Keanu Reeves movie to be shot in Beaverton
by Abe Estimada
Beaverton - the Matrix it’s not.
But the bustling burb of Portland may very soon see the kung-fu fighting, Agent Smith busting Keanu Reeves -- the star of the summer blockbuster Matrix Reloaded -- coming to town as a hypnotizing orthodontist in the movie Thumbsucker.
Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski announced Friday that the director and producers of Thumbsucker will shoot their film in Beaverton and Oregon.
Beaverton provided the ideal backdrop for a dramatic movie based on the novel by Walter Kim, which chronicles the story of an orally- fixated teen-ager who seeks help from an orthodontist, played by Reeves, and a debate coach, played by Matthew McConaughey, said director Mike Mills.
The teen-ager character will be played by Lou Taylor Pucci, who played a hitchhiker in the critically acclaimed movie Personal Velocity, which won a grand jury prize at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival.
"He’s going to be great" Mills said of Pucci.
While not tipping his hand too much about the storyline, parts of the plot deal with hunting and the physical changes around the teen-ager as he comes of age, Mills said. Mills said Beaverton’s neighborhoods, which are a mixture of housing styles built alongside farms, fit his vision for the screenplay.
"You can kind of have this history of the whole area visible on film, which is really exciting to me," Mills said. "I can have a scene where I’m on a suburban street, a cul-de-sac, and right at the end, there’s pine and fir trees."
Outside of Beaverton, the film will also shoot at Trillium Lake near Mount Hood and in Vernonia in Yamhill County.
If "Thumbsucker" is anything like the movie "The Hunted" that starred Benicio Del Toro and Tommy Lee Jones and generated $30 million for the local economy during its ballyhooed shoot in Oregon, it will pump much needed cash into the Portland metro area’s industries.
"Oregon is looking at every aspect of some way to build its economy," Kulongoski said. "This is one that I think we have a great opportunity to get involved with."
To entice the movie shooting to Oregon, Kulongoski authorized the release of about $100,000 from the state’s strategic reserve fund earmarked for film and media projects. If the cast and film crew spends $1 million in Oregon, the state will reimburse the movie producers up to $100,000. "Thumbsucker" filmmakers estimate they will spend $3 million in Oregon for the shoot.
"It’s an investment," Kulongoski said.
The governor said he hopes drawing the movie "Thumbsucker" will entice commercial and television movie makers to come to Oregon.
Shooting starts July 9. Filming will last about 7 weeks.
Filming "Thumbsucker" will provide jobs for at least 75 local film and video crew people and approximately 300 actors and extras. Most of the extras and crew will be from Oregon.
Shooting "Thumbsucker" will also provide the public a chance to star search and perhaps rub elbows with the actors.
"If you’re walking in downtown Beaverton when we’re shooting, we’ll enlist you as an extra," said movie producer Anthony Bregman.
Mills said he hopes the shoot will be as low-key as possible "at least compared to some of the pyrotechnics and stunt filming involved with "The Hunted."
No sets will built because the filming will be on location in Beaverton, Mills said. Beaverton, Oregon will appear as Beaverton, Oregon in the movie. Even the Hall Street Restaurant in Beaverton has been written into the script.
"It’s a contemporary story, realistic," Mills said. "Everything’s here."