Oregon dam being used in Hollywood production

Oregon dam being used in Hollywood production
Galesville Reservoir (Photo courtesy Flickr user Jim Carson/Creative Commons)

AZALEA, Ore. (AP) — Galesville Dam will be blown up next month unless a federal judge in Los Angeles steps in and throws a monkey wrench into the works.

Cut!

The Douglas County dam will stay intact. Its destruction will only be a cinematic sleight of hand.

The dam and the Galesville Reservoir have been chosen to play a starring role in a Hollywood film about a crazed Marine veteran and his cohorts hellbent on destroying a dam.

Douglas County commissioners signed a contract Wednesday with Tipping Point Productions giving the company permission to film "Night Moves" at the dam and reservoir.

Production is scheduled to take place in mid-October and is expected to take several days. The county will be paid $2,000 per day.

"They're going to blow up the dam, and there will be people scurrying up the hillside toward the road," Public Works Director Robb Paul said. "They'll also have some boats on the water."

The movie stars Dakota Fanning, Jesse Eisenberg, and Peter Sarsgaard. It is to be directed by Kelly Reichardt, who has filmed her last three movies in Oregon: "Meek's Cutoff," ''Old Joy," and "Wendy and Lucy."

"They're really jazzed about shooting in Southern Oregon," said Vince Porter, executive director of the Governor's Office of Film & Television. "They scouted all over the state."

The judge who will play a part in "Night Moves" isn't part of the Hollywood script. A competing film company last week filed suit in U.S. District Court in the Central District of California seeking an injunction to stop "Night Moves" in its tracks.

In its lawsuit, the Edward R. Pressman Film Co. claims that "Night Moves" steals its plot from Edward Abbey's 1975 novel "The Monkey Wrench Gang." The novel follows the trail of four environmental saboteurs who take on a dam, clear-cutters, strip-miners and road builders.

The novel inspired the Earth First! movement and led to the use of the term "monkeywrench" for acts of eco-terrorism, according to Derek Wall in his 1999 book "Earth First and the Anti-roads Movement."

Abbey's widow, Clarke Abbey, is a co-plaintiff in the lawsuit filed against Reichardt, a New York City resident, screenwriter Jonathan Raymond of Portland and three film companies producing the movie. Clarke Abbey assigned film rights from the book to the Pressman Film Co.

"Both works feature the targeting of a dam for destruction by means of ammonium fertilizer-laden boats. In the novel, the principal bomb-maker is a beer-guzzling veteran who served overseas as a Green Beret, where he acquired his knowledge of explosives," Pressman Film claims in court documents. The lawsuit claims both films feature a 20-something woman who starts out as a companion of another member of the group and then develops a relationship with the bomb-maker.

The suit asks that Reichardt and her partners be prohibited from producing, promoting and selling the film.

If "Night Moves" isn't stopped, filming will take place exclusively in Southern Oregon, Porter said. Locations in the Medford area also will be used, he said.

Galesville Dam, completed in October 1986, is the largest dam in the Umpqua Basin. It supplies irrigation water to cities, farmers and ranchers along the South Umpqua River. Electricity is also produced.

Galesville Dam, surrounded by a lush forest, was selected because of its ownership by Douglas County, Porter said. Obtaining permission from the county was easier than it would have been from the federal Army Corps of Engineers, he said.

Film extras will be hired from Douglas County, Porter said.

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Information from: The News-Review, http://www.nrtoday.com