The River Why (My 1983 Copy)
The River Why (My 1983 Copy)

 

Ok, normally, I am just too mentally abusive of the notion of hanging out around a movie ‘set’ (like it is a frequent occurrence). Recently, my son, Tony clued me in that the production staff for the movie, The River Why had approached the fly shop, Northwest Flyfishing Outfitters in Portland, Oregon, to see if the shop could be used for a portion of the movie’s production. Cool, I thought. My son said he would be there to sit back and watch. Have fun, I thought. But as this last Thursday approached I thought maybe I would drive by on my way home from work. Just to see the rigs and equipment and give a wave, I thought. As I drove home, I did approach the shop and my pickup, with a mind of its’ own, was soon parked at the curb. 

I was quickly motioned to to ‘come over here’. Cool I thought, they are inviting me in to witness the process. No, actually you have parked adjacent to the filming about to take place and if you are about to exit your vehicle could you quickly move your sorry ass over here out of line with the imminent filming? Well, of course, I would be delighted to do just that! I spent the next hour or so watching the start-stop process of filming that soon makes it apparent how tedious and mentally demanding it is for the dozens of production staff and actors to stay on task and deal with all manner of adjustments.

I was struck by the youthfulness of the crew. I am not familiar with the company filming, but maybe they are as an industry young and always have been, but these were for the most part kids in their 20’s and early 30’s and operating in what seemed to be a well coordinated team. Communications in use to stay in sync and little scene by little scene they worked away. This was one of their last days filming in Oregon and they as a group looked tired this day. Course, I have nothing to compare to. It was muggy by Oregon standards this day as a front was pushing in against mid 80’s temps so humidity was a bit up.

Zach Gilford (Gus)
Zach Gilford (Gus)

I had the good fortune to be in the shop when the star of the movie, Zach Gilford, took a break from the filming and just sat down amongst us. He was tired, yet congenial.  He graciously answered gentle, probing questions about his career path and general background. He exhibited zero ego (unlike a couple extra’s with bit parts). Zach described how mentally demanding it is when you are the center of the story line. My son, Tony, got to spend time with the movie’s producer and they worked on tying up an ant pattern that might be in the movie…a pattern concocted without the typical tying tools (in the movie the fly is made from a piece of heavy thread from a garment.

I toured the old school bus parked nearby where every conceivable treat was stored and managed by a young lady. The numerous trucks had loads of equipment. Extra’s stood by and waited their turn. The proverbial ‘Quiet’ and ‘Action’ were yelled out. So many people hovering around the every move of the young star, Gilford. I did not get to see the beautiful Amber Heard, although Tony brought his Maxim magazine (she graces the cover) for an autograph.

Tony & Zach
Tony & Zach

Of interest, I recently read Borger’s blog (he is the technical advisor~I would have selected a NW flyfisher for advice, not a Midwest guy), where he waxed on about the greeness of the project. I will say, greeness aside and people’s devout need to kneel at the altar of their new eco religion, there were rumblings of absurd lengths required to satisfy greenies during the production so snails and the like were not distressed or earthworms harmed or stream studs worn that might disturb the substrate, etc. (*Please read the Commnets Section for a response to my remarks, by the movie’s Producer, Kristi, to better understand their personal commitment to balancing production needs and leaving minimal damange behind) 

So, that rant aside, it was a very fun experience. As I drove away (having received clearance to walk to my rig) I felt a bit foolish, like how I have imagined I would behave if a star were seated at a nearby table; trying to act nonchalant, but feeling a little bit giddy. Hell, I have been known to look at a People Magazine while waiting in a doctor’s office. My son was invited to attend the after shoot party tonight. I wasn’t invited. Maybe he will snap a shot of him and Amber that I can share.  (Update: Party cancelled as they continue to shoot river footage…update later if invite still good).

Tony & Zach
Tony & Zach

 

I read this book many years ago (1983) and it is a classic with colorful characters set in Oregon. They have filmed on the Wilson R. and the Clack.    

Summary of Book, I found: The protagonist –Gus to his mother and Augustine to his father– is raised by a pair of dysfunctional parents. His father, a fly fisherman, writes fishing stories for magazines; his mother, a live bait fisherwoman who rules with a shotgun, disagrees with her husband on just about everything. Upon graduating from high school, Gus rents a secluded cabin on the River Why, and becomes the consummate fisherman. Along the way he meets Eddy, the true love of his life, and slowly begins to discover the spiritual side to life and learns the answers to “why.”

As a disclaimer, it is important to note that neither Tony nor I are deriving any financial or other advantage by posting the story or pictures. The privilege of being allowed to watch and associate with the entire production staff, to include Zach, was a special experience.