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The Production Lands In The Pacific Northwest
It was December 2008 when Tom Vaughan arrived in Portland to sub-freezing temperatures and a record breaking 18.9 inches of snow, one of the worst snowstorms in Portland's history. He was meeting executive producer Nan Morales for a 2-day scout. Nan had recently shot in Oregon and thought the Pacific Northwest could work out perfectly for Extraordinary Measures. And, since the film was inspired by the Crowleys' story, the filmmakers had the freedom to place the film geographically to their liking (the Crowleys actually hail from New Jersey). Tom and the producers saw the area's potential almost instantly.

"I think it was the scope,” says Morales. "There are so many layers to Portland – suburbia to high rises. You can stand in a building and see the city, and then beyond that you'll see a river, and beyond that you'll see Mt. Hood. Oregon has many different looks: beaches, mountains, and desert areas.”

A geographic location with varying looks was required as the story takes place across a number of states. In the film, the family lives in Portland, but John travels to Nebraska and Chicago, and the family eventually ends up in Seattle.

Vaughan and Production Designer Derek Hill needed to differentiate between the locations for geographic accuracy but also to reflect the different stages of John Crowley's journey.

"Part of the challenge visually was to demarcate the different stages and to take an approach that would help tell the story with clarity,” explains Vaughan. "We worked very hard, for example, to show the physical differences between John Crowley's home in Portland and Stonehill's world in Nebraska. John walks out on his good job in the downtown Portland area, and the next thing you know he's driving up a deserted road in the middle of Nebraska and arriving at Stonehill's house. He's just thrown his whole life off track and bet it on this guy. Portland is a warm domestic place at the start of the movie and the colors and design had to reflect that. And then Nebraska is a very alien place for John's character. The scenes in Nebraska emphasize the state's flatness and that there's a lot of space and far less people so you get a sense of John's alienation.”

Set Decorator Denise Pizzini, who collaborated closely with Hill to carry out Tom's vision, recalls how dressing the different Crowley homes required visually showing their changing economic status but also their consistent commitment to remain a grounded family. "We show them upgrade a little but we maintain the same warm family feel to each space. We didn't want it to feel like overnight they got all this money and they went out and bought a bunch of fabulous stuff. So we used a lot of the same furniture to dress these various sets. And there were always toys all over the place.”

When John and Aileen Crowley visited the sets, they were in awe of the similarity of the houses and neighborhoods chosen for filming to the places they actually lived in during their journey. From a Wilshire Park Craftsman-style home, to an exquisite home with a breathtaking valley view in Lake Oswego, to a contemporary beach house on the gorgeous, sprawling and rugged Oregon coast in Manzanita Beach. They felt the film was right on the money.

Oregon and the surrounding Pacific Northwest offered many locations that were a perfect fit. One of the biggest draws of the area was the 177-acre Nike World Campus in Beaverton. It served as Zymagen Pharmaceutical, theoretically located in Seattle. The Nike campus proved to be a perfect choice and had never before been shot. The production team worked hard to transform Nike's unique campus into an alternative reality that was cold and sterile. Pizzini reveals the reasoning behind this, "It was important for the space to look impersonal and formal to make John and Dr. Stonehill feel uncomfortable<

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