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Move Over, Keanu: Oregon Trees, Shrubs Get Role In New Action Flick

The makers of the new action flick "47 Ronin" didn't want to film their movie in Oregon. But that doesn't mean the state won't have a starring role. Oregon has a connection to a big-budget movie that hits theaters this week.

“47 Ronin” is a big, loud action movie starring Keanu Reeves. The actor may be the box-office draw. The trees and shrubs on set probably aren't. But the greenery is the star of the show to some Oregon nursery owners.

Producers spent thousands on Oregon-grown maples, pines, ferns and other plants in an attempt to recreate the look of 18th-century Japan. Theresa Yoshioka with the Oregon Department of Agriculture says nursery owners are hoping for some repeat business from movie-makers.

“I think it's a great statement that Hollywood is looking to Oregon for some of these plants,” Yoshioka said.

Yoshioka says even in the age of computer-generated effects, you just can't beat an honest-to-goodness living plant for authenticity.

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Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.