. The course somewhat parallels the Colorado River. Added this month to http://www.discovermoab.com/brochures.htm, visitors who request a Moab Vacation Guide may choose to receive more information about a myriad of running events held in Moab.
The early western movies helped Moab begin its journey to the great adventure destination it has become today and Hollywood continues to bring worldwide attention to the beautiful scenery of Canyonlands and Arches National Parks to which Moab is home. A copy of Moab Movie Auto Tour brochure can be found at www.discovermoab.com/pdf/movie.pdf.
The Moab Area Travel Council is also available to serve you at 800-635-6622 or at www.discovermoab.com.