Do you have the baseball bat Kiefer Sutherland used to smash mailboxes in 1986's "Stand by Me"
EUGENE — Do you have the baseball bat Kiefer Sutherland used to smash mailboxes in 1986's "Stand by Me"?
How about the Oregon track singlet Billy Crudup wore when he portrayed Steve Prefontaine in 1998's "Without Limits?" Some of the golf balls Tim Matheson ("Otter") and Peter Riegert ("Boon") whacked near Hayward Field in 1978's "Animal House"? Or — this would be a good one — the menu Jack Nicholson held in his hands during filming of the "diner scene" at the Interstate 5 Denny's in 1970's "Five Easy Pieces"?
It's not likely anyone in Lane County has any of those things, but if you have something, anything, related to local movie lore, Katherine Wilson wants to hear about it.
"We have a vision — and we're looking for support," said Wilson, a Leaburg screenwriter and longtime location scout and casting director for such locally made films as comedy classic "Animal House," which starred the late comedian John Belushi; 1975 Academy Award-winner "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," filmed in Salem; and director Rob Reiner's coming-of-age film, "Stand by Me," filmed mostly in Brownsville.
Wilson's vision would be the Oregon Film Factory Movie Museum, which she wants to create in a 2,500-square-foot space at 1712 Willamette St. The space has been open since this summer, when the Broadway Apothecary moved a couple of blocks away.
When Wilson, 59, heard the space was open, she couldn't believe it. After all, it was the same office space — fashioned out of an old garage next to Euphoria Chocolate — that she used in the 1970s when her casting company, Oregon Film Factory, was housed there. The same space where she cast extras in "Animal House."
What could be more perfect?
She signed a letter of intent Thursday with Eugene commercial real estate broker Evans, Elder & Brown. But Wilson needs money, to the tune of about $270,000, to pull off her dream. That's the budget a grant writer came up with that includes everything from marketing to toilet paper, Wilson said. She has an investor, a Texas attorney who runs a limited liability company called Mockingbird Films, who has agreed to be her "master leaser" and cover the $3,000 monthly rent and utilities cost, Wilson said.
And she has the support of Travel Lane County, the Governor's Office of Film & Television in Portland and, of all people, former Lane County commissioner and good friend Jerry Rust.
"A lot of people don't realize how many fabulous movies have been made here — including Buster Keaton, The General' himself," Rust said, referring to the 1927 legendary silent film shot in and around Cottage Grove.
"I think it's viable," said Rust, who knows the space at 1712 Willamette St. well, having run his first campaign for county commissioner out of there in 1976.
Wilson plans to apply for as many grants as possible to get the museum up and running. Meg Trendler, tourism sales manager for Travel Lane County, said she will help Wilson apply for grants with such organizations as the Lane County Cultural Coalition, the Oregon Tourism Commission and the Oregon Arts Commission.
"We see movies as a wonderful way for people from out of the area to learn about us," Trendler said. Every summer, tourists stop by Travel Lane County and want to know where certain movies were shot, she said. The most common question?
"Where did they film Stand by Me'?" Trendler said.
The film starred Sutherland and the late River Phoenix and was based on Stephen King's novella, "The Body." It is the story of four young boys in the last days of summer as they search for the missing body of another young boy believed to have been struck and killed by a train. A huge cult hit in Japan, the film is especially popular with Japanese tourists to Lane County, Trendler said.
Wilson's idea for the museum is to not only include screening local films there, but to have it be an interactive museum and production facility to train workers in the film industry. She foresees University of Oregon film students working and volunteering there, and said she already has a commitment from a UO film professor to participate. Wilson said she not only wants to build a legacy to local film lore but also help the community bring in tourism dollars.
"I believe if you build it, they will come," Wilson said, using a popular line from another movie, "Field of Dreams," which was not filmed in Oregon.
"If anybody can do it, Katherine can," said local actress and real estate agent Maida Belove, who met Wilson in 1977 when she was cast in "Animal House" as an extra. "She's been dreaming of this forever."
Wilson has a collection of about 600 black-and-white photographs from the filming of "Animal House," shot in Eugene and Cottage Grove in the fall of 1977. She plans to put many of them on the proposed museum's walls. And she would love to get a replica for the museum of the "Deathmobile" from "Animal House" that a Cottage Grove man built a few years ago.
"If we could restore the garage door," Wilson said of how she'd get it into the building. "Wouldn't that be a hoot? And Euphoria Chocolate could sell some little chocolate John Belushis!"