Cooling towers at Satsop may be backdrop for Transformers 4

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Paramount Pictures The new poster for Transformers 4: “Age of Extinction,” which could film scenes at the Satsop Business Park.

SATSOP — A sequel to the popular Transformers movie franchise could be filming under the old cooling towers at the Satsop Business Park later this month or in October.

Transformers 4, starring Mark Wahlberg and rumored to star the Dinobots (robots that turn into dinosaurs) and a whole host of new transformers from the popular cartoon and toy line, is slated for release on June 27 with the title “Age of Extinction.” A poster for the fourth Michael Bay-helmed movie was recently released.

Alissa Shay, the business manager for the Satsop Business Park, said that she and other Port of Grays Harbor officials have been in talks with Paramount. She said the announcement that Transformers 4 would definitely film at the site is a bit premature until a signed agreement is in place. But Port Executive Director Gary Nelson has told two radio stations on the Harbor that it’s a good bet it could happen.

Satsop officials began marketing the site a bit more aggressively earlier this year and the Port commissioners set specific rates for utilization of the park earlier this spring.

At this point, the most recent filming done at the park was for a multi-media artwork presentation, which debuted at the Davidson Art Galleries in Seattle recently. Artist Etsuko Ichikawa rented one of the cooling towers to use a sound engineer to capture the echo of putting different sounds through the tower’s unique acoustics.

The only other time commercial work was done at Satsop was in the summer of 2011 when an industrial rock band called Endless Sunder filed a music video at the site for a song called “Mechanism.”

Nelson told KBKW radio last week that three to four days of shooting for Transformers 4 were planned at the old nuclear site, which was converted into a business park more than a decade ago and that local catering had already been contacted. He said that work would be done to prepare the site before a film crew would actually show up and the agreement calls for the site to be referred to as something other than Satsop.

Savory Faire of Montesano catered a location scout meeting with Paramount officials in May.

There was no word on if Wahlberg or any other actual movie stars would ever be on site, if extras would be needed or if just the background would be shot. Obviously, real Transformers robots would not be involved. They’re all CGI creations. But a backdrop of the cooling towers with explosions in front and added CGI robots done after the fact could always be a possibility.

Shay said she didn’t know what the precise plans were and didn’t want to say too much else until an actual contract was in place.

Jonathan Hook, a supervising location manager for Paramount Pictures, told The Seattle Times recently that he thinks Satsop “is great” but also says, “I can’t talk to you.”

Shay had said back in May that a few major Hollywood studios had approached the Port about using the property.

“Satsop is a unique setting, from the nuclear towers to our surrounding forest, we can provide a variety of locations for filming all in one convenient park setting,” she said.

“Providing filming locations can be a great economic boost for the local economy as the cast and crew utilize local lodging, restaurants and other services,” Shay added. “This activity also compliments our business recruitment efforts. Our goal is to attract movie productions to Satsop and potentially interest them in all that Coastal Washington can offer as a film location.”

Satsop is now registered with Washington Filmworks, which took the place of the old Washington State Film Office, and helps movie, television and commercial studios find locations to film in the state.