If you just saw Asteroid City but need more Wes Anderson, thank the crew at the Point Reyes Lighthouse.
“We set out to follow the social media trend of people turning their ‘regular day’ into a vignette in the style of Wes Anderson,” said Sierra Frisbie, a ranger at the Point Reyes National Seashore and a member of its social media team. “[Anderson’s] work has been described as whimsical, eccentric and poetic in nature—and it’s really not hard to make something like that out at the lighthouse because it is already set in a theatrical location.”
Fans of Anderson’s films—including The Life Aquatic, The French Dispatch and The Royal Tenenbaums—as well as folks who just love his distinct style, are pushing the post toward viral status—er, well, at least for the Point Reyes National Seashore’s accounts, with nearly 2,000 likes on Instagram on Wednesday.
The reel stars Vanessa Hoffman and Stephen Covey, both rangers at the lighthouse, which, from the reel, appears about as similar as possible to inhabiting a Wes Anderson movie set. Their uniforms alone qualify them for a cameo: Official garb makes frequent appearances in Anderson’s work, including Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel.
“As rangers, we like to think of ourselves as modern-day keepers of the light, but our job is way easier,” said Frisbie, who has been a ranger at the seashore for three years and says the Point Reyes’ rangers rotate through various stations in the park, include the lighthouse. Built in 1870 and decommissioned in 1975, the light still operates. Today, it no longer officially serves as a navigational aid but offers visitors a lot of the framed vistas and cool old maritime gear that Anderson fans love.
“I enjoyed trying to mimic the aesthetic and turning something banal and normal into something interesting and fun,” said Frisbie, who shot and directed the short.
Though she’s no Sanjay Sami, Frisbie’s camerawork and editing would make Anderson proud: She shot her subjects dead center and cut quickly between scenes. The addition of pages turning in an old book, a perky soundtrack and an opening title treatment that looks lifted from a 1950s public service announcement separates the lighthouse’s reel from lesser imitators.
The post adds the National Seashore to the list of entertaining social media accounts from major institutions, including the National Park Service itself and the California Academy of Sciences. But will the video’s popularity result in more visitors to the famed lighthouse two hours from San Francisco?
“It’s a great summer to come out and visit the lighthouse,” said Frisbie, adding that this season will be the first to return to normal programming in five years. The lighthouse had closed for a major restoration during 2018-2019 and was only reopened for a few months before Covid hit. “And tell your readers a secret: Beat the crowds and come on a weekday.”
How To Visit the Point Reyes Lighthouse
To see this stereotypical Wes Anderson location IRL, visit when the infamous stairs down to the Point Reyes Lighthouse are open, from Thursdays to Mondays from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (The lighthouse is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.) Or watch the sunset when evening programs begin on the second Saturday of the month starting July 8. Check the website for full details.
The Point Reyes National Seashore lies just over an hour’s drive from San Francisco—and the lighthouse sits another thirty minutes away from the Bear Valley Visitor Center. Plan a full day in the park to learn the history, see the beaches, hike the trails and get your fill of seafood and farm-to-table eats in Point Reyes Station, Inverness and Marshall nearby.