'It's truly a Dunsmuir film': Siskiyou County residents spot Kevin Spacey filming new movie

Shareen Strauss and Skye Kinkade
Mt. Shasta Area Newspapers
A cameraman filming a scene from the upcoming movie "Peter Five Eight." Starring Kevin Spacey, the movie is being filmed in many Dunsmuir businesses including Spirits Bar and Lounge and  Dunsmuir Hardware, as well as outdoors on Dunsmuir Avenue.

No, your eyes aren't deceiving you. If you thought you caught a glimpse of Kevin Spacey around Dunsmuir or Mount Shasta over the past few weeks, you weren't seeing things: the Oscar-winning actor is in Siskiyou County working on a film.

Independent Studio Services LLC is filming "Peter Five Eight" in the sleepy canyon town of Dunsmuir, starring Spacey and German-American actor Jett Jandreau. It's been described as a suspenseful "cat and mouse" thriller with religious undertones, with the plot revolving around a devilish hitman.

Kevin Spacey

Ninety percent of the movie is being filmed in and around the businesses on Dunsmuir Avenue. Once a bustling railroad town, Dunsmuir is now home to about 1,700 people. Nestled in a canyon along the Sacramento River and known for its pristine water — dubbed "The Best Water on Earth" — the town features picturesque scenery and plenty of historic buildings in which to film a gritty thriller.

About 100 local residents were hired as extras and to work with the crew members during filming.  

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Smoky skies from nearby wildfires only add to the film's feel, according to producer John Lerchen.

"Dunsmuir has been fantastic," he said. "Most of the town has rallied around us. It is truly a Dunsmuir film. It takes place in modern day but has an ancient feel to it."

'Everyone benefits' from film project

Sabrina Jurisich, Film Shasta, regional film commissioner, explained that when a film company chooses an area, "everyone benefits."

"There is a huge impact on the economy," Jurisich said. "People involved in the filming are utilizing the B&Bs and local restaurants. The local restaurants also provide catering. There is an increase in jobs hiring locals for helping with the crew filming, traffic control and to work as extras in the film. People will want to come and visit Dunsmuir because of this film." 

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Dunsmuir city councilor Dave Keisler has been working with the film crew as the town liaison.

"It has been a privilege to work with such professionals," he said. "They set up and take down scenes and clean up after themselves each day ... You would never know they were here. It is amazing. I feel like I am in Hollywood." 

Keisler has taken some of the film crew on short excursions, including tubing down the Sacramento River, to showcase the beauty of Siskiyou County.

"They really love the area," he said.

Actor's presence quickly noticed in small towns

The movie, set to be released in March of 2022, will have scenes from inside of many local businesses. A lid was kept tightly on the filming because promoters didn't want to advertise before the film is sold or shown at local festivals.

However, news that Spacey is in town is hard to keep a secret.

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The actor was seen eating at several local restaurants, including Cafe Maddalena's in Dunsmuir, and Bistro 109, Sparky's Landing, Pipeline Craft Taps & Kitchen and Lilys in Mount Shasta, where he took time to talk to those who waited on him and gave personalized autographs.

Spacey is also set to appear in director Franco Nero's upcoming Italian film, "L'uomo Che Disegnò Dio," opposite Nero's wife Vanessa Redgrave in his first project since he was accused of sexual harassment and assault in 2017. Since then, he has mostly kept a low profile, occasionally releasing videos and interviews.

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"I've seen Kevin Spacey," said Dylan Brockman, who works in the Dunsmuir Hardware Store. "It is cool to have an actor in town." 

"We think it's awesome for our community. They are willing to work around our needs," said Matt Rogers, who works at Dunsmuir Pizza Factory.

Street closures for filming

But not every business owner is okay with the inconvenience of a movie being filmed in downtown Dunsmuir.

The Haven Cafe owner Robbie Peterson complained that his business was not notified of one of the street closures, and there is no compensation for the inconvenience of the main street being closed on a Labor Day holiday. Peterson gave a bill to the film producer for a total of $350 in lost income. 

Last month, Independent Studio Services, LLC paid for an encroachment permit for street closures on Dunsmuir Avenue between Burger Barn and Pine Street and Cedar Street between Dunsmuir and Sacramento Avenues through Sept. 16. The company paid a deposit of $5,000 which the city will draw against for any costs incurred.

Councilor Peter Arth excused himself from this discussion due to possible financial interest.