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Seattle author Garth Stein on ‘The Art of Racing in the Rain’ becoming a film

The Art of Racing in the Rain is a new major motion picture about a race car driver and his family told through the eyes of his dog, based on a book by Seattle area native Garth Stein. He joined Seattle’s Morning News to discuss having his popular booked turned into a movie and how much of Seattle actually made it into the movie.

“I grew up in Seattle but lived in New York for 18 years and moved back to Seattle in 2001. That’s when I got into car racing. My father was into it and he and I would head down to the track together,” Stein said. “From there I got my racing licence and then I started racing Spec Miata for Sports Car Club of America and had a great time doing it and met a whole lot of wonderful people, and had a whole backdrop that I could use for a book.”

Seeing The Art of Racing in the Rain getting made into a major Hollywood movie has been a life-changing experience, and Stein is happy with the way everything turned out.

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“It’s surreal at times to see it taken and made into something, especially when Kevin Costner is doing the voice of Enzo. He’s kind of like everybody’s hero. Milo Ventimiglia is fabulous, and Amanda Seyfried acts her heart out. The casting was great,” he said. “My concern was that they would have the heart and the spirit of the book in the right place, and it really, really does. I think the heart of the movie is in the right place.”

Seattle residents may recognize more than a few spots from the film, which takes place in Seattle and features more Seattle locations than the usual requisite Space Needle shot found in most Seattle-based movies. But like most films that take place in Seattle, much of it was still filmed in Vancouver.

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“It’s not my baby and they have to do what they have to do. Tax breaks are such in Canada and in British Columbia that they, and they offer incentives to bring filmmakers out there. Let’s keep it a little bit of a secret that 85 percent of it was filmed in Vancouver,” he joked.

“While there is a Space Needle shot, it isn’t the Queen Anne Space Needle shot, and while there is the West Seattle shot, it’s done well. In the story some of the characters live on Mercer Island, so there’s the I-90 Bridge and there’s Rainier Avenue, you know? There’s stuff in there that people will recognize.”

“But there will be moments when Seattleites say, ‘Wait a second, that’s Stanley Park. That’s not Seattle.”

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5-9 a.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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