From the towering trees to the running rivers, Pacific Northwesterners will recognize their backyard as the backdrop of Captain Fantastic.

"It was a great playground for us, and it was perfect in every way for the movie," said Viggo Mortensen.

The Oscar-nominated actor stars as the father of a family living entirely off the grid.

Scenes were shot in Index and the nearby forest, and the family's functioning homestead was built by set designers behind Camp Korey in Carnation.

Writer and director Matt Ross used his own childhood in rural Oregon as inspiration for the screenplay.

"I remember feeling palpably that I wanted to not live in the middle of nowhere my entire life,” he said. “I felt the need to go beyond the forest."

In the film, that need is expressed by the oldest son, whose isolation leaves him academically brilliant but socially hopeless.

When the family takes a road trip and re-enters society, the kids begin questioning their upbringing.

"Nobody is exactly what they seem to be at first,” Mortensen said. "Nobody's point of view in this movie is condemned or entirely condoned."

His character is the most complicated - loving but unfiltered, espousing freedom while being dangerously rigid.

"One of the best things I've read about the character I play is, 'Well he's likable to a degree and he certainly is a committed parent, but he's insane,’” Mortensen said, laughing. “And I thought, ‘Well that's about right.’"

It’s what makes Captain Fantastic an excellent alternative to summer blockbusters.

Funny, thoughtful, and made with purpose, the movie dares audiences to genuinely laugh, think, and feel.

Captain Fantastic is rated R and comes out on DVD October 25th, 2016.