to Filming Locations
Cast Away (2000) Filming Locations
In Cast Away, Chuck Noland is a man deserted. Highly-driven Chuck (Tom Hanks) lives by the clock, jetting around the world to troubleshoot problems for FedEx. Yet, he seems to barely find time for his longtime girlfriend, Kelly Frears (Helen Hunt). However, when his Christmas Eve* flight from Memphis crashes into the Pacific Ocean, leaving him stranded on a desert island, memories of Kelly are all that Chuck has. Will it be enough to help him survive?
[*See the Notes section below for more details.]
Hanks had spent years developing the project with screenwriter William Broyles, Jr. before director Robert Zemeckis came aboard, beginning principal photography in January 1999. Even with those successful names behind the project, though, before Cast Away was released on December 22, 2000, there was some question of whether audiences would want sit through it. It was considered to be an “unconventional” choice to devote so much time on Chuck being entirely alone on an island, with no dialogue and no musical score. Yet, by the time the film was released, it had become clear that such fears were unfounded, and Cast Away quickly became a huge box office success and a cultural phenomenon.
Cast Away filmed in Memphis, Tennessee; Fiji and Canadian, Texas.
If you have any tips on locations that I missed, please contact me on the Grahm's Guide Facebook page.
SPOILER ALERT: The descriptions below include plot points of the film. If you haven't seen Cast Away, you can buy the Blu-ray on Amazon.
After a terrifying plane crash, Chuck finds himself alone on a tropical island, surviving with assorted finds from FedEx boxes washed ashore.
Many of the survival scenes were filmed on an uninhabited island known as Monuriki, or Modriki, near 17°36'33.5"S 177°02'22.8"E, in the Mamanuca Islands of Fiji.
Reference: This relatively well-known location is mentioned in contemporaneous articles about filming the movie, and is found many places online.
[Generally, I only post filming locations that that I’ve actually visited, but I’m afraid I may never get to stand on this beautiful island. Perhaps sharing it here will encourage someone to have the adventure of a lifetime in Fiji. If that’s you, please travel safely, and send pictures.]
After Chuck escapes from the island his coworker Stan (Nick Searcy) informs him that Kelly has moved on in the four years that Chuck was missing. At the airport, rather than reuniting with Kelly, he is surprised by Kelly’s husband, Jerry Lovett (Chris Noth). As the rain pours later that evening, Chuck visits Kelly’s new home for an emotionally fraught reunion.
Kelly's new house in the film is actually located at 74 Devon Way, Memphis, TN 38111.
Reference: I had searched online for years before I found a Reddit post that pointed to the correct neighborhood for the house.
I am extremely grateful for the homeowners’ permission to post the details and photo of this location.
Please respect the property and privacy of the residents of this private home.
A newly unmoored Chuck sets sail in his Jeep Cherokee, intent on returning the mysterious wing-bedecked package to its original sender. Arriving at a ranch replete with representations of wings, Chuck drops off the package with a simple note: “This package saved my life.”
Viewers, of course, realize that this is the home of Bettina (Lari White), the artist seen at the beginning of the film sending a package to her unfaithful husband, Dick. When Chuck arrives, he sees the gateway with only Bettina’s name, and an obvious space where Dick’s name was excised.
Today, the gateway bears the actual name of the location, the Arrington Ranch House Lodge, 9760 County Road 5, Canadian, TX 79014, which is also a “bed-and-breakfast.” The sculptures from the movie are long gone, however the gateway sign still features the familiar angel wing symbol, based on a motif originally created by William Broyles’ wife, artist Andrea Broyles.
Reference: The Arrington Ranch receives thanks in the credits, and is also confirmed in The Movie Lover's Tour of Texas: Reel-Life Rambles Through the Lone Star State by Veva Vonler, and I found more specific details from the Top of Texas Gazette.
After dropping off the package, an unburdened Chuck stops to find new bearings at the crossroads he passed previously. As Chuck checks his map, a pickup pulls up, and a luminous redhead gets out to offer guidance. As she drives away, Chuck recognizes familiar wings on Bettina’s tailgates and steps to the center of the crossroads to contemplate in which direction his future might lie.
The crossroads seen at the opening and closing of the film stand at the intersection of FM1268 at FM 48, Mobeetie, TX 79061. Since my visit in December 2013, the vistas have been altered considerably by the addition of wind turbines in every direction.
Reference: This location is indicated in The Movie Lover's Tour of Texas: Reel-Life Rambles Through the Lone Star State by Veva Vonler, and the specific details from the Top of Texas Gazette were quite helpful.
Lari White, who was so radiant as Bettina in Cast Away, had been a successful singer before taking the role. In the 1990s, she’d had 12 songs that hit the Billboard Hot Country chart, including three in the Top Ten.
In the ensuing years, she continued to applying her talents at singing, songwriting, producing and acting.
Sadly, White died on January 23, 2018, only a few months after announcing that she’d been diagnosed as having cancer. According to her obituary, White “is survived by her husband, songwriter Chuck Cannon, and their three children.”
In December 2013, I had the pleasure of seeing Cast Away screenwriter William “Bill” Broyles Jr. discuss the film at an event presented by the Austin Film Festival (AFF) and the Wittliff Collections at the Harry Ransom Center. In an interview with AFF Executive Director Barbara Morgan, Broyles discussed various aspects of the long-gestating development of the film.
Some sources online indicate that Chuck’s flight is on Christmas Eve, while others state that it’s Christmas Day. By my interpretation, within the film, it’s clear that the flight is on Christmas Eve. In a prior scene, after Chuck returns from Moscow, he falls asleep on the couch of his home with Kelly, while a CNN anchor announces that “Just days before Santa departs on his annual gift-giving venture, he’s been declared physically fit to fly,” and then declares that “Santa Clause took off into the wild blue yonder for an early start,” presumably meaning prior to the traditional Christmas Eve start of Santa’s journey.
The scene after Chuck falls asleep features a “Christmas dinner” with Kelly’s relatives, played by some terrific actors, including Joe Conley, Dennis Letts, Nan Martin and Timothy Stack. During this dinner, which has to be on Christmas Eve, Chuck receives a notification on his pager that FedEx needs his troubleshooting skills, apparently in Malaysia.
Later, onboard the overnight flight, Chuck asks if the sudden turbulence could be “from Santa and those eight tiny reindeer.” If it were already the evening of Christmas Day, Santa already would have delivered his presents, and he and his reindeer would presumably already be back at the North Pole. Thus, I’m guessing that Chuck’s flight crashes on Christmas Eve.