The common denominator between cowboys and zombies is Spokane and Alex Terzieff. Gunslingers are the characters in the Western film “Boon,” which was shot in Spokane in January and February.
The living dead was the featured attraction in “Z Nation,” which ran for five seasons on the Syfy channel from 2014-2018. The zombie footage was captured in and around Spokane.
Terzieff was the stunt coordinator in both productions. If it wasn’t for the Seattle native, “Boon” would not have been filmed in the Lilac City. Terzieff, a longtime friend of “Boon” star, writer and producer Neal McDonough, suggested that Spokane would be perfect for the sequel to the Western “Red Stone.”
“Shortly after I got into this business in 2000, I worked on the film ‘Band of Brothers’ and met Neal,” Terzieff said while calling from Los Angeles. “We’ve been close friends ever since, and I can say anything to him.
“When we were at a (University of Washington) Huskies basketball game, he was talking about shooting ‘Boon’ in Washington. I suggested that he consider Spokane. I told him that if it were my production I would shoot in Spokane.”
Terzieff is still digesting the “Boon” experience while waiting for a COVID-19 test prior to working on the next David O. Russell film, a star-laden production featuring Oscar winners Robert De Niro and Christian Bale and Oscar-nominated actress Margot Robbie.
“We had a great time even though we had to deal with all of the restrictions,” Terzieff said. “We hung out at Ruby Suites, which is where we stayed. I wanted to do what I did when I was doing ‘Z Nation’ and take the whole stunt team to Churchill’s (Steakhouse), but I couldn’t do that.
“I told my crew if they would do a particularly good stunt, I would take them to Frankie Doodles. But we had fun on location. When we were out there, it was a reminder of why we came to Spokane in the first place.”
Composer Stephen Endelman, who handled the “Boon” soundtrack, was taken by the aesthetics of Spokane. “It is so beautiful in Spokane,” Endelman said while also calling from Los Angeles. “It’s a gem. I never got tired of looking at the waterfall. We all marveled and enjoyed looking out at the vistas.
“It was so relaxing and wonderful with the color schemes and seeing things in Spokane that people don’t notice every day because they live there. The one thing I noticed is how beautiful the city is under cloud cover. Spokane is such a striking city. Making a movie was never as pleasurable as it was in Spokane.”
That’s saying a lot since Endelman has worked on a number of productions such as “De-Lovely,” “Home of the Brave” and “Jawbreaker.”
“Boon” director Derek Presley laughed when looking back at his Spokane experience. “What I think I enjoyed the most was the reaction from the people who live there,” Presley said while calling from his Dallas home. “When we were shooting in the Garland District and tying up traffic, people were not just good about it, they were great. People recognized Neal from ‘Yellowstone’ and screamed, ‘We love you’ and ‘Thanks for filming in our city.’
“The reception we had in Spokane was awesome. People were great with us since Day 1. We were hoping for snow from Day 1. When we were in Spokane in November, it snowed. Nothing happened the first 2½ weeks we were there in January, and then it finally started to snow. We were all set then.”
Presley was down with the amenities at the Ruby Suites and was pleased with the culinary options. “It was great staying there. The Ruby Suites has a nice rec room and a movie screening room where we screened our dailies,” Presley said. “One of my favorite places was Shawn’s Irish Pub (Shawn O’Donnell’s American Grill and Irish Pub). I loved the chicken pot pie and fish and chips.
“I spent the most money at Caruso’s (Sandwiches and Artisan Pizza), where I couldn’t get enough of the Italian (Stallion) sandwich and the pizza. I gained a lot of weight in Spokane. The only regret was that the breakfast place (Brunchonette) wasn’t open like it was when we were there (scouting locations) in November.”
The McDonoughs – Neal, his producer wife Ruve and their five children, who range from ages 6-15 – had a blast. When they weren’t on the set for 12 hours, they were hanging around the fire with their house guest and fledgling actor Pat Monahan, lead singer of Train, on the South Hill or sledding nearby.
“We had the best time in Spokane,” Ruve McDonough said. “There’s no place like it.” Neal McDonough echoed his wife’s sentiments. “Spokane is such a unique city from the terrain to the people who live there. We definitely want to come back.”
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