Parkrose goes Hollywood!

Find out why all of those movie production trucks were parked in outer East Portland, just before the Thanksgiving Day holiday …

The Courtesy Inn Motel, on NE Sandy Boulevard in Parkrose, becomes a “movie set” for a couple of days.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

If you’re worried about a “spoiler” – relax. We won’t give away the ending of the new Fox Searchlight Pictures production of “WILD”.

However, when a huge caravan of motion picture trucks, trailers, buses, and catering rigs rolled into Parkrose on November 21, many people did take notice.

A block away from the motel, the production company is encamped in the Faithful Savior Ministries Lutheran Church parking lot.

Their “base camp” was at NE 111th Avenue and NE Skidmore Street, in the massive parking lot of Faithful Savior Ministries Lutheran Church.

There were sightings of the film’s top-line star, actress Reese Witherspoon, in the vicinity of the makeup trailer. Witherspoon’s production company, Pacific Standard, is said to be producing the film, in cooperation with River Road Entertainment and Fox Searchlight.

A “grip” takes a break from lighting and rigging work, during the filming of “WILD” in Parkrose.

The screenplay is based on author Cheryl Strayed’s first-person, best-selling memoir “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail”, and intertwines the story of the author’s 1,100-mile journey with her heroin use, divorce, and difficult family life – describing her physical challenges and spiritual realizations while on the trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to the border of Washington states.

It’s rumored that actors Thomas Sadoski, Michiel Huisman, W. Earl Brown, Gaby Hoffman, and Kevin Rankin also star in the film.

After a bell rings, signaling the end of shooting a scene, personnel walk out to take a break.

As on many major film locations, assistant directors and security guards made sure that local media were kept at a distance. Production company publicity personnel did not return calls or e-mails.

While it’s unclear how much screen time the Courtesy Inn Motel will get in the move – this Parkrose location will certainly soon be seen by many movie-goers.

Two days later, the motion picture producing caravan rolled out of town under cover of darkness, on to their next location – in some ways, moving on just like the central character of the film.

All of the equipment necessary to make a movie is in the courtyard of the Courtesy Inn Motel while the filming of “WILD” takes place.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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