FARMINGTON — The Shiprock pinnacle is building a name for itself in Hollywood.

The big, beautiful rock is featured in the new film, "The Host," which comes out in theaters Friday.

"The Host," the latest brainchild of "Twilight" series author Stephenie Meyer, is based on another of her tween thriller novels. Instead of telling a tale of romance and vampires, however, this tale is of romance and aliens.

In the trailer for "The Host," Shiprock is seen in the background several times in less than a minute.

The landmark has appeared in films for many years, though it has gained unusual attention in the past decade.

Aside from the rock's play in "The Host," it also will be seen later this year in "The Lone Ranger," a Western re-make starring Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer. It is set to hit theaters in July.

Shiprock, though, first appeared on the silver screen in 1941. It starred in the Western film, "Sundown," though it was another quarter-century before it made another appearance, which was in the 1965 Western film, "The Hallelujah Trail."

After that, it made appearances every decade or so. Movie lovers might recall its brief appearance in the 1994 drama "Natural Born Killers," and then a larger role in the 2004 documentary "Rocks With Wings."

Lately, its striking silhouette has been in really high demand, more than in the past.


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"It's becoming a real celebrity lately," said Tonya Stinson, the Farmington film liaison for the New Mexico Film Office.

In 2012, production companies shot a slew of segments in Shiprock, or the surrounding area. Films in the past decade include: the 2012 documentary, "Rooted Lands," the 2010 television series "Stargate Universe: Malice," the 2009 documentary, "Split Estate," and the 2007 action feature, "Transformers."

Production companies "really do look for unique landscapes. They look for something great to pull them out of the general area," Stinson said. "Shiprock's really grabbed some attention lately."

Many area businesses also benefit as production companies pass through, even if only for a few days. Shiprock has not benefited substantially simply because it has little in terms of retail business or lodging, but surrounding towns have.

"There's not a lot here," said Duane "Chili" Yazzie, Shiprock Chapter president. "Still, it's always a boost to get some positive notoriety."

Many of the people who live around the pinnacle live in the town of Shiprock, which is one of the largest communities on the Navajo Nation.

The rock has spiritual significance to the Navajo people. It is known as Tse' Bit' Ai, meaning "rock with wings," in their native language of Diné.

"We always feel good about seeing our rock in the movies," Yazzie said.

To see the trailer for "The Host," which is out Friday, visit TheHostTheFilm.com.

To see the trailer for "The Lone Ranger," which is out in July, visit disney.go.com/the-lone-ranger/

Jenny Kane may be reached at jkane@daily-times.com; 505-564-4636. Follow her on Twitter @Jenny_Kane


Movies that filmed parts in Farmington and/or Shiprock*:

The Host
Science Fiction/Thriller
Shiprock
To be released Friday

Lone Ranger
Western
Shiprock, U.S. Highway 64 (near Cimarron)
To be released July 2013

Rooted Lands
Documentary
San Juan County
2012

Stargate Universe: Malice
Science Fiction/TV Series
Farmington, Bisti Wilderness
2010

Split Estate
Documentary
Aztec, Bloomfield, Farmington
2009

Transformers: The Movie
Action/Adventure/Science Fiction
Shiprock
2007

Do It For Uncle Graham
Documentary
Shiprock
2004

Rocks With Wings
Documentary
Shiprock
2002

Greenhorn
Comedy
Farmington
1995

Natural Born Killers
Action/Adventure
Farmington, Shiprock
1994

Pontiac Moon
Drama
Farmington, Shiprock
1994

Made in USA
Drama
Farmington, Shiprock
1988

When Legends Die
Western
Farmington
1972

Easy Rider
Drama
Farmington
1969

The Hallelujah Trail
Western
Shiprock, Tohatchi
1965

Sundown
Drama
Shiprock, Red Rock State Park
1941

*Information gathered from the New Mexico Film Office website, www.nmfilm.com