In December 2014, the made-in-Oregon movie “Wild” premiered to the world, inspiring masses of hikers to trek the famous Pacific Crest Trail, featured in the film. This time, it’s the wide-open spaces on the opposite corner of the state featured in the film “Lean on Pete,” set to debut in late fall 2017.
The filmmakers spent two weeks in 2016 in Burns — the high desert of southeastern Oregon — filming horse racing scenes and a ranch with actors Chloe Sevigny, Charlie Plummer and Steve Buscemi as the surly horse trainer. The story takes place along the road from Portland to Wyoming, but all of the scenes were shot in Oregon.
It’s just one of more than 300 films and TV projects that have been shot in the past several decades in Oregon — from “The Goonies” and “Free Willy” to “Kindergarten Cop,” “The Shining,” “Stand By Me,” “Point Break,” “The Hunted” and “Drugstore Cowboy,” plus dozens more.
You can easily plan your next trip to Oregon around some of these cult classics: Set out on a film tour of “Animal House” in Cottage Grove, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” in Salem, or “Portlandia” and “The Librarians” in Portland.
Goonies fans should also make a pilgrimage to the Oregon Film Museum in Astoria, housed in the old Clatsop County Jail from the film’s opening scene. Here, you can geek out to the history and pop culture of filming in Oregon, and find out how to take a film tour of Astoria while you’re in town.
Think you’ve seen all of the movies and TV shows shot in Oregon? Not quite — some are brand new. Add them to your must-watch list, and take a trip afterward if you’re so inspired:
“Everything Sucks” is a Netflix comedy series filmed mostly in Oregon City and set in the city of Boring. The teenage “Freaks and Geeks”-like story about rival cliques shot for a final week in the high desert of Southern Oregon at Fort Rock State Natural Area — using the large red rock as a backdrop as a tribute to the classic Star Trek alien landscape scenes. The first season is expected to be released in early 2018.
“Here and Now,” an upcoming HBO drama series starring actors Tim Robbins and Holly Hunter, filmed at various locations in North Portland in spring 2017 and is set to release in 2018. Directed by Alan Ball — of “True Blood” and “Six Feet Under” — the drama follows a couple navigating their life with adopted children. As in other recent Portland-made TV series, hundreds of Portland extras stood in as bike-riding, pet-walking hipsters, part of Stumptown’s allure.
“My Abandonment,” a movie starting actor Ben Foster, shot in Portland’s Forest Park in April 2017. Adapted by the book by Portland author Peter Rock, the film follows the story of a father raising his 13-year-old daughter off the grid, in the dense woods of the urban park. The pair spent four years in a homemade shelter surviving on their own and trying to avoid detection.
Why is Oregon so popular as a big-screen backdrop? It’s a combination of the state’s natural beauty and diverse landscape; its large talent base within the industry; and its ideal location nearby other West Coast hubs, says Tim Williams, executive director of the Oregon Film Office. “We have a nice little balanced system,” he says. “You can find everything here.”