Movie News & Reviews

SLO County makes a cameo in Brad Pitt’s new astronaut movie

Keep your eyes peeled when you watch Brad Pitt’s latest movie.

San Luis Obispo County makes a quick cameo in “Ad Astra,” which opens in theaters everywhere Friday.

Part of the opening scene of the science fiction film was shot on a private ranch in Huasna in the Arroyo Grande Valley, according to Jordan Carson, marketing and brand manager for Visit SLO CAL.

“No major actors” were on hand for the shoot in May 2018, Carson said.

In the movie, Pitt plays an astronaut who journeys to the outer edges of the solar system in search of his missing father, played by Tommy Lee Jones. “Ad Astra” is directed and co-written by James Gray, best known for helming “The Immigrant” and “The Lost City of Z.”

“Ad Astra” isn’t the only production to use the Central Coast as a backdrop in recent months.

In 2018, the county played host to 104 productions, including movies, TV shows and commercials, according to Visit SLO CAL. Those included Showtime’s “The Affair and Netflix’s “Stay Here.”

As of early September, about 50 productions had been filmed locally in 2019, Carson said.

An episode of “Wheelers Dealers” that aired in April on MotorTrend TV featured Old Oak Park Road in Arroyo Grande, the Pirate’s Cove Lookout in Avila Beach and Dinosaur Caves Park in Shell Beach, among other locations, MotorTrend Group spokesman Andrew Scafetta said in an email.

Other shows filmed locally this year include History’s “American Pickers,” Discovery’s “Twin Turbos” and TLC’s “Seven Little Johnstons,” Carson said.

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Entertainment editor Sarah Linn writes about all things fun, including movies, television, the performing arts, the visual arts and the best places to eat and drink in San Luis Obispo County. A graduate of Oregon State University, she has worked for The Tribune in San Luis Obispo for more than a decade and has earned multiple California journalism awards.