Star sighting: Johnny Depp joins roster of celebrity actors to stop in small town of Carnation

Keep your binoculars when you visit Carnation these days. The little city on the Snoqualmie and Tolt Rivers, population 1,905, seems to be ground zero for spectacular sightings.

Last week, the Internet was abuzz with news of movie star Johnny Depp (Captain Jack Sparrow in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series) being spotted in Carnation and later at the Salish Lodge on Snoqualmie Falls. Before that, there were stars Toni Collette and Thomas Haden Church, filming scenes for the just-finished-filming "Lucky Them," (see related story) and before that, Michael Pitt (Boardwalk Empire) and company were seen filming the hobo story "You Can't Win" soon to be released. And who can forget January, 2012, when Bigfoot was in Carnation?

Officially, only the first three sightings actually happened -- Bigfoot was created later in the Syfy studios with special effects, so it only looked like he was there. Several movies have used Carnation, and other parts of the Valley, for filming locations. "Lucky Them," for example, has scenes in Carnation, Snoqualmie and North Bend.

Johnny Depp's appearance, however, is a lot like a Bigfoot sighting. Several people have confirmed seeing Depp in Carnation, although most of the Internet posts with photos of him there have been removed over the past week. There has been speculation that he's associated with the movie "Lucky Them," but production staff cannot confirm that.

Very little about Depp's visit can be verified. He was in Carnation on Monday, Feb. 25, the same day that two off-duty Mercer Island Police Officers came to the city to help with traffic control for the movie being filmed there. The officers were there through a joint partnership, the Coalition of Small Police Agencies, which includes Carnation-Duvall and Snoqualmie.

The officers were not there because of Johnny Depp, said Mercer Island Police Sergeant Brian Noel, who said the officers on traffic duty asked him to speak for them.

"A lot of production companies hire law enforcement to help with traffic control," Noel said. "The security wasn't there for the individual that was present."

In fact, the officers were unaware that Depp was in Carnation for most of the day. They did see him near the end of their almost eight-hour shift closing intersections along Tolt Avenue, which is also S.R. 203, but Noel was reluctant to comment on their experience.

"Typically, we like to talk about what we know," he said. "I would just be giving you hearsay."

The rumor mill also revealed that Depp stayed at the Salish Lodge, and one website provided full details about who he dined with and what he ordered. It's not clear where this information came from however.

Salish Lodge General Manager Rod Lapasin said Salish staff do not discuss who does or doesn't stay at the hotel, for privacy considerations.

"My official response is 'no comment,'" he said.

Depp has been in 44 feature films, will appear as Tonto in "The Lone Ranger" later this year, and is expected to continue his role of Jack Sparrow in the 2015 Pirates of the Caribbean 5.


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