Faith Cathcart, The Oregonian
Premieres 9 p.m.July 15
Season 1 re-airs at 10p.m. Wednesdays
'Leverage' brings lights, cameras, paychecks to Portland
Kristi Turnquist, The Oregonian
June 18, 2009, 6:37AM
"Leverage" on location: Aidan Burns, 11, of Portland, playing a young student in fencingclass for an episode of the TNT series, listens to directions before a take on set in theUnited States Custom House in Northwest Portland.
With a record 12.4 percent
in Oregon and about 12 percent unemployment in Portland,there's at least one bright spot on the local job horizon: Hollywood has come to town -- and been hiring.Lana Veenker has spent the past several weeks sending out e-mails like this: "URGENT CALL FOR 60 EXTRASON 'LEVERAGE.' " The pressure's been on for Veenker, who runs
her own casting company
. But she's notcomplaining. Lots of work? In this economy? Veenker and other members of Portland's filmmaking communitysay they welcome it.Between
the TNT cable series shooting in Portland since April, and the just-wrapped
a movie starring Harrison Ford, the metro area has buzzed with production activity allspring. Both productions set up shop on soundstages in Clackamas, which locals proceeded to nickname,"Clackawood.""If we didn't have those two projects," Veenker says, "it would be verytough right now. They're the bright spot in a bleak period."Though viewers don't always realize it, making movies and TV seriesrequires more blue-collar workers than good-looking stars. Behind thescenes, productions have hired local labor to build sets, buy props,drive trucks and provide snacks for cast and crew during 14-hourworkdays.